The Ohio police department whose officer fatally shot a pregnant woman through her car windshield has released body camera footage of the incident.
The footage captures the moments leading up to the Kroger parking lot shooting from 24 August, involving 21-year-old Ta’Kiya Young and two Blendon Township police officers. One officer, standing next to the driver’s side of the vehicle, asked Young to get out of the parked car. The other officer was standing in front of the car, with his gun pointed toward her.
Young refused to get out of the car and started driving away, hitting the officer in front of the car — a bang can be heard from the footage. That’s when this officer shot at her through her car’s windshield. The bullet hole that punctured the windshield is clearly visible in the footage.
The officers then ran after her vehicle, yelling for her to “get out of the goddamn car” and tried opening the driver’s car door as Young swerved onto the sidewalk near a storefront. Officers then smashed onto the driver-side window until it shattered, revealing Young facing away from the window.
The entire incident transpired over accusations that Young stole items from the grocery store.
The police chief previously said that a supermarket employee alerted officers — who happened to be at the store on an unrelated matter — that people were fleeing from the store with stolen items, a group that included Young. She had allegedly stolen multiple bottles of alcohol.
Young died at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s from her injuries, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Her family told the outlet that the baby girl she was carrying also did not survive; her daughter was reportedly due in November.
Young was the mother of a six-year-old son and a three-year-old son.
“Last week, there was a tragedy in our community, Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford wrote in a statement on Facebook. “In a parking lot outside a local grocery store, a theft suspect drove her car into one of my officers and the officer fired a single shot through the windshield. She was struck by the bullet and later died.”
Mr Belford added that the officer who fired the weapon was placed on administrative leave and “out of an abundance of caution,” the other officer on the scene was also placed on administrative leave. After reviewing the footage, Mr Belford said that the second officer has since returned to duty, “as our staffing is already very limited, and we must continue to protect and serve our township.”
The police chief also said that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an independent investigation into the incident.
Because Young “drove her car directly” at an officer and struck him, Chief Belford said, that officer became a victim of attempted vehicular assault. When Ms. Young pulled away from Officer #2 while his hand and part of his arm was still in the driver’s side window, Officer #2 became a victim of misdemeanor assault.
He also clarified a few details that were not seen in the footage. Just 10 seconds after the officers got Young out of the car, the officer who fired the shot called for EMS, and then “sprinted back to his car to get a trauma kit and wound seal and then sprinted back and began to use it to stop bleeding.”
A minute later, that officer ran back from his car and applied a chest seal to her wound to try to stop the bleeding. Shortly after, an ER physician approached the officers and began providing “medical attention.” Nine minutes after the call was made, EMS arrived on the scene and took over Young’s treatment.
A statement on behalf of Young’s family, which was released after viewing the footage, called the 21-year-old’s death “avoidable,” a “gross misuse of power and authority” and a “hateful act.”
“Ta’Kiya was a beacon of love, strength and energy to all who knew her,” the statement said. “Her tragic passing has left a void that words can’t describe, especially for her two young sons, who must now grow up without the love and guidance of their mother, and while coming to understand the circumstances that led to her homicide.”
Her family also called for a “swift indictment” of the officer who fired the shot. “This incident goes beyond the obvious policy violations that occurred,” the statement said. “After seeing the video footage of her death, this is clearly a criminal act.”