Sean Walton, an attorney for Young’s family, said the video plainly demonstrates that the police’s killing of the 21-year-old woman on August 24 was unjustified, and he demanded that the officer be dismissed and prosecuted immediately.
Walton also chastised the police for delaying the release of the video footage for more than a week after the incident.
“Ta’Kiya’s family is heartbroken,” Walton told The Associated Press in an interview. “The video did nothing but confirm their fears that Ta’Kiya had been murdered unjustifiably… and it was just heartbreaking for them to see Ta’Kiya having her life taken away under such ridiculous circumstances.”
According to a police union official, suggestions to prosecute the officer before the inquiry is complete are premature. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigates the incident, which is customary procedure.
A second cop who was present at the incident has returned to duty. Their identities, races, and ranks have yet to be revealed.
Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford described the incident as a tragedy.
“Ms. Young’s family is understandably very upset and grieving,” he said in a written statement issued Friday morning. “While none of us can fully comprehend the depths of their anguish, we can all remember them in our prayers and provide them with the time and space they need to deal with this heartbreaking turn of events.”
Young’s murder comes after a worrisome string of deadly police killings of Black adults and children in Ohio, as well as countless instances of police brutality against Black people around the country in recent years, incidents that sparked huge demonstrations and calls for police reform.
Young’s father, grandmother, and other family viewed the video before it was made public and issued a statement via Walton on Friday.
“It is undeniable that Ta’Kiya’s death was not only avoidable, but also a gross misuse of power and authority,” according to the statement. The family felt “a lot of anger, a lot of frustration” when watching the footage, according to Walton.
“More than anything, there was… a sense of just devastation, knowing that this power system, these police officers, could stop her and take her life so quickly for no justifiable reason.”
According to the footage, an officer at the driver’s side window informs Young that she has been suspected of stealing and repeatedly orders her to exit the vehicle. A second officer is stationed in front of the vehicle.
The young object, and the first officer reiterates his demand. The automobile then accelerates toward the cop standing in front of it, who shoots his pistol through the windshield as Young adjusts the steering wheel to the right. Young’s car then crashes into the brick wall of the grocery shop.
Officers then shatter the driver’s side window, according to Belford, in order to get Young out of the vehicle and offer medical care, however no video of medical assistance was supplied.
Walton denied stealing anything from the grocery store in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday. He said that his business had a witness who observed Young place bottles of alcohol on the ground as she exited the shop.
“The bottles were accidentally left in the store,” he said. “That’s correct when she’s in her car denying it.” She did not commit any theft, thus these cops had no authority to arrest her, much alone kill her.”
The executive vice president of the union representing Blendon Township police, Brian Steel, branded Walton a “modern-day ambulance chaser” and condemned his categorization of the incident as a murder while the investigation is still underway and all of the facts are unknown.
In a phone interview, Steel said that the matter would almost probably be submitted to a grand jury for a decision on whether to indict the officer, but he refused to say if Young’s killing was justified. “The fact is that (the officer) had to make a split-second decision while in front of a moving vehicle, a 2,000-pound weapon,” he said.
In response to criticism over the video’s delay, Belford said that it needed time for his tiny staff to review it and appropriately redact sensitive information, such as officers’ faces and badge numbers, in compliance with Ohio law.
He said that the identities of the cops cannot be revealed at this time since they are being handled as assault victims. When Young pulled the vehicle forward, he stated one of the officer’s arms was still partly in the driver’s side window and a second cop was still standing in front of the car.
Young’s killing is one of several Black people and children killed by police around the country, sparking demonstrations and calls for more accountability. George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 was one of the most notable occurrences.
Floyd died when then-Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes on the street outside a convenience shop where Floyd attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 cash. Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the second degree.
In August 2022, Donovan Lewis was resting in his bed in Ohio when he was shot by a K-9 officer executing a warrant. Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old foster girl suspected of wielding a knife at two persons, was fatally shot in April 2021, only minutes before the guilty judgment was revealed for the Minnesota police officers implicated in George Floyd’s killing. Casey Goodson Jr. was shot five times in the back by a Franklin County sheriff’s officer in December 2020.
The film demonstrates cops’ actions was “violent, defenseless, and egregious,” according to Ohio Families Unite for Political Action and Change, a grassroots group dedicated to ending police violence.
“We are in pain for her family, our community, and all families impacted by police brutality who are re-traumatized upon viewing yet another murder by police in Ohio,” the organization stated in an email to the AP.
Young was due to give birth in November to a daughter. A day after Young was slain, family and friends attended a private tribute, releasing balloons and lighting candles spelling out “RIP Kiya.” An internet fundraising campaign for her burial costs has garnered more than $7,000.
Ta’Kiya’s brothers, cousins, grandmother, and father have gathered around her boys, Ja’Kobie, 6, and Ja’Kenlie, 3, who don’t fully comprehend what happened to their mother, according to Walton.
“It’s a big family, and Ta’Kiya has been taken away from them,” Walton said. “I think the entire family is still in shock.”
Nadine Young, Young’s grandmother, characterized her granddaughter as a family-oriented joker who was a caring elder sister and mother.
“She was so excited to have this little girl,” said the grandma during a press conference on Wednesday. “She has two sons, but she was so excited to have this girl.” She will be greatly missed.”
“I’m a mess because it’s just tragic,” she said, “but it should never, ever have happened.”