Family of Ta’Kiya Young Demands Legal Action Against Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting of Pregnant Black Woman

by Michael Nguyen
Police Brutality

Ohio law enforcement agencies released a body-worn camera video on Friday that captured the deadly shooting of Ta’Kiya Young by a police officer, an event which her family has decried as an egregious abuse of power and authority targeted at the pregnant Black woman.

Legal representative Sean Walton, who is acting on behalf of the Young family, asserted that the footage unambiguously illustrates the unwarranted nature of the August 24th shooting of the 21-year-old woman. Walton urged that the responsible officer be immediately terminated and subjected to criminal charges. He also castigated the police department for withholding the footage for over a week subsequent to the shooting event.

“The family of Ta’Kiya is deeply shattered,” Walton communicated in an interview with The Big Big News. “The footage only corroborated their suspicions that Ta’Kiya was unjustifiably killed… witnessing her life being snuffed out under such inexplicable conditions was heartrending for them.”

A representative for the police union argued that demands for charging the officer prior to the conclusion of an official investigation are precipitous. The involved officer is currently on paid administrative leave pending a review by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is routine procedure. Another officer who was present during the incident has been reinstated to active duty. Details such as the officers’ names, ethnic backgrounds, and ranks remain undisclosed.

Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford characterized the incident as a calamity.

“The grief and anguish felt by Ms. Young’s family is comprehensible,” Belford conveyed in an official statement issued on Friday morning. “While we can never truly fathom the extent of their sorrow, our thoughts and prayers are with them as they grapple with this devastating turn of events.”

This tragic event is the latest in a series of fatal shootings involving Black individuals by police officers in Ohio, and it adds to a growing list of incidents of police violence against Black citizens nationally. These incidents have instigated extensive protests and calls for sweeping police reforms.

Before the video was made public, the family, including Ta’Kiya’s father and grandmother, watched it and issued a statement through their lawyer Walton.

“The circumstances surrounding Ta’Kiya’s demise were not only preventable but also constituted a flagrant abuse of power and authority,” read the family statement. During the viewing of the footage, Walton described the family as feeling “a palpable sense of outrage and despair to acknowledge that this institutionalized authority, the police force, could arbitrarily extinguish her life without any just cause.”

The video features an officer by the driver’s side window informing Young of theft allegations and persistently urging her to exit her vehicle. A second officer is positioned in front of the car. As Young protests, the first officer reiterates his command. Subsequently, Young turns the steering wheel to her right, prompting the officer standing ahead to fire his weapon through the windshield. Young’s car then collides with a grocery store wall.

In the aftermath, officers shattered the driver’s side window, which Belford indicated was done to facilitate medical assistance, although no footage of such aid was made available.

In a separate interview, Walton repudiated allegations that Young had committed theft, citing a witness who observed her leave bottles of alcohol inside the store.

Brian Steel, executive vice president of the union representing Blendon Township police, lambasted Walton as a “contemporary ambulance chaser,” criticizing his description of the event as a murder while an official investigation is pending.

Addressing delays in releasing the footage, Belford attributed it to the time required for his limited staff to appropriately redact the video in compliance with Ohio law.

Ta’Kiya’s death is among a myriad of instances where Black individuals have suffered fatal consequences due to police actions, igniting protests and calls for accountability. High-profile cases such as George Floyd’s killing in May 2020 have further intensified these demands.

A grassroots organization, Ohio Families Unite for Political Action and Change, labeled the actions of the officers as “violent, indefensible, and egregious,” and called them “judges, juries, and executioners.”

Ta’Kiya, who was expecting a daughter in November, is survived by her two sons, Ja’Kobie, aged 6, and Ja’Kenlie, aged 3, who are still grappling with the gravity of the loss of their mother, as mentioned by Walton.

Her large family is in a state of shock, Walton reported, and her grandmother, Nadine Young, characterized her as a family-focused, loving older sister and mother.

“I’m overwhelmed with grief; it’s simply tragic,” she expressed, “this never should have transpired.”

