At a time when police shootings of African-American men is under intense scrutiny, the incidence of shootings of women of color by police also demands specific attention. Vulnerable women are often placed in impossible situations, by the legal system, by the criminal justice system, by abusive relationships or family crises.
Two recent incidents raise a host of questions that local authorities have so far been unable or unwilling to answer. In Arizona, a Navajo woman named Loreal Tsingine was shot and killed by a Maricopa County police officer responding to a shoplifting report. Video of that incident shows that the officer could have de-escalated but instead intensified the encounter and ultimately shot Ms. Tsingine. And in Baltimore County, police broke down the apartment door of Korryn Gaines not to arrest her for committing a violent crime, but to serve several warrants. After an hours-long standoff, instead of de-escalating, the police moved in; the situation became more volatile, and they killed her.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Tsingine incident, and we call up on the department to also investigate the death of Korryn Gaines.
Most police officers are trustworthy individuals who spend their working lives trying to keep our communities safe. But systemic racism is an infection that courses through too many police departments, undermining the best intentions of the best officers.
NOW stands in solidarity with our allies and we will continue to #SayHerName and demand accountability for these incidents. We also call for thoroughgoing reforms, grounded in principles of transformative justice, in our country’s policing system.
M.E. Ficarra , email@example.com