Pregnant black woman shot by police was ‘murdered’, family’s lawyer says


A lawyer representing the family of a pregnant black woman who was shot dead by police in Ohio has said she was “murdered” and has called for the officer to be charged.

Ta’Kiya Young, 21, was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting on 24 August. Her unborn daughter also died.

Bodycam footage released by police shows the incident outside a food shop in the suburb of Blendon Township in the US state.

Ms Young had two young sons, six-year-old Ja’Kobie and three-year-old Ja’Kenlie, and was “so excited” to welcome her little girl, her grandmother Nadine Young said.

Sean Walton, a lawyer representing Young’s family, said the video clearly shows that the shooting was not justified.

“Ta’Kiya’s family is heartbroken,” he said. “The video did nothing but confirm their fears that Ta’Kiya was murdered unjustifiably… and it was just heartbreaking for them to see Ta’Kiya having her life taken away under such ridiculous circumstances.”

Mr Walton also criticised police for not releasing the video footage for more than a week after the shooting.

Ms Young’s death follows a series of fatal shootings of black adults and children by police in Ohio.

Friends comfort each other at a private candlelight vigil. Pic: AP
Friends comfort each other at a private candlelight vigil. Pic: AP

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The officer who shot Ms Young is on paid administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation examines the shooting.

A second officer who was on the scene has returned to active duty. Their names, races and ranks have not been released.

A police union official said calls to charge the officer who shot Ms Young before an investigation is complete are premature.

Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford called the shooting a tragedy.

“Ms Young’s family is understandably very upset and grieving,” he said in a statement released on Friday.

“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.”

Brian Steel, executive vice president of the union representing Blendon Township police, criticised Mr Walton’s characterisation of the shooting as murder before all the facts have been gathered.

He said an investigation will determine whether the shooting was justified.

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Bodycam footage has shown the moment a pregnant black woman was shot and killed by police in Ohio

What does the footage show?

The video shows two officers outside Ms Young’s car, which is parked outside a food shop.

In the footage, an officer can be seen at the driver’s side window.

He repeatedly demands that Ms Young “get out of the car” as she has been accused of theft.

Ms Young is seen refusing to get out of the car, turning the steering wheel of the vehicle and apparently driving towards the officer standing in front of the car.

The officer, who can be seen in the reflection on the car bonnet holding his gun at Ms Young, fires the weapon through the windscreen.

Seconds later, her car drifts until it hits the shop’s wall.

The two officers run towards the moving car.

One of them can be heard saying “shots fired” on his radio before breaking the window of the car.