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News correspondents Aaron Morrison in New York; Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia; Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania; and video journalist Patrick Orsagos in Columbus.

Samantha Hendrickson is affiliated with the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, a non-profit initiative that places journalists in local newsrooms to focus on underreported issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fatal shooting of Ta’Kiya Young

What is the main focus of the article?

The article focuses on the fatal shooting of Ta’Kiya Young, a pregnant Black woman, by Ohio police. It explores multiple perspectives, including those of the victim’s family, the police, and the community, while also providing a broader context of police conduct and racial inequality in the United States.

Who is representing Ta’Kiya Young’s family?

Sean Walton, an attorney, is representing Ta’Kiya Young’s family. He has called for the officer responsible for the shooting to be fired and charged immediately, labeling the incident as an unjustified act.

What is the official response from the police?

Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford called the incident a tragedy. A spokesman for the police union stated that calls to charge the officer are premature and emphasized that an investigation is underway. The officer involved is currently on paid administrative leave.

Has the bodycam footage been released to the public?

Yes, the Ohio authorities released the bodycam footage more than a week after the incident occurred. The delay in its release has been criticized by Sean Walton, the attorney representing Young’s family.

What does the video footage show?

The footage shows an officer at the driver’s side window telling Young she has been accused of theft and repeatedly demanding that she exit the car. A second officer is seen standing in front of the vehicle. Young protests, and as she turns the steering wheel to her right, the officer standing in front of the car fires his weapon through the windshield.

Was Ta’Kiya Young accused of any crime?

Ta’Kiya Young was accused of theft, but her attorney, Sean Walton, claims she did not commit any theft and that a witness saw Young leave bottles of alcohol in the store.

What is the community’s reaction to the incident?

A grassroots organization focused on eradicating police brutality described the officers’ conduct as “violent, defenseless, and egregious.” The community is in pain, and this incident has re-traumatized those affected by police brutality.

What steps are being taken for Young’s family, particularly her children?

Young’s family and friends have organized a private vigil and an online effort to pay for her funeral expenses has raised over $7,000. Young leaves behind two sons, who are being supported by their extended family.

How does this case relate to broader issues of police conduct and racial inequality?

This incident is one of numerous deaths of Black adults and children at the hands of police that have sparked protests and demands for more accountability and police reform across the nation.

Who contributed to this report?

The report was contributed by multiple writers from Big Big News, including Aaron Morrison in New York, Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania, and video journalist Patrick Orsagos in Columbus.

More about fatal shooting of Ta’Kiya Young

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Karen M. September 1, 2023 - 11:01 pm

Reading this made me so angry. How can you shoot someone like that, it’s just.. I can’t even put it into words.

Steve Q. September 2, 2023 - 5:19 am

Delay in releasing video footage? Come on, with today’s tech it should be out immediately for transparency’s sake.

Mike D. September 2, 2023 - 5:58 am

it’s 2023 and we are still dealing with this? Unbelievable. The video should’ve been released immediately, no excuses.

Jenny Smith September 2, 2023 - 6:36 am

Wow, this is heartbreaking. Can’t believe we’re still seeing this kinda stuff happenin. When’s it gonna end?

Daniel R. September 2, 2023 - 7:53 am

So many layers to this. Its not just about the shooting but also how they handled the video and all. System needs a fix, quick.

Sarah O'Neil September 2, 2023 - 8:14 am

How many more have to die before things actually change? This is beyond tragic and frustrating.

Tom A. September 2, 2023 - 8:32 am

What’s even the point of bodycams if they don’t release the footage immediately? Makes ya wonder…

Vicky L. September 2, 2023 - 11:05 am

Her family must be going thru hell right now. And her children, they lost their mother. This is so messed up.

Chris Z. September 2, 2023 - 11:08 am

The lawyer’s right. If she didnt steal anything, why even stop her? Questions need answers.

Laura G. September 2, 2023 - 12:08 pm

Another one? What’s it gonna take for real reform. Im tired of reading news like this week after week.


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