On Friday, an Ohio police department unveiled body camera footage depicting a tragic incident from two weeks ago in which an officer fatally shot a pregnant Black woman in the parking lot of a grocery store.
The confrontation occurred when the 21-year-old woman, Ta’Kiya Young, declined to exit her vehicle and instead made contact with the officer by bumping his car.
The release of the video, which took place in Blendon Township on August 24, came in response to the family’s demands for accountability from the officer who discharged the fatal shot.
Blendon Police Chief John Belford, in a statement accompanying the release, explained the situation, stating, “A theft suspect struck one of my officers with her vehicle, leading the officer to fire a single shot through the windshield.”
Blendon Township has refrained from disclosing the identities of either officer, citing Marsy’s Law, a legislation designed to safeguard the rights of crime victims.
This law has been invoked by law enforcement agencies as a reason for not revealing the names of officers engaged in such incidents.
However, in a statement released on Friday, Young’s family identified the officer as Connor Grubb, whose tenure with Blendon Township dates back to 2019, according to records from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. Blendon Township, however, has declined to confirm the officer’s identity.
Sean Walton, the attorney representing Young’s family, viewed her as a victim. During a news briefing on Thursday, he emphasized, “We seek accountability for the two precious lives, Ta’Kiya and her unborn daughter.” As of Friday, Walton was not available for further comment.
Young’s passing is part of a series of prominent cases in the United States, where police officers have been accused of employing excessive force resulting in the fatalities of Black individuals and other minority groups.
These incidents have triggered demands for reforms within the U.S. criminal justice system. The occurrence transpired in the parking lot of a grocery store located in Blendon, approximately 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Columbus, the capital of the state.
Police confronted Young after receiving a report from an employee, alleging that she was part of a group that had shoplifted liquor from the store.
Video footage, made public on Friday, depicts an officer positioned next to Young’s vehicle, repeatedly instructing her to exit. Another officer approaches the front of the vehicle, brandishing a firearm and demanding her compliance to exit the vehicle. In the video, Young can be observed turning the steering wheel to the right, moving away from the officer, before the vehicle starts moving toward him.
As the vehicle advances, the officer places his left hand on the hood while holding his gun in his right hand, and it makes contact with his leg as he discharges a single shot through the windshield. This entire encounter transpired over a span of 25 seconds.
Subsequently, Young passed away at a nearby hospital, and regrettably, her unborn daughter also did not survive.
In a previous Facebook statement, Belford noted that the police were initially summoned to the store to aid a customer locked out of their vehicle.
The department has not disclosed the identities of the two officers involved, but they have been put on administrative leave pending further investigation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently leading the inquiry.