Jacqueline Salyers (1983?-2016), an unarmed, pregnant mother of four, was shot dead by police on January 28th 2016 in Tacoma, Washington, south of Seattle. She belonged to the Puyallup Tribe, who have been living in Tacoma since before Tacoma was Tacoma. In the US, Native Americans are 30% more likely to be killed by police than Blacks, three times more likely than Whites.
Kenneth Wright Jr, her long-time boyfriend and father of her two youngest children, was wanted by police on robbery, gun and drug charges. On January 28th police spotted him in a parked car with Salyers.
The police say they approached with guns drawn and ordered them to get out with their hands up. Salyers, “a Native American female that appeared to be around 30 years of age”:
“stepped on the gas, and accelerated toward the officers. One of the officers fired at and hit the driver.”
Officer Scott Campbell, with the car just “inches” away from running him over, opened fire. The car went another 50 feet (15m) before stopping. He was unharmed. Salyers was shot in the head, arm and stomach. Wright shouted, “You fucking killed her!” and ran off into the night, gun in hand. It took police 18 days to find him again.
The police say they saw signs of acceleration in the dirt.
Eyewitnesses say police approached the car from behind. The police did not announce themselves. There were no signs of acceleration in the dirt. Her uncle:
“Witnesses told me they took her out of the car, dragged her to the curb, put her in a police car, drove her a short distance away and dragged her out again onto the pavement. She must have died sometime during all this. The people who spoke to me found this extremely painful.”
Her cousin, who prepared her body for burial, said her arm was broken.
The angle of the gunfire seems to show that the police were not directly in front of the car at the time of the shooting.
Video: None. No bodycams, no dashcams. A nearby police camera was working fine before and after the shooting, but not during. Three security cameras on a nearby house were destroyed by police.
Protests: There were “Justice For Jackie” protests calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State Patrol to do an independent investigation. They were unmoved, leaving the Tacoma police to investigate themselves.
A tribal councilman, along with her uncle and others, travelled to Washington, DC, to the DOJ’s Office of Tribal Justice. The Office offered no help.
The county prosecutor, Mark Lindquist, concluded the death was justifiable homicide under state law which requires:
“a showing of malice to prove an officer acted criminally.”
The key word is “malice”, a state of mind, which is hard to prove. The Puyallup Tribe, NAACP and others are pushing Initiative 873 to reform this.
Last year, in the very same county, police killed Daniel Covarrubias, He was also Native (Suquamish). The police thought his mobile phone was a gun.
– Abagond, 2016.
- Welcome to Native American Heritage Month 2016
- Native Americans
- killer cops
- Black pathologies – strangely like the Native ones
- Sam Dubose – also supposedly killed for trying to run over the police. Video showed that to be a police lie.