NAVAJO NATION, Ariz. – The Navajo Nation has publicly rejected the ruling of the US Department of Justice in the shooting of Loreal Tsingine by a police officer.
Tsingine was shot and killed in an incident in Winslow, Arizona, in March, 2016. According to police, Tsingine fit the description of a shoplifting suspect and police tried to take her into custody. She fought against officers and had scissors in her hands, police said, before an officer shot her.
On October 17, the DOJ concluded that they could not disprove the officer’s claim that he was acting of self-defense, according to a news release from the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation believes that the officer 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,” according to the news release from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. “The officer also made no attempt to employ a less than lethal means of force against Ms. Tsingine, such as pepper spray or Taser.”
The Navajo Nation requested an investigation into the death of Tsinigine by the DOJ. Last week, the DOJ concluded that there was not enough evidence to prove the officer was acting aggressively, according to the Navajo Nation release, and the Navajo Nation has rejected that conclusion.
“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” said Ethel Branch, the Attorney General for the Navajo Nation.
The Nation will continue to pursue this issue, and plans to look into various legal options and file something concerning this case by 2018.
The Gallup Independent reports Navajo Nation attorney Katherine Belzowski announced last week the tribe might file a lawsuit against the Winslow Police Department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.