Mimesis Law
4 March 2021

Austin Shipley “Did What He Had To Do,” And He Deserves It Right Back

August 1, 2016 (Fault Lines) — “I did what I had to do,” a common refrain used by police to justify just about everything they didn’t really have to do. With the recent release of body cam footage from the March, 2016 killing of Loreal Tsingine, 27, by Winslow Arizona Police Officer Austin Shipley, we have yet another example of pure incompetence followed by gunfire.

Shipley and his partner were called for a “possible shoplifting.” How a low level offense like that can turn into a body on the street is a testament to the laziness, incompetence and racism of these two white officers; but it might be worse than that.

In the 30 second body cam video, you can see Shipley grab Tsingine, who might weigh about 100 lbs, and sling her around. He easily takes her to the ground, but then inexplicably picks her up and, for a second, you see a very small set of no-pointed scissors in her hand. Shipley then shoves her forward, spilling what looks like medication onto the pavement. Meanwhile, his portly partner, who was behind her, could have subdued her with little effort, but for some reason does absolutely nothing.

The video is silent but if the officer was making an arrest, he already had her on the ground and she had only exhibited that stiffening of the body type of resistance that anyone would find hard not to feel when being grabbed by someone and handled forcefully. It’s a natural human reaction to force.

Scissors or not, these two much larger men could have arrested her with little incident rather than botching it, enraging her and then shooting her five times at point blank range.

This seems to be a modus operandi for Shipley, who was featured on the news before for punching an intoxicated man outside of a bar in an incident after which his superior, Lt. Jim Sepi, concluded that Shipley was the aggressor and that the victim did not appear aggressive to officers or bystanders.

It also appears that two of his training officers had serious issues with his integrity and competence.

One of them tasked with writing the report stated:

(A) t this time I do not believe that this Officer should be retained by the Winslow Police Department due to the below listed reasons.”

Among those reasons listed were:

  • “integrity issues”
  • “inability to follow the chain of command”
  • “lack of conducting a proper investigation”
  • “fails to control suspects when making an arrest”
  • “continues to falsify reports”

His training officer noted that Shipley was:

Quick to go for his weapon, if this continues someone is going to get hurt.

Field training reports released by the city of Winslow show Shipley had some some alarming viewpoints, including:

It’s our jobs (sic) as police officers is [sic] to harass the public.

Two other agencies would not hire this guy, but he found a home at the Winslow PD. A Department of Justice Investigation is underway, but local prosecutors have declined to pursue charges, saying he was justified in killing a diminutive woman with a small pair of scissors.

At least the City of Winslow should do what it has to do and gets rid of this guy regardless of the outcome of the federal investigation.

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