Friends and family gathered Thursday in the capital city of Ohio to say goodbye to a young, pregnant Black mother who was killed when a police officer fired directly into a car windshield over the nonviolent suspicion of a petty theft that still hasn’t been proven to have happened.
Ta’Kiya Young‘s funeral took place in Columbus, just about seven miles from the grocery store parking lot in which a Blendon Township police officer shot her at point-blank range within seconds of seeing her last month.
The Associated Press reported that “about 100 people” attended the funeral at the Church of Christ, with “many of them” wearing the color pink, Young’s favorite.
“Family and friends, tearful and clutching tissues, entered the church’s sanctuary to view Young’s body, donned in bright fuchsia under a clear casket cover that was illuminated in pink light,” the Associated Press added. “The body of her unborn daughter, wearing white, lay in her mother’s embrace.”
The 21-year-old mother to two young boys was inside her car when she was approached by an officer and accused of shoplifting an alleged bottle of liquor on Aug. 24. After refusing an order to exit the vehicle, bodycam video footage from the Kroger parking lot shows another officer — identified by Young’s family as Connor Grubb — stand directly in front of Young’s car with his gun drawn; again, all over an allegedly stolen bottle of alcohol.
There was no direct threat to either officer when Grubb pulled out his gun, suggesting he was ready to use his weapon even if the circumstances didn’t call for it.
As both cops aggressively and angrily cursed at her to get out, Young asked if they were “going to shoot” her. When the car slowly crept forward, Grubb fired the fatal shot with a split second.
The video footage is graphic in nature and should be viewed with discretion. You can view it by clicking here.
A witness reportedly came forward to clear Young of any theft and the police have yet to produce anything they say she stole.
Now, despite video evidence to the contrary, the Blendon Township Police Department is suggesting Young tried to attack Grubb with her car by accelerating.
Grubb and the still-unidentified other officer were placed on administrative leave but have yet to face any discipline for the shooting. Grubb has not been officially identified by the Blendon Township Police Department thanks to “Marsy’s Law,” which allows local law enforcement agencies to keep cops’ identities secret.
Young’s family called for Grubb to be arrested and charged not only with Young’s death but also with the death of her unborn child.
“Having viewed the footage in its entirety, it is undeniable that Ta’Kiya’s death was not only avoidable, but also a gross misuse of power and authority,” the statement from Young’s family and attorney Sean Walton said in part. “As if the pain of losing Ta’Kiya isn’t enough, we must grapple with the knowledge that her unborn daughter was also robbed of her life in this hateful act.”
Young’s family lamented that her young sons would now be forced to grow up without their mother in their lives because Grubb resorted to using lethal force when he had any number of other choices for how to proceed without deadly implications.
“This incident goes beyond the obvious policy violations that occurred. After seeing the video footage of her death, this is clearly a criminal act and the family demands a swift indictment of this officer for the killings of both Ta’Kiya and her unborn daughter,” the statement added. “We stand united with those in our community and beyond in pursuit of justice.”
The NAACP has been among the activists, protesters and organizations calling for there to be justice for the shooting.
“Let’s be clear – law enforcement should never have the power to act as judge, jury, and executioner. When the life of an unarmed pregnant woman is taken at the hands of police, it exposes a system that is utterly broken,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “Ta’Kiya’s unjust murder represents a gross misuse of power, and our country must pass comprehensive police reform legislation to end the state-sanctioned violence that has torn Black communities apart for generations.”
A retired 30-year police veteran wrote an op-ed in the Columbus Post-Dispatch explaining how Grubb’s actions are not only egregious displays of incompetence but also “potentially criminal” acts.
“I would not characterize the actions of the officer who fired the round, killing the 21-year-old pregnant mother and her unborn daughter, as an excessive use of force, because at no point in this encounter was force justified,” wrote Jeff Wenninger, who is formerly of the Los Angeles Police Department with a background in investigating officers’ use of lethal. “What I observed was nothing short of a violent, potentially criminal act, perpetrated on nothing more than an uncooperative individual.”
On Thursday, hours before Young’s funeral, the same news outlet published an op-ed by the local police union leader dismissing the role race played in the shooting when that hasn’t been what the outcry is about.
What Brian Steel, a police sergeant and Executive Vice President of Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge 9, did not address, though, was why Grubb felt threatened enough by a seven months pregnant woman who was unarmed and suspected of a nonviolent crime to unholster and draw his gun before shooting at a moving vehicle, which is typically a violation of officers’ use of force policies.
A petition to charge Grubb for killing Young had more than 25,000 of its goal of 30,000 signatures. To sign it, click here.
The post RIP Ta’Kiya Young: Funeral Held For Pregnant Mother Gunned Down By Trigger-Happy Cop In Ohio appeared first on NewsOne.