Recently released police body camera footage shows a pregnant woman accused of shoplifting at a suburban Columbus, Ohio, grocery store last week as an officer shoots her through the windshield of her car. Ta’kiya Young, 21, was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Video shows a Brenden Township police officer approaching Yang’s driver’s window in front of a Kroger in Westville, repeatedly asking her to get out of the car.
Then, a second officer, also wearing a body camera, walked up to the car. “You said you stole something … get out of the car,” the officer at the window said, telling Yang not to leave. “I didn’t steal anything,” Yang said, as the two sparred back and forth with the window ajar.
Police previously said a grocery store employee told officers a woman who was stealing bottles was in a car parked outside the store. The video shows the officer standing in front of the car with his gun drawn, his left hand on the hood of the car, and saying, “Get out of this damn car.” Young can then be seen turning the steering wheel while the officer by the window continues to urge her to get out of the car.
The video shows the officer in front of the vehicle repeating: “Get out of this damn car” as the vehicle begins to move slowly forward. Seconds later, the officer standing over the hood opened fire on the vehicle.
After the shots were fired, the officers ran to the car and yelled at the driver to stop. The car rolled onto the sidewalk between two brick columns and into a building.
Police then called for backup and struggled to break through the windows to find the driver, who appeared to have fallen to the side. Body camera footage released by the Brenden Township Police Department blurs the officer’s face. The shots were also edited and stitched together.
The Franklin County coroner previously said Yang was pregnant at the time of her death and the fetus did not survive. The cause of her death remains unresolved.
The Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation is conducting an independent investigation into the incident, according to police.
Steve Irwin, press secretary for the Ohio attorney general’s office, which includes BCI, said BCI’s investigation could take “weeks or months.” Once investigators complete their investigation, their findings will be forwarded to the district attorney, who will decide on possible charges, he said.
“After viewing all of the footage, it cannot be denied that Takia’s death was not only avoidable, but a gross abuse of power and authority,” a lawyer representing the Yang family said in a release.
“Having seen video of her death, it is clearly a criminal offense and the family is calling for prompt charges to be brought against the officer responsible for the murder of Takia and her unborn daughter,” they said.
Police said the officers involved in the incident did not “abandon their rights as victims” and kept their identities confidential, according to a news release from Brenden Township Police.