US police release video of fatal shooting of pregnant black woman

OHIO – An Ohio police department on Friday released body camera footage showing an officer fatally shooting a pregnant black woman in the parking lot of a grocery store two weeks ago after she refused to exit her car and instead bumped him with her vehicle.

Video of the incident in Blendon Township on Aug 24 followed demands by the family of the 21-year-old woman, Ms Ta’Kiya Young, for the officer who fired the fatal shot to be held accountable.

“A theft suspect drove her car into one of my officers and the officer fired a single shot through the windshield,” Blendon Police Chief John Belford said in a statement accompanying the release.

But Mr Sean Walton, a lawyer for Ms Young’s family, said she was a victim. “We demand accountability for two precious lives – Ta’Kiya and her unborn daughter,” he said at a news briefing on Thursday. Mr Walton was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Ms Young’s death is among a spate of recent high-profile cases in the United States of police officers accused of using excessive force in the deaths of black people and other minorities, sparking calls for US criminal justice system reforms.

The incident took place in the parking lot of a grocery store in Blendon, 15 miles (24km) north-east of Columbus, the state’s capital.

Police confronted Ms Young after an employee said she was among several people who had shoplifted liquor from the store.

Video made public on Friday shows an officer standing next to Ms Young’s vehicle as he repeatedly orders her to get out. A second officer comes around the front of the vehicle and points a gun at the windshield, demanding that she exits.

Ms Young can be seen turning the wheels to the right, away from the officer, before the vehicle begins moving towards him. It pushes him back as he puts his left hand on the hood, with his gun drawn in his right hand.

The vehicle strikes him in the leg as he fires one shot towards the windshield. The encounter lasted 25 seconds.

Ms Young later died at a nearby hospital. Her unborn baby daughter did not survive.

Mr Belford previously said on Facebook that police officers were called to the store to assist a shopper who was locked out of their vehicle.

Both officers, who the department has not publicly identified, have been placed on administrative leave. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting the investigation. REUTERS

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