On May 27, it will two months since Winslow police officer Austin Shipley shot Loreal Tsingine, 27, five times and killed her on Easter Sunday for allegedly threatening him and another Winslow police officer with a pair of scissors.
The Navajo Nation Council has not forgotten Tsingine.
On May 16, the Council Health, Education and Human Services Committee unanimously supported legislation that calls on U.S. U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to launch an independent investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice into the fatal shooting of Tsingine.
Council Delegate Jonathan Hale, who serves as the Health, Education and Human Services Committee chairperson, is sponsoring Legislation 0137-16, which also asks the federal Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to investigate the discriminatory practices of police officers racially profiling and targeting citizens of the Navajo Nation who live in nearby Navajo reservation border towns, as in the case of Tsingine, and those who frequently travel to nearby border towns.
With the unanimous vote of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee on 0137-16, it’s ready for final action by the Naabik’iyati Committee, which is scheduled to meet on May 26 in the Council chambers.
Legislation 0137-16 also needed action by the Law and Order Committee, which occurred on last week. The Law and Order Committee also unanimously supported 0137-16.
The Law and Order Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to hear an update from Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety Executive Director Jesse Delmar about a position paper that’s to be given to Lynch, when she visits Phoeniz in June.
In other efforts related to Tsingine, a meeting was held in early May between the US Department of Justice Community Relations Services, the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, officials from the Navajo Nation and City of Winslow, and Dine’ residents of Winslow to develop better race relations.
The US Department of Justice Community Relations Service was represented by Western Regional Director Ronald Wakabiyashi.
The Navajo Nation Human Rights Committee stated in a news release that Wakabiyashi contacted the commission to provide community relations service after the death of Tsingine to help resolve any tensions between Winslow Diné residents and the city.
The commission stated that the US Department of Justice Community Relations Service is the “peacemakers” for conflicts in a community that arise from tensions related to issues involving race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability.
Commissioners explained that Wakabiyashi’s role is to be a neutral third party and mediate the conversations between the commission, Navajo citizens residing in Winslow and the city.
The Commission and Wakabiyashi met with the Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez, Speaker LoRenzo Bates and Delegates Lee Jack and Raymond Smith in Window Rock.
Chapter officials also met with the commission and Wakabiyashi in Dilkon and Teesto to discuss concerns raised by Navajo Nation citizens, who visit and conduct business in Winslow.
One of the concerns raised by chapter officials was the alleged profiling of Dine’ citizens when police issue traffic citations.
The commission and Wakabiyashi also met separately with Winslow Diné and with Winslow City Manager Steve Pauken and Chief of Police Stephen Garnett.
The commission, Pauken and Garnett agreed to address issues that impact Navajos and the city, which includes opposing the renewal of the 24 liquor licenses.
Pauken and Garnett also attended chapter meetings at Dilkon, Teesto, Leupp, Birdsprings, and Tolani Lake, and met with Navajo representation, who serve on the Winslow City Council or in city government.