In a move that has ignited public outrage, Ohio police have released body camera footage capturing the fatal shooting of a pregnant Black woman, Ta’Kiya Young, in Blendon Township, a suburb of Columbus. The incident, which took place on August 24th in a grocery store parking lot, resulted in the tragic loss of both Young and her unborn child.
The video reveals a tense confrontation between Young and the police officers. An employee from a Kroger grocery store can be heard informing an officer about Young’s alleged shoplifting. As an officer approaches Young’s vehicle and instructs her to exit, she responds with, “For what?” and later inquires, “Are you going to shoot me?” Moments later, as the car accelerates, another officer positioned in front of the vehicle, fires a single shot. The car continues to move forward, eventually colliding with a wall.
Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford described the incident as a “tragedy” that unfolded when officers attempted to apprehend Young on shoplifting accusations. However, Young’s family has vehemently disputed this characterization, labeling the incident as “avoidable” and a “gross misuse of power and authority.” They further stated, “After seeing the video footage of her death, this is clearly a criminal act.”
The tragic event has reignited nationwide debates on police violence, especially against Black individuals. The United States has witnessed a series of mass protests advocating for an end to such violence, most notably following the 2020 killing of George Floyd.
Chanda Brown, the attorney representing Young’s family, expressed her dismay after viewing the footage, stating, “I saw a young woman get killed. In that video, I didn’t see any exoneration for the police officer.”
Ramon Obey, a lead organizer with the People’s Justice Project, emphasized the value of Black lives, asserting that the incident demonstrated how “property was deemed more valuable than Black life.” He added, “Black women deserve more, this fatal encounter with the police cannot be minimized.”
While the identities of the involved officers remain undisclosed, citing an Ohio law that protects crime victims, the police have argued that the officers qualify as victims in this case. They claim one officer was assaulted when Young’s car accelerated with his arm inside her window, and the other was a victim of attempted criminal assault.
As the community grapples with this tragic event, a rally is scheduled to take place in Columbus over the weekend, calling for justice for Young and her unborn child.