A recently released body camera video of a 27-year-old Navajo woman who was shot five times after allegedly being involved in a shoplifting incident in Winslow, Arizona, shows the altercation between the police officer and Loreal Tsingine. Tsingine died, while the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this week.
No audio was available in first seconds but the video portion shows how the officer aggressively pushes Tsingine to the ground. A pair of scissors is seen in her hand as another officer is seen behind her. The officer pushes her again and something falls out of her pocket, which looks like medication. She gets up and walks toward the officer with the pair of scissors in her hand as he lifts his gun and aims directly at her. The video then fades to black and the audio kicks in. After the sound of heavy, labored breathing the officer says, “She came at me with those scissors.”
“I don’t care if she stole copy,000 worth of merchandise or whether she was brandishing a knife or scissors. In the larger historical context, I see this as a violation of an Indigenous woman and her space was violated,” said Brandon Benallie of the Border Town Justice Coalition of the video. “She responded appropriately. In this larger historical context, she acted bravely. She dared to defend her body.”
Benallie also questioned why the other officer did not get involved. “There was no point for him to shoot. This other cop could have taken her down. (Officer) Shipley chooses to murder her rather than create a situation where Loreal would be alive today.”
Benallie, the family of Tsingine and other members of the Border Town Justice Coalition will line the streets of this small town near the Navajo Nation today in efforts they say will hold the city’s police department accountable for crimes towards Indigenous people after Officer Austin Shipley shot Tsingine on Easter.
“Join us and make sure the Winslow Police Department and the City of Winslow, a bordertown settlement, are held accountable for their inhuman crimes towards Indigenous people and other people of color,” read a Coalition news release.
The group is protesting a recent decision by an independent ruling by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, which stated that no criminal wrongdoing occurred. The Winslow Police Department requested an independent investigation into the incident by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which turned over its report to Maricopa County at the request of Navajo County Attorney’s office.
Loreal Tsingine’s death at the hands of cops didn’t make the news anywhere much, outside of local news and Indian news outlets. Indigenous people are killed at high rates by cops, and they are subject to the same harassment as other people of colour. I doubt much will be done in this case, but here’s hoping anyway. My thoughts are with the family, friends, and protesters.
Full story at ICTMN.