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Blendon Township Police release body cam footage showing fatal shooting of Ta'Kiya Young

Warning: the above footage contains graphic footage and language that some may find upsetting.

Blendon Township Police have released the body cam footage showing the deadly shooting of 21-year-old Ta'Kiya Young in a Kroger parking lot last week.

The five-minute video shows a police officer standing in front of her vehicle shooting Young within 30 seconds of the interaction beginning. Young began turning her steering wheel away from the two officers before she accelerated, but as she pulled forward her car started pushing against the officer before he shot her.

Ta'Kiya Young was accused of shoplifting from the Kroger located on South Sunbury Road, when nearby officers were alerted to the alleged theft by a Kroger employee and immediately approached Young's vehicle. Young was pregnant at the time and the family said she was expecting to give birth to a baby girl in November.

Ta'Kiya Young was shot and killed by Blendon Township Police after she allegedly shoplifted alcohol from the Sunbury Plaza Kroger and attempted to flee the scene on August 24, 2023. She was 21 years old and pregnant at the time.
Courtesy of the family of Ta'Kiya Young
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WOSU
Ta'Kiya Young was shot and killed by Blendon Township Police after she allegedly shoplifted alcohol from the Sunbury Plaza Kroger and attempted to flee the scene on August 24, 2023. She was 21 years old and pregnant at the time.

Blendon Township also sent its use of force policy for the police department. The policy states the following about how officers should respond to a moving vehicle:

"When feasible, officers should take reasonable steps to move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the imminent threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others. Officers should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle."

The officer did not appear to attempt to get out of the way of the moving vehicle, instead opting to point his gun at Young and shoot her.

Before Young was shot, the two Blendon Township officers used an air wedge to try and unlock another person's car. Young entered her vehicle with a large bag on her shoulder. Shortly after, the first officer approached her vehicle after an unseen person tells him something inaudible.

Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford said this was a Kroger employee telling the officers that Young has stolen several bottles of alcohol. No stolen alcohol bottles are seen in the footage.

The officer knocked on Young's window and said "Hey, stop" and "get out of the car." Young rolled down her window and asked "for what," to which the officer says, "They said you stole stuff. Do not leave."

Young replied "I didn't steal s**t. The other girls were taking..." The officer began hitting Young's partially open window and Young said "Are you going to shoot me?"

As this first officer interacted with her, the other officer abandoned the air wedge and placed himself in front of the vehicle and unholstered his gun, as Young begins turning her steering wheel.

Within seconds, the officer then pointed his gun at Young, and as Young's vehicle pulled forward and pushed the officer, he shot one bullet through the windshield and hit Young.

The car continued pulling away and rolled toward the plaza building and came to a halt on the sidewalk under an awning. As officers gave chase they yelled at Young to "stop that car."

Within seconds of the car stopping under a RX Walk Up sign, the officers busted open her driver's side window.

The video released Friday does not show the officers giving first aid to Young, but Belford provided a breakdown of how officers provided aid. He said that 10 seconds after officers got Young out of the car, Officer 1 called for EMS and 10 seconds later, Officer 1 sprinted back to his car to get a trauma kit and wound seal and then sprinted back and began to use it to stop bleeding.

Belford said 68 seconds after Young is out of the car, Officer 1 sprints back from his car and applies a chest seal to her wound in an effort to stop the bleeding. And 90 seconds after Young is out of the car, an ER physician approaches the officers and begins to help with medical attention.

Belford said nine minutes after receiving the call, EMS arrived on the scene and took over the treatment of Young.

Young was taken to St. Ann’s Hospital, where she died.

Throughout the edited video the officers faces are blurred out and there are several instances. Belford said in a statement the officers' identities are being withheld under Marsy's Law, which protects the identities of crime victims.

Belford said in a statement that the first officer is being considered a victim, because of attempted vehicular assault and even though Young is deceased, the crime victim status remains. The second officer is considered a crime victim because his arm was in the car as she pulled away, and the crime is considered misdemeanor assault.

"This was a tragedy. 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 in a statement.

Belford said he is expecting lawsuits as a result of this shooting, which is why some information is not being released and he is limited in what he can say.

"We’re being as transparent and forthcoming as we can, given these significant legal constraints. As a result, we don’t anticipate making any further statements until official actions are taken," Belford said.

Young's family has hired civil rights attorney Sean Walton. The family and Walton held a news conference this week and called for an earlier release of the footage instead of the Friday before Labor Day weekend.

The family viewed the footage Friday morning, before it was released to the public.

Nadine Young speaks to reporters about the police shooting that killed her granddaughter Ta'Kiya Young at the Sunbury Plaza Kroger.
George Shillcock
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WOSU
Nadine Young speaks to reporters about the police shooting that killed her granddaughter Ta'Kiya Young at the Sunbury Plaza Kroger.

Young's family released a statement Friday following the release of the body camera footage that said in part:

“With heavy hearts and profound indignation, we address the nation following the release of the body camera footage depicting the unjust and tragic death of Ta’Kiya Young. 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. 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...Officers of the law take an oath to protect human life, and in instances where they unjustly rob families of their loved ones, they must be held accountable."

Belford said both officers were placed on administrative leave, but the officer who did not shoot Young has already resumed his duties full time.

The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting, which is standard procedure when an officer fires a weapon.

Fraternal Order of Police Captial City Lodge No. 9 Executive Vice President Brian Steel told WOSU the police union has compassion for Young, her unborn child and family. He said whether or not if the shooting was justified there are no winners here. Steel is defending the officers for responding to the report of a theft.

"They were told that there was a crime that just occurred. We have a duty now to address that. We don't just walk away because someone is ignoring us," Steel said.

Steel said he can't answer whether the officer followed this policy or not because it is up to what the officer says about whether he thinks he was in danger.

"I know its hard. We all deserve to know the answer now but we have to patient. We have to wait to his statement we have to wait for what he tells the BCI investigators," Steel said.

NAACP Columbus President Nana Watson said she was saddened by the video and is calling for accountability.

"We want the police officer to resign and we're now asking the police chief of Blendon Township. He too needs to resign," she said.

Watson said she is asking BCI to move quickly in their investigation and is withholding judgement on whether the officer should be charged until the agency reaches a conclusion.

Watson and Steel are both pushing for the release of the Kroger surveillance footage.

WOSU has requested all incident reports and summaries concerning the shooting, in addition to body camera footage and any internal communications about the incident in the hours following the shooting. An incident report, summary of the shooting and any internal communications about the shooting have not yet been sent.

Jared Clayton Brown is excited to join the WOSU News team a decade into his journalism career, which has included stops in several markets including Louisville and Atlanta.
George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.