indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Navajo Nation leaders press DOJ to investigate fatal police shooting

Filed Under: Law | National
More on: arizona, border towns, discrimination, doj, law enforcement, loreal tsingine, lorenzo bates, navajo, racism, russell begaye
     
   

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye speaks at a rally for Loreal Tsingine in Winslow, Arizona, on April 2, 2016. Photo from Navajo Nation OPVP / Facebook

Leaders of the Navajo Nation are pushing the Obama administration to investigate the fatal shooting of a tribal member by a police officer.

Loreal Juana Barnell Tsingine, 27, died on March 27 after being shot five times by an officer in Winslow, Arizona. Officially, the city has said the young mother and wife brandished a weapon -- a pair of scissors -- when she was stopped in connection with an alleged shoplifting incident.

But many on the reservation see something deeper. To tribal leaders and members, the shooting death highlights the bias they encounter in a border town near their homeland. Besides the countless Navajos who live and work in Winslow, many travel to the city to shop and spend their hard-earned money.

“They need to know that Navajo dollars are holding up the economy of the border towns," President Russell Begaye said a rally in Winslow last Saturday. "The border towns need to understand and respect this. We deserve better service and respect in these border towns.”


Loreal Tsingine, 1989-2016. Photo from GoFundMe

The officer who pulled the trigger has been placed on leave and the Arizona Department of Public Safety is investigating the shooting. But Begaye and other leaders want the Department of Justice to determine whether the incident represents a pattern of mistreatment.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates called on the Obama administration to investigate "longstanding and deep seated concerns of unlawful police stops, use of excessive force, and other coercive activities of Navajos by the Winslow Police Department."

"Our Nation's peoples have lived with questionable border town law enforcement directed at Native People for many generations," Bates wrote on Thursday. Begaye sent a similar letter on Wednesday.

Federal scrutiny would not be unprecedented. After John T. Williams, a Native man from Canada, was shot and killed by a police officer in Seattle, Washington, in 2010, DOJ's Civil Rights Division opened an investigation and found that the police department there "engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law."


Family and friends carried a photo of Loreal Tsingine through the streets of Winslow, Arizona, on April 2, 2016. Photo from Navajo Nation OPVP / Facebook

Similar probes have been directed at law enforcement in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of officer shootings in those communities. But none have addressed discrimination against Native people in border towns like Winslow.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Americans represent 25.7 percent of the population in the city. It's less than 30 miles from the southern border of the reservation and Navajo citizens have long complained of discrimination there.

After the shooting, Shundeen Smith, an aunt of Tsingine, said "this needs to get attention of what's happening on the border towns of the Navajo Nation," in a post on Facebook.

"This shouldn't be swept under no rug," Smith said. "No not this time."


The shooting death of Loreal Tsingine on March 27, 2016, started with a call of an alleged shoplifting from a Circle K in Winslow, Arizona. Image from Google Maps

Tsingine was laid to rest on the reservation on Tuesday. According to The Arizona Republic, the funeral drew a large crowd to the Cedar Springs Nazarene Church. The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders carried the casket into the church and the husband and daughter Tsingine left behind attended the service, the paper reported.

The paper followed up with a another story on Friday that included an eyewitness account of the shooting. Ryanle Benally, who said he was inside the store when the alleged shoplifting occurred, told the paper that Winslow police refused to take his statement and that he waited five days to be contacted by the state's Department of Public Safety.

“I was so upset. I started shouting,” Benally, who also is Navajo, told the paper. “They shot her and they wouldn’t let me help."

Benally's stepson, who is 17, witnessed the shooting, the paper reported. The Department of Public Safety wants to interview him but his mother said he was reluctant to talk.

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation woman shot and killed by police officer in Arizona (3/30)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Trump administration rolls out first rule under historic trust reform law
Interior Department sends out another $13.1M in Cobell buy-back offers
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs headed to New Mexico for hearing
House committee again leaves out Indian Country in hearing on Interior
Mark Maxey: Oklahoma tries to crush Native protesters with new law
Carletta Tilousi: Havasupai Tribe threatened by uranium development
Opinion: Don't be fooled by Jimmie Durham's claims of Cherokee heritage
Opinion: Economic development for Indian Country in upcoming farm bill
Government worker suspended after calling Native principal a 'rabid s----'
Kiowa citizen Tristan Ahtone to report on tribes for High Country News
New York Times features Dina Gilio-Whitaker in editorial on health care
Tribes break ground on monument to their history in Virginia's capitol
Warm Springs Tribes battle large wildfire that broke out behind casino
Spokane Tribe casino doesn't bother Air Force despite claims in lawsuit
Tribes in for long haul as oil continues to flow through Dakota Access
Mark Trahant: Don't plan on getting sick if you're from Indian Country
Tiffany Midge: I shall joke as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow
Director of Office of Indian Energy deletes offensive Twitter account
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts
Washington asks high court to overturn Yakama Nation treaty victory
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks
Colville Tribes remove council member a week before citizens go to polls
Marijuana firm promises big investments with help of ex-Seminole chair
Lumbee Tribe ordered to release voter list to opponents of chairman
National Indian Gaming Association chooses David Bean as vice chair
Eastern Cherokee citizen promoted to vice president of casino marketing
Tribes in Connecticut waiting on governor to sign bill for new casino
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.