On August 24, 21-year-old Ta’Kiya Young, a pregnant Black woman, was shot and killed by a police officer in Blendon Township, Ohio. The department claimed she was suspected of stealing alcohol from a local Kroger, and that the officer fired into her car after she had accelerated towards him.
So, not only were we expected to take it at face value that Young accelerated her vehicle, but we were to believe that this officer had time to pull his gun, aim, shoot, and kill this woman but did not have time to get out of the way. And that’s setting aside the fact that we don’t know whether she actually stole anything—which her family’s attorney disputes—and the fact that deadly uses of force are hardly appropriate for a suspected shoplifter.
Anyway, Young’s family has been demanding the police department release body camera footage of the incident. The department finally released that footage Friday, and now, the family is demanding the officer be arrested and charged with Young’s killing.
The Associated Press reports that Sean Walton, an attorney representing Young’s family, said the video clearly shows that the Aug. 24 shooting of the 21-year-old woman was unjustified and he called for the officer to be fired and charged immediately
“Ta’Kiya’s family is heartbroken,” Walton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The video did nothing but confirm their fears that Ta’Kiya was murdered unjustifiably … and it was just heartbreaking for them to see Ta’Kiya having her life taken away under such ridiculous circumstances.”
In the video, Young is seen being told to get out of her car by both officers she doesn’t get out and is heard asking them “Are you going to shoot me?” That’s when things go left.
“She turns the steering wheel to the right and the car moves toward the officer standing in front of it, reports AP. “The officer fires his gun through the windshield and Young’s sedan drifts into the grocery store’s brick wall.”
So, basically, this is another case where Black people aren’t allowed to be afraid.
Running because you’re afraid of being shot and killed by cops might be an ill-advised move, but the fear that causes the action continues to be validated by trigger-happy cops who view deadly force as a first resort, especially when dealing with Black suspects.
“It is undeniable that Ta’Kiya’s death was not only avoidable but also a gross misuse of power and authority,” Young’s father, grandmother and other relatives who watched the video said in a joint statement to The Associated Press.
The officers involved in the incident are also seen in the video breaking the driver’s side window, which the department said they did so they could render medical aid, but none of the released video footage shows them actually providing any medical help. Walton also denied Young stole anything from Kroger once again.
“The bottles were left in the store,” he said. “So when she’s in her car denying that, that’s accurate. She did not commit any theft, and so these officers were not even within their right to place her under arrest, let alone take her life.”
Brian Steel, executive vice president of the union representing Blendon Township police, did what police union reps always do: Blindly defend the cop in question despite not having been at the scene of the shooting.
“The fact is, (the officer) had to make a split-second decision while in front of a moving vehicle, a 2,000-pound weapon,” Steel said.
Besides the fact that characterizing a car as a “weapon” is like characterizing a small toy as a baby choker, it’s interesting that cops think it’s OK when a fellow cop’s “split-second” decision is so often shooting to kill. If I see a car driving towards me, my “spit-second” decision will always be to get out of the way. Now, granted, I’m not an officer tasked with enforcing the law. But if we’re saying a suspected shoplifter is so dangerous that cops are justified in shooting her dead along with her unborn child because her car just barely moved toward them—I’d say we’re giving violent cops too much leeway and not nearly enough accountability.