Besides white shoplifters, violent white offenders also receive favorable due process
Hand holding a gun at a car

Ta’Kiya Young’s death was a terrible mix of poor decisions, bad timing, and a lack of de-escalation training. But the bottom line is, Kroger is a $100 billion corporate monster – just ask their store employees – and shoplifting should never mean pulling a gun on a young mother and her unborn baby, let alone killing both.  

The K9 attack in Circleville in one massive way mirrors Ta’Kiya’s death. The Free Press has heard from several law enforcement sources that the Ohio state troopers who pulled over Jadarrius Rose approached his semi with guns drawn. This was a mistake, these same law enforcement sources told us.

In this post-George Floyd world-on-edge, some younger African Americans panic in the presence of law enforcement. But as Cynthia Brown of the Ohio Coalition to End Qualified Immunity (OCEQI) has repeatedly told us, Ohio law enforcement lacks the skills to help change a life, and because of this, they instead take a life.

Brown says there is no statewide policy mandating de-escalation training for law enforcement, and it is up to local agencies themselves to implement such training. And in Ohio: de-escalation training is sparse or there’s none whatsoever.

Activists say the Blendon Township officer who killed Ta’Kiya was too quick to pull his gun as he approached her.

“Why would he pull the gun out? She became afraid when she saw that gun. He escalated the situation,” said Brown of Columbus, who’s exhausted from another ‘police-involved shooting’ (also arguably known as ‘murder’).

Even former law enforcement professionals question the officer’s actions. The Columbus Dispatch reported September 5 that Chagrin Falls resident Jeff Wenninger, retired Los Angeles Police Department lieutenant with a background in investigation and adjudication of lethal force incidents, watched the video of the Blendon Township fatal police shooting. He stated, “What I observed was nothing short of a violent, potentially criminal act, perpetrated on nothing more than an uncooperative individual.”

Media reports stated the Blendon Township police officers were in the parking lot helping a woman who locked herself out of her car. A Kroger manager chased Young out of the store and to her car, where the manager then motioned to the officers for help.

The Kroger manager must regret the decision to get the officers involved considering Kroger’s own protocols demand employees to let shoplifters go.

The Free Press has asked Kroger’s corporate media spokespersons for video and answers as to whether Ta’Kiya was shoplifting, but Kroger has not responded or released the video footage proving whether Ta’Kiya was shoplifting. Keep in mind Kroger has scores of cameras in each store videotaping every customer’s movement. Calling for a boycott of the Cincinnati-based Kroger is the Blackout Coalition, which is led by the nation’s largest Black-owned bank, OneUnited.

Brown and the OCEQI, which has been unsuccessful in getting a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to end Qualified Immunity on a statewide ballot, say Ohio law enforcement has killed 1,057 Ohio citizens since 2000. Law enforcement shot 95 percent of them. Brown says her nephew, Kareem Ali Nadir Jones, who was approached by Columbus police for no good reason in 2017 and shot to death, was number 732.

Out of those 1,057, over 2/3rds are believed to be African American. And as many from Columbus are aware, the Columbus Division of Police record of killing Black people stands out nationally. Columbus police killed 40 people from 2013 to 2019, and 27 of them were Black. A number three times greater than any other agency in the state of Ohio.

Brown and other activists say the officer’s gun likely triggered Ta’Kiya to make an escape. She appears to turn the wheel but not attempt to run over the officer. Looking for a way out of another senseless police-involved shooting death, law enforcement is claiming it was justified because the officer’s life was in danger.

Brown says recent history from Central Ohio shows how white suspects shot law enforcement but somehow ended up being taken into custody alive.

In 2020, middle-aged Monica Greer Justice refused to put on a mask at a local hospital. She was charged with trespassing and released. Days later, Franklin County sheriff deputies served a warrant for her arrest at her home and she shot two officers. A standoff ensued but she survived, and earlier this year was sentenced to over 40 years in prison.

In 2016 in Clintonville, Columbus police attempted to arrest 30-something Lincoln Rutledge for setting his estranged wife’s house on fire. Rutledge shot and killed a SWAT officer, but he too was taken alive to face justice. Rutledge was sentenced to life in prison.

“They were given their due process even though they shot officers,” says Brown.