A young Navajo women’s death at the hands of police last week has led to outrage in Arizona’s substantial Native American community and is prompting calls for police reform.
According to The Associated Press, a shoptlifting call at a convenience store went into the Winslow, Ariz. police department last Sunday. A responding officer found Loreal Tsingine, a 27-year-old woman who fit the description of the suspect, nearby and confronted her.
According to police, the AP said, “Tsingine struggled with the officer and threatened them with scissors as the officer tried to take her into custody.”
At this point, the officer shot Tsingine five times on a sidewalk a couple of blocks from the store, police said.
The AP said authorities are refusing to identify the officer, who was just three years into a law enforcement career. The officer was wearing a body camera when the shooting occurred, police said.
As USA Today reports, Native Americans have created a social media campaign to bring attention to the case, using the hashtag #JusticeforLoreal.
Another hashtag, #NativeWomenMatter, popped up at a vigil held Wednesday in Tsingine’s honor.
Police say the officer involved has been placed on leave pending an investigation by the state’s Department of Public Safety.
The shooting is a symptom of law enforcement’s tendency toward racial profiling, something that must be addressed, Andrew Curley, a member of Red Nation, a coalition of Native American and non-Native American activists, told USA Today.
“Loreal is a victim of discrimination, and we want justice,” said Curley. “We can all relate to this case because we have all been racially profiled by law enforcement. While we are saddened at (Loreal’s) death, we’re not surprised because we know that this is a systemic issue.”
Tsingine leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter.