Longview, Texas police have released CCTV footage that shows the dramatic shooting of Kristiana Coignard, a mentally ill 17-year-old girl who was fatally shot inside a police station after lunging at officers with a butcher’s knife.
Longview police chief Don Dingler provided new information about the shooting last week and released the video footage that shows the incident, including Coignard scuffling with an officer before he and another officer fired multiple shots.
The shooting comes amid increased scrutiny surrounding police use of deadly force. Officials had previously refused to say what kind of weapon Coignard had or release the footage, raising questions over what happened and why other means were not used to subdue the girl, according to The Daily Mail.
The video shows Coignard entering the lobby of the Longview police department and using the phone. Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian says the girl requested help, and officer Glenn Derr responded. As he approached, the girl held up her hand, which had “I have a gun” written on it. Derr struggled with the girl and threw her to the ground. The video shows Coignard lying on the floor with Derr kneeling to hold her down when he gets up and steps away. Derr said he saw Coignard reaching for a butcher knife in her waistband, according to The Guardian.
Officers Gene Duffie and Grace Bagley arrive and Coignard is seen charging at Derr. Duffie fired his Taser, then Derr and Bagley quickly followed with multiple gunshots.
The shooting raises questions as it appears that Derr backed a safe distance from the girl. Duffie said that the Taser had no effect on the girl, although less than a second elapsed before the two other officers opened fire, shooting five times.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Heather Robertson” author_title=”Coignard’s aunt”]
I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.
The girl’s family has said she had mental health issues and questioned the need for police to shoot her.
Coignard’s aunt, Heather Robertson, said the girl had struggled with mental illness, including bipolar disorder, since her mother’s death when she was four years old. Coignard had been hospitalized twice for suicide attempts, according to People.