Opinion

Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one






Navajo Nation citizens seek justice following the fatal shooting of Loreal Tsingine by a police officer in Winslow, Arizona. Photo: Navajo Nation Office of the President

It's been a little over a year since the fatal shooting of Loreal Tsingine by a police officer but her Navajo Nation family is still waiting for answers. Albert Bender, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, shares the tragic story:
Last Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, a young Navajo (Dine) mother, 27-year-old Loreal Tsingine, was barbarically gunned down at close range by Winslow, Arizona Police Officer Austin Shipley. The passage of a year has prompted renewed demands for justice by her relatives, her community and Indian Country nationwide.

To briefly recount the grisly details of the horrific slaying of the young Native woman, she was shot five times by Officer Shipley, who was accompanied by another policeman. These officers of the Winslow Police Department (WPD) were responding to a call from a Circle K store clerk claiming that a young Native woman had just shoplifted a case of beer. The officers accosted her walking about two blocks from the store. Shipley alleged that a struggle ensued and that Tsingine attempted to attack him with a pair of scissors. Eyewitness accounts and bystander cell phone video contradict the officer’s allegations. These witnesses say they saw neither scissors nor beer at the scene.

Loreal’s family found that her hands were grazed by bullets and there were bullet exit wounds in her back. This means that this terrified, helpless young mother reflexively threw her hands in a fear-stricken and vain attempt to ward off the barrage of bullets that tore through her body and ended her life. The bullet exit wounds indicate that Shipley was standing in close proximity when she was hit by bullet after bullet.

Read More on the Story:
Albert Bender: Where is Justice for slain Navajo mother, Loreal Tsingine? (People's World 4/24)

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