Ta’Kiya Young’s Family Wants Police Officer Held Accountable For Her Death
Ta’Kiya Young‘s family is questioning why the Blendon Township police officer who shot their 21-year-old daughter has not yet been publicly identified. The officer who shot and killed Young in the parking lot of a grocery store on August 24, the Washington Post reports, has not been fired or criminally charged.
Sean Walton Jr., an attorney for Young’s family, told the Washington Post, “If we had video evidence of a citizen committing an act that appeared to be a murder, there would not be a long investigation [beforehand]; that suspect would be identified and that suspect would be charged.”
Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford maintained that the officers who were involved in the shooting of Young were, in fact, victims.
Belford cited Marsy’s Law, which is a crime victims rights amendment. In the state of Ohio, according to Marsy’s Law For Ohio, the law ensures that “victims of violent crime have the same co-equal rights as the accused and convicted–nothing more, nothing less.”
The officer who did not shoot Young was allowed to go back out on active duty because the 15-person police department in Blendon, a suburb of Columbus, is understaffed.
However, the family, along with Walton, was able to piece together the identity of the man who shot and killed Young. Through the evidence available to them, namely eyewitnesses and badge number information, they believe the officer allegedly responsible is Connor Grubb.
Marsy’s Law is named after a 21-year-old California woman Marsalee Nicholas, who was shot and killed in 1983 by her boyfriend. The law carrying her name passed in California in 2008, and it allowed victims to redact their names, addresses, or other information that could identify them from public records related to the open case.
As the law has been adopted by multiple states, police departments have used it to keep officers involved in use-of-force incidents, like Grubb, from being named.
Fred Gittes, a Columbus attorney who specializes in police misconduct, privacy, and public records cases, told the Washington Post, “Police officers are public servants, licensed to kill, and we need to know who they are.”
Gittes also said that the police are twisting the original intent of the law and their status as public servants means that they should not get to hide behind a law intended to protect actual victims of crimes from retaliation.
Young’s grandmother Nadine Young has characterized the behavior of the police as “dishonest” and told the Post before Ta’Kiya’s funeral, “An apology would not be genuine at this point; it has been weeks since Kiya’s murder. I want [Grubb] held accountable.
“All she wanted was a place of her own and she had been approved for her own place in Sandusky days before her murder,” Nadine Young added. “That’s been heavy on my mind and heart … that she achieved that goal.”