Law | Opinion

Albert Bender: Navajo woman gunned down by police officer in border town

Navajo Nation citizens rallied for justice following the fatal shooting of Loreal Tsingine by a police officer in in Winslow, Arizona. Photo by Navajo Nation OPVP / Facebook

Should anyone believe the police department in Winslow, Arizona, when it said a young Navajo Nation woman was shot and killed by an officer after she brandished a pair of scissors? Albert Bender, a member of the Cherokee Nation, finds little truth in the official account coming from the reservation border town:
Easter Sunday, 2016 should forever resonate as a day of infamy in Winslow, Arizona. On that date a young Navajo mother, 27 year old Loreal Tsingine, was mercilessly and brutally gunned down by Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley. The young woman was shot five times by the officer, allegedly for resisting arrest by brandishing a pair of scissors. Loreal was petite- five feet tall and weighing less than 100 pounds- and Officer Shipley is six feet tall, a white male and weighs over 200 pounds. One eyewitness, who arrived at the grisly scene just seconds after the shooting, stated that he saw "her body either writhing in pain or convulsing in shock, blood still pouring out of her, with a cop standing over her and telling everyone to back up."

On March 27, Easter Sunday, officers of the Winslow Police Department (WPD) responded to a call from a Circle K store clerk that a young Native American woman had just shoplifted a case of beer. Two police cars pulled up to where Loreal was walking. Officer Shipley and another policeman stopped her about two blocks from the store. In the course of attempting to make an arrest, according to police spokesman Lt. Jim Sepi's remarks printed in the Arizona Republic, a struggle ensued, Loreal presented a pair of scissors and was shot five times by Officer Shipley and died at the scene. This is the police version of this horrific tragedy.

But eyewitness accounts and cell phone video tell another story. Loreal did not flash any scissors, nor were any scissors even seen. She was not carrying any beer when the incident occurred.

Get the Story:
Albert Bender: Horrific police killing of young Navajo mother Loreal Tsingine (People's World 5/10)

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