Published October 25, 2017
WINDOW ROCK – On April 6, 2017 the Navajo Nation requested an investigation by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Navajo Nation citizen, Loreal Tsingine. Ms. Tsingine was shot and killed by a Winslow police officer after allegedly having shoplifted from a Winslow convenience store. On October 17, 2017 the Navajo Nation received a reply from USDOJ declining to prosecute the Winslow Police Officer who shot and killed Ms. Tsingine.
The USDOJ concluded that there was insufficient evidence to disprove that the officer’s claim that he shot and killed Ms. Tsingine acted in “self-defense.” The Navajo Nation categorically rejects this conclusion.
The officer, Austin Shipley, who shot and killed Ms. Tsingine could have easily retreated from the scene. His vehicle was there to provide him with shelter until other officers could be called to the scene. The officer also made no attempt to employ a less than lethal means of force against Ms. Tsingine, such as pepper spray or Taser. He was also aware from his prior interactions with Ms. Tsingine that she may have been suffering from serious mental health issues.
“The killing of Ms. Tsingine, while an injustice in itself, is part of a larger pattern of systemic violence against Native Americans by law enforcement and as such the Navajo Nation cannot accept the finding of the USDOJ. The Nation will continue to work on legal and political efforts to achieve justice for Loreal Tsingine and her family” stated Ethel Branch, Attorney General for the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation has been looking into potential legal options and plans to file something on this matter by early 2018.