Fatal shooting of pregnant Ohio woman

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The body camera video of the fatal police shooting of Ta'Kiya Young a 21-year-old pregnant mother in suburban Columbus, Ohio, has raised questions about how a shoplifting allegation caused a bullet to go through her windshield.

It was unclear Saturday whether the Blendon Township Police Department has adopted a rolling use of force policy, which would outline measures that must be exhausted before deadly force can be used.

He video of the August 24 shooting , released Friday, shows Young in his car in a parking space as a police officer orders him out of the vehicle. A second officer is seen drawing his firearm and stepping in front of the car, even though a department policy advises officers to move out of the way of an oncoming vehicle rather than firing their weapon.

“Are you going to shoot me?” Young asks, seconds before he turns the wheel to the right and the car moves toward the second officer. The officer shoots through the windshield and Young's sedan crashes into the grocery store's brick wall.

Attorneys for Young's family say the video is devastating and have called for the officer who shot him to be fired and criminally accused . Blendon police officials have declined to name any of the officers involved.

Here's a look at moving vehicle enforcement policies:


The New York City Police Department was among the first to ban officers from shooting at or from moving vehicles after a 1972 shooting that killed a 10-year-old passenger in a stolen car sparked protests.

Researchers in the late 1970s and early 1980s found that the policy, along with a handful of other restrictions on the use of force, led to a decrease in the number of bystanders shot and suspects killed in police shootings. .

Other law enforcement agencies have followed the NYPD's lead for decades, and industry organizations like the Police Executive Research Forum and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have recommended the restrictions, saying that shooting in such circumstances creates an unacceptable risk to bystanders due to stray shots or the driver losing control of the vehicle if shot.

Blendon Township department policy states: “An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes that there are no other reasonable means available to avoid the imminent threat from the vehicle, or if uses deadly force other than The vehicle is directed at the officer or other persons.”

But in June only 32 police departments in the 100 largest U.S. cities had any type of restriction on shooting at moving vehicles, according to Campaign Zero, an advocacy group of academics, activists and others seeking to end the police brutality.


John P. Gross of the University of Wisconsin Law School, who has written about the challenges of ending police shootings at moving vehicles, said individual department policies sometimes include exceptions if a suspect is firing a weapon or if the car is being used as a weapon. against an officer, although many restrictions specifically say that other weapons must be present.

Prosecutors and internal police investigators often focus on the timing of the use of force, but a broader view is necessary, he said. For example, if an officer already has a license plate number, that may be a reason not to use force to stop a vehicle, since “most of us can be found.”

"If you're chasing someone accused of a homicide and who has shot at officers in the past, that's a different situation than someone who might have stolen $50 worth of items," Gross said. "That context should be part of this."

Departments often do not enforce policies with meaningful discipline, in part because of the strength of police unions, Gross said. In Blendon Township, union officials have said Young's car became a weapon the moment he started moving.


Many department policies advise officers to get out of the way. But in the Ohio video, an officer is seen pulling out his firearm and stepping into the path of Young's parked car, which Gross called "bad tactics."

"And many times bad tactics translate into the need to use more force than necessary," Gross said. “The agent should not get in front of the car. He cannot stop the car with his body.”

Edward Obayashi, a national use-of-force expert and attorney who specializes in vehicle-related police shootings, agreed and said the officer went against his training.

“The best practice in these matters at the national level is not to put yourself in a position of danger,” Obayashi said. "There was no urgent need for him to position himself the way he did."

Gross also questioned why the officer drew his firearm when the issue at hand was a shoplifting allegation. He urged changes in police training.

“They are taught that if someone resists even verbally, that person will fight or flee,” Gross said. “That simply links resistance to a threat. The training teaches officers that there is danger around every corner and that threats are everywhere.”

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