WINDOW ROCK – On Wednesday April 6, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye issued a letter to Honorable Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States, requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the shooting death of Loreal Tsingine, a 27-year-old Navajo mother.
Tsingine was shot five times on Easter Sunday, Apr. 24, by Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley who responded to an alert of shoplifting at a local convenience store. Officer Shipley aggressively tried to detain Tsingine when a struggle ensued. It was reported that Tsingine pulled out a pair of scissors which the officer saw as a significant threat and he then opened fire on her with five gunfire shots.
In the letter to Honorable Lynch, President Begaye states that because the shooting of tribal member Tsingine took place outside of Navajo territorial jurisdiction, “the Navajo Nation is not in a position to investigate such an action.”
President Begaye also stated that there have been many reports of excessive force and unlawful police stops made by Winslow Police officers to Navajo tribal members.
“We believe these reports strongly indicate that a practice of discrimination exists in the Winslow community against tribal members, and discrimination of this kind is prohibited by federal law and U.S. Department of Justice should investigate and enforce federal law against this discrimination” he stated in the letter.
The president strongly urged the involvement of the U.S. Department of Justice in assisting the Navajo Nation in protecting its tribal membership living the area and for those living outside the Nation’s territorial jurisdiction.