Body camera video of the fatal police shooting of Ta’Kiya Young, a 21-year-old pregnant mother in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, has raised questions about how an allegation of shoplifting led to a bullet being fired through her windshield.
The video of the Aug. 24 shooting, released Friday, shows Young in her car in a parking space as a police officer orders her to exit the vehicle. A second officer is seen drawing his firearm and stepping in front of the car, despite a department policy advising officers to get out of the way of an approaching vehicle instead of firing their weapon.
“Are you going to shoot me?” Young asks, seconds before she turns the steering wheel to the right and the car moves toward the second officer. The officer fires through the windshield and Young’s sedan drifts into the grocery store’s brick wall.
I’ve watched the video. You should too. A few thoughts…
The fact that the woman was young and pregnant is irrelevant. She was accused of shoplifting – that’s why the police were stopping her – but I can’t find any story that says whether she was likely guilty of that or not. That is, however, also irrelevant.
What is relevant is that she was given a lawful order to stop, and she proceeded to use her vehicle as a weapon to hit the officer in front of her car and drag (slightly) the one on the side in an attempt to flee. On the other hand, the officers demonstrated poor judgment by putting themselves in harm’s way in an attempt to apprehend her for a minor crime. If she fled without hitting them, then any use of deadly force would not have been justified. But she didn’t. She hit them.
So… in my humble opinion, the shooting was justified as she used deadly force against the officers in her attempt to flee. But it would have never happened if the officers had not put themselves physically in the way to apprehend her. It’s easy for us to second-guess the decisions made in seconds. I give officers a lot of leeway.