Every time I see the photo of Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley two words come into my mind.
First I will tell you the two words they aren’t. They are not: law enforcement. Nor are they protect and serve. The words are not justice and peace.
The two words are Indian killer.
Shipley was officially named this Monday as the Winslow police officer who fired five shots at Loreal Tsingine, the 27-year-old Navajo mother, on Easter Sunday. She was identified as a shoplifting suspect who took items from the local Circle K convenience store in Winslow, Arizona.
According to the police press release, while attempting to take the subject into custody, a struggle ensued. The subject displayed a weapon which the responding officer perceived as a substantial threat. The officer discharged his weapon resulting in the death of Tsingine.
The alleged weapon was later identified as being a pair of scissors.
The police account is disputed by witnesses who saw the brutal killing.
One witness is Ryanie Benally, a Navajo man, who told a local Arizona newspaper that he saw the incident and it is drastically different from what the police statements says.
His account is soon after getting out of his police vehicle, Shipley went to the sidewalk where Tsingine was walking and grabbed her by her wrist and then Benally saw “her body fly and slammed into the concrete. Then he put his knee behind her.”
Shipley was yelling “stop resisting.”
When a 200-plus-pound man body slams a 100-pound woman to the concrete does not constitute resisting arrest by any stretch of the imagination.
Shipley then took his gun from his police holster and fired five shots. How many hit her have not been yet released by law enforcement.
Tsingine died on the sidewalk and was left there until about 6 a.m. the next morning, according to family members. Benally said he never saw Tsingine take out a pair of scissors.
No matter how one cuts it, Shipley is an Indian killer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics, American Indians and Alaska Natives, which comprise .8 percent of the U.S. population, are victims in 1.9 percent of police killings. When the numbers are analyzed further, American Indians and Alaska Natives make up three of the top age-groups killed by police in the United States.
Sadly, all too often, law enforcement gets away with murder as they hide behind their badges. Those corrupt racist officers do not provide honor to the thousands who do use the words protect and serve as they perform their jobs to maintain peace and justice every single day.
The Indian killing by Shipley is being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
This past week, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to have the Tsingine killing investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Native News Online is pleased President Begaye is exercising strong leadership on behalf of Tsingine. It is time for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Winslow Police Department and more specifically Indian Killer Austin Shipley.