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Lawsuit Filed in Winslow Shooting

Lawsuit Filed in Winslow Shooting
July 20
11:46 2016

The husband of a 27-year-old Navajo woman killed by a police officer on Easter Sunday has filed a $10.5 million wrongful death suit against the city of Winslow.Loreal Tsingine

Responding to a shoplifting complaint on March 27, police officer Austin Shipley shot Loreal Barnell-Tsingine five times after she allegedly brandished a pair of scissors.

Michael Tsingine filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and Barnell-Tsingine’s eight-year-old daughter, Tiffany Robbins.

In addition to the city of Winslow, the suit also names Shipley and Winslow Police Chief Stephen Garnett as defendants. Garnett had previously announced his retirement in August.

The lawsuit claims that Shipley violated Barnell-Tsingine’s civil rights and the city was negligent in hiring and retaining the officer.

During his tenure on the Winslow police force Shipley was reprimanded for two incidents involving 15-year-old girls.

Questions about his performance arose even during Shipley’s training.

At least two field training officers were concerned about Shipley’s performance in 2013. Concerns included falsifying reports and Shipley’s eagerness to pull out his gun when dealing with the public. According to the suit, the city ignored “warning signs” that Shipley could pose a danger to the public.

Shipley was suspended for using a Taser on a girl who was walking away from him and for vulgar language toward a second girl.

During his three years on the Winslow police force Shipley held five people at gunpoint.

“The city wants to do everything it can to do the right thing in the aftermath of the tragedy,” Winslow City Manager Steve Pauken said.

Winslow is located about 30 miles from the southern border of the reservation and many tribal members work or go to school in Winslow, or travel to town to do their shopping.

Barnell-Tsingine had several run-ins with law enforcement. At the time of her death she was suspected of being in violation of her probation stemming from an assault upon an officer charge.

Shipley remains on paid administrative leave. A state investigation into the shooting has been completed, but not made public.

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