Flagstaff Demonstrators Protest Police Violence Against Native Americans

Aug 15, 2016

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.

Klee Benally (middle) leads a protest in downtown Flagstaff Sun, Aug. 14 against what he says is a disproportionate number of violent incidents involving police and minorities, including Native Americans.
Credit Ryan Heinsius


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.

Protesters outside the Coconino County Courthouse on Sun, Aug. 14.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

“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.”

Credit Ryan Heinsius

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. 

Police officers monitor the protest from the across the street in downtown Flagstaff.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

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.

Klee Benally on the bullhorn during a protest on Sun, Aug. 14.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Protesters outside the Coconino County Courthouse Sun, Aug. 14.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Protesters block Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Protesters in Heritage Square Sun, Aug. 14.
Credit Ryan Heinsius