WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Footage from a body-worn camera shows a pregnant woman asking police, “What, are you going to shoot me?” seconds before an officer fatally shot her outside a grocery store.
Blendon Township released body camera footage Friday from two police officers that showed the brief encounter and shooting of Ta’Kiya Young, 21, who died later after being taken to Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital.
Young died Aug. 24 after one of two responding officers shot her through the front windshield of a car, outside a Kroger whose employees claimed Young and others were stealing alcohol. The police department has declined to identify the two officers who approached Young’s car that evening, citing victims’ rights legislation called Marsy’s Law.
The body camera footage was redacted to shield the officers’ identities but showed that in the last moments of her life, Young asked the officer standing in front of the car if he was going to shoot her.
Footage from the officer who stood next to Young’s car showed he knocked on the car window and told Young to “get out of the car” multiple times. When she asked why, the officer said someone accused her of stealing from the store.
“I didn’t steal s—,” Young told the officer.
Footage from the officer who shot Young showed the car was blocked from the right by shopping carts and a police cruiser. As the first officer argued with Young, telling her to exit the vehicle about a dozen times, a second officer walked to the front of the car.
Young then began turning the wheel. The officer who stood in front of the car, with gun drawn and pointed at Young, placed his hand on the car’s hood. Young, still turning the wheel to the right, asked if he was going to shoot her.
As the car continued slowly moving forward, one angle of footage showed the officer in front briefly lifted off the ground before regaining his footing. At the same time, he fired one shot before Young’s vehicle swerved right, away from the officer and toward the grocery store.
The car rolled about 50 feet, ending on the sidewalk outside the store’s entrance. Because the car was locked, the officer who shot Young broke the driver’s side window.
“This was a tragedy,” Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford said in a news release that was released with the video. “Ms. Young’s family is understandably very upset and grieving.
“While none of us can fully understand the depths of their pain, all of us can remember them in our prayers and give them the time and space to deal with this heartbreaking turn of events.”
Belford said previously the officers immediately began rendering aid, with the assistance of an emergency room physician who happened to be at the store. Blendon Township police did not release footage showing officers rendering aid. A news release from the police department said paramedics arrived on scene within nine minutes of being called.
Blendon Township police have not said if officers found alcohol in the car with Young.
At a news conference Wednesday, Sean Walton, an attorney representing Young’s family, criticized the police department for the delay in release of the footage. On Friday, Belford said redacting the footage was “extremely complex” because of multiple angles and “reflective surfaces showing the faces of the two officers.”
Young’s family watched the video at Blendon Township police headquarters before it was released to the public. They were there less than 10 minutes and decided not to give any immediate comment
Belford initially placed both officers on administrative leave after the shooting, but he announced Friday that the officer who didn’t shoot Young has since returned to duty.
He said the officer who shot Young is considered a victim of attempted vehicular assault and has not waived his right to privacy under Marsy’s Law. Blendon Township police considered the second officer a victim because Young pulled away while the officer’s arm was in the driver’s side window. Belford said it was misdemeanor assault.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting, as is typical when officers shoot civilians.