WINSLOW, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona woman who was fatally shot by a police officer earlier this year had medical scissors in her hand as she approached the lawman, body camera video shows.
The footage released Wednesday by the city of Winslow came days after the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Officer Austin Shipley was justified in shooting Loreal Tsingine because he felt his life and that of another officer were threatened. Shipley was responding to a report of shoplifting in March when he fired at the 27-year-old woman.
The encounter between Shipley and Tsingine is brief, lasting less than 30 seconds. In the video, Shipley tries to restrain Tsingine, but she breaks free and falls to the ground. She gets up and walks quickly toward Shipley with the scissors in her right hand, pointed down.
Another officer arrived just before the shooting.
It’s unclear what is said, because the video is silent in the moments leading up to and just after the shooting. City attorney Ellen Van Riper said there is a 30-second delay for audio after the body camera starts recording video.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety wrote in an executive summary of its investigation that Tsingine refused commands to stop resisting, get on the ground and drop the scissors. The agency said those commands were corroborated by witness testimony.
The shooting of the Navajo woman led tribal officials to urge the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the treatment of American Indians in towns that border the Navajo Nation. A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately say Wednesday whether the office planned to do so.
A small group of people protested the decision to clear Shipley on Monday in Phoenix. Another protest is scheduled for Friday in Winslow.
Winslow resident Carl Wilson shook his head as he watched the video Wednesday, saying the shooting was excessive and questioned whether Shipley could have used a Taser or pepper spray instead.
“He should have went with another option — his Taser gun, not the handgun,” he said. “That’s just wrong.”
Records show that at least two officers who trained Shipley had serious concerns about his work and that one recommended the police department not keep him on the force. The concerns included that he was too quick to go for his service weapon, ignored directives from superiors and falsified reports, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.
Court records showed Tsingine had been arrested multiple times, including last year when she grabbed at an officer’s gun as he tried to arrest her in Sanders, Arizona.
Tsingine’s family has filed a $10.5 million notice of claim against the city, saying Shipley violated her civil rights and Winslow was negligent in “hiring, training, retaining, controlling and supervising” the police officer.
The wrongful-death claim, filed July 1, is a precursor to a lawsuit and seeks $2 million for Tsingine’s husband and $8.5 million for her 8-year-old daughter.