COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, and community members gathered in Goodale Park Sunday to demand “justice for all.”
The protest and march comes 10 days after 21-year-old pregnant mother Ta’kiya Young was shot and killed by a Blendon Township police officer. She was accused of stealing from a Kroger on Sunbury Road when police confronted her in the parking lot. She refused to get out of her car and instead drove it forward, which is when an officer standing in front of the car fired one shot, killing Young, according to police body camera footage.
Since then, groups like the Justice, Unity, and Social Transformation (JUST) have demanded justice.
More than 100 people gathered Sunday, chanting the names of Young, Casey Goodson Jr., Donovan Lewis and others while they marched toward the Short North, demanding accountability from law enforcement.
“I’ll be lying if I said I knew exactly what we needed, but one thing that needs to stop is murder. (It) is not the answer to every interaction,” Donovan Lewis’ mother Rebecca Duran said.
Duran and Goodson’s mother Tamala Payne both lost their sons when they were shot by law enforcement officers.
“Justice for them all means that these officers are being held accountable, and not only the officers being held accountable, but our city leaders and state officials and county leaders,” Payne said.
Both Duran and Payne joined other protesters to demand accountability and justice.
“I just want to cry all day for these mothers,” protester Cathy Alexander said. “I think about what if that has happened to my son or daughter, how would I handle it? And they just keep giving and giving and giving to the community, and trying to stand up for justice for their children.”
One organization that came out to protest was Ohio Families Unite for Political Action and Change (OFUPAC), which works with families impacted by officer-involved shootings. The group, among other issues, looks to end Marsy’s Law’s connection with law enforcement.
Marsy’s Law, which was expanded in April, is an Ohio law that expands the rights of victims of violent crimes and has been cited by state law enforcement offices as the reason officers involved in shootings have not been identified by the departments.
“We need to end that extension so that these families know who killed their child,” OFUPAC Executive Director Emily Cole said.
“Together is how we can actually get attention enough so that we can try and come to some type of agreement with them about making changes,” Duran said.
Sunday’s gathering was the largest of several held over the past week.