Did two Kansas City police officers shoot an unarmed pregnant woman?
I have questions and you should too.
On Friday, two KCPD officers fired their service weapons at a woman who told officers she was pregnant, according to an eyewitness. The woman was hit several times. Media identified her as Leonna Hale, 26, but police did not say who the officers shot.
A firearm was found at the scene, law enforcement said.
Investigators did not say whether the injured woman possessed a weapon – an important detail that needs immediate clarification.
The woman was no threat to anyone, a witness told me. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The woman was with a man sitting in a vehicle that was allegedly stolen in an armed carjacking Friday night in Kansas City, Kansas, law enforcement officials said.
Were the two suspects even in the alleged car theft? As of Monday, no one was in custody for the alleged crime, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is investigating the incident.
Kansas City police have not identified the officers involved. Why are their names important?
In recent years, several department officers have used deadly or excessive force in the performance of their duties. Some are repeat offenders and still have their jobs.
The public has a right to know which cops are using force and how often.
Justifiable or not, every encounter between an officer and a citizen that ends in violence should be subject to scrutiny and public accountability.
The acting police chief, Joseph Mabin, presented himself to the shooting scene. He spoke briefly to the media but did not give many details, referring inquiries to Highway Patrol.
“We are committed to being 100% transparent and fully cooperating with the Highway Patrol,” Mabin said Friday night, shortly after the woman was shot in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store near Sixth Street and Prospect. Ave.
He left without answering any questions.
Is that how you’re going to play the lead role, Chief Mabin?
The Kansas Citians shouldn’t be left in the dark about basic filming details. If the woman was pregnant, tell us. If yes, what is the status of the woman’s unborn child? Did she have a weapon? Have body-worn cameras been enabled? Did the dash cam footage capture parts of the encounter?
Providing the public with relevant information in a timely manner is good police and would not compromise the investigation.
Mabin is not asked to publicly condemn rank-and-file officers under his watch. A level of openness with the public is good policy.
Paying lip service to transparency means absolutely nothing without letting the public know what happened at Family Dollar.
“We never want to be in those kinds of situations,” Mabin told reporters. “Not the public, as a police department. Every time this happens, it’s a blight on our community. I want to assure the audience that the stage is safe. There is no permanent threat. … It’s a holiday weekend. This is the time for friends, not the time for violence.
No one was violent that night except the police. Did a reasonable threat exist in the first place?
Mother-of-three witnessed the shooting
The shot policewoman was punched several times, according to She Danja, a 29-year-old mother of three who witnessed the shooting.
For security reasons, She Danja did not want to give her last name. Who could blame her?
The police ordered him to leave the Family Dollar property without taking a statement from him. On Sunday, investigators had not told She Danja about what she had seen, she told me.
The officers fired her immediately after the incident, according to the video footage I have viewed.
She also spoke to a Star reporter about the shooting.
Videos from Shé Danja’s Facebook account show the moments after the woman was shot. The images were widely shared on social media.
The woman’s apparent injuries were not a pretty sight.
The woman tried to evade police after officers tried to apprehend her and the man she was with, law enforcement officials said.
Officers later observed the vehicle at the Family Dollar. When the police approached the man jumped a fence and ran according to the witness I spoke with.
The man was caught and taken to hospital for observation. He was not shot, a Highway Patrol spokesman said.
The woman got out of the car with her hands raised, the witness recalls. A gun was in the vehicle, the woman told officers, according to the witness, who recorded the aftermath of the shooting.
Police ordered the woman down but she told them she couldn’t because she was pregnant, the witness said.
With guns drawn at her, the woman backed up to a fence on the property, the witness said. She tried to evade officers by climbing the fence but failed, the witness said.
She was then shot. Two KCPD officers shot her, investigators said.
The injured woman was handcuffed as she lay on the sidewalk. More than three minutes passed before help was brought to the woman, She Danja said.
Mabin is new to the role of top cop. He temporarily took over after former police chief Rick Smith retired in April.
If Mabin is trying to mend the agency’s relationship with the public that Smith seemed to be thumbing his nose at, canned statements and vague talking points about transparency won’t work.
When officers under your command shoot a woman under questionable circumstances, we need more substance and less cop talk, chief.