Activists gathered in downtown Flagstaff Sunday to protest what they view as extreme police violence against minority populations including Native Americans. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they called for the firing of a Winslow police officer who shot and killed a Navajo woman in March.
The protestors marched through the streets, holding signs and blocking traffic. They demanded Officer Austin Shipley be removed from the Winslow Police Department after he shot Loreal Tsingine five times on a shoplifting call as she approached him with a pair of scissors. The protesters were escorted by the Flagstaff Police Department without incident.
“We are here to call for justice, we’re here to stand as a community,” says Klee Benally, one of the organizers of the demonstration. “It’s a very extreme exception that any of those officers who have killed black and brown people have faced any charges, or have been convicted.”
An outside investigation recently cleared Shipley of any criminal wrongdoing. The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, however, is conducting a review of the investigation.
According to a database compiled by the British newspaper the Guardian, 13 Native Americans have been killed by police in the U.S. this year. Nearly half were in Arizona.