The officer who shot and killed a 27-year-old Navajo woman after an alleged shoplifting incident in Winslow, Arizona, has resigned from the force.
Austin Shipley, a three-year veteran of the Winslow Police Department, resigned October 31 after the department reviewed an internal affairs investigation into the Easter Sunday shooting of Loreal Tsingine, Winslow City Manager Steve Pauken said in a release.
Shipley, 26, had been on paid leave since the March incident.
“The Internal Affairs investigation being conducted by the Mesa Police Department in connection with an officer-involved shooting that took place on March 27, 2016, was concluded last week. The results of this investigation were reviewed by Christopher Vasquez, the Interim Director of the Winslow Police Department. After meeting with Officer Shipley (October 31), he made the decision to resign,” Pauken said in the release.
No other information about the internal affairs investigation was released, but Pauken said it will be made public.
A Winslow Police Department press release said Shipley shot Tsingine five times after she brandished a pair of scissors and resisted arrest. Body camera video released in July showed Shipley trying to apprehend Tsingine, and tossing her to the ground. After she got up, the officer pushed her again, and a prescription for Aripiprazole, an anti-psychotic medication, fell out of her pocket. As she then got up and walked toward Shipley with scissors in hand, he started shooting.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s office in July did not file criminal charges as they “found no evidence of criminal conduct” on the part of Shipley, according to county attorney Bill Montgomery’s statement. The Winslow Police Department requested an independent investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Professional Standards Unit (formerly internal affairs), which turned over its report to Maricopa County at the request of Navajo County Attorney’s office. That report has not been made available.
Navajos in the area, joined by members of other tribes, have held several protests in Winslow after the shooting and the release of the Department of Public Safety’s findings.
As earlier reported by ICTMN, “Twice during his three years on the job, Shipley received letters of disposition, or official findings from the department stemming from complaints about on-the-job conduct.”
Tsingine had been arrested multiple times on shoplifting and public drinking charges, and was detained twice last year for aggravated assault and trying to gain control over an officer’s firearm, according to police records.
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has agreed to conduct a review of the local investigation after the Navajo Nation Council approved a resolution asking U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for an investigation in May.
Family members have filed a notice of a wrongful death claim. Another wrongful death claim has been filed on behalf of her 8-year-old daughter, Tiffany.