Longview, Texas – Police have released the lobby surveillance video of the altercation between police, a 17-year-old girl, and her subsequent shooting death at the hands of officers.
As we previously reported, Kristiana Coignard, 17, “had been struggling with mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, since her mother died when she was four. She had been hospitalized twice in recent years after suicide attempts,” according to her aunt, Heather Robertson.
Coignard came to the Longview Police station around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday and requested to speak with an officer, according to police.
The video shows Coignard enter the lobby and use a courtesy phone. Approximately 3 minutes later an officer enters the building and approaches her.
Less than fifteen seconds go by from the time the officer enters the premises until he is shown attempting to reach toward Coignard in an aggressive fashion, with her responding by taking a defensive posture and pulling away from him.
While it is unclear what precipitated the officer initially choosing to engage in the use of physical force, it must be noted that aggression was initiated by the officer and not Coignard during this incident.
The officer can be seen on the footage grabbing her wrist and forcing her into submission on a chair, physically holding her down and restraining her for over 3 minutes.
Coignard can be seen attempting to kick and resist at various points during the manhandling by the much larger cop.
Finally they stand back up, at which point the officer can be seen slamming Coignard to the ground face first, he then climbs on top of her as she lay prostrate.
The officer can then be seen stepping away from Coignard and drawing his weapon.
Another cop then enter the lobby and joins the ongoing situation, at which point Coignard gets up off the ground.
As a third officer enters, Coignard can be seen rushing at the officer that she was involved with in the initial altercation, which ultimately ended in her being shot and killed, with officers claiming she “brandished a weapon.”
What was continually running through my mind while watching the video was the question; why doesn’t he just cuff her?!
With such a prolonged wrestling match type scenario, and an officer so much larger and more physical, it begs the question as to why things were allowed to escalate to the point of this young woman being killed.
The video clearly shows that this incident did not need to escalate in the manner it did, which resulted in the death of this teenage girl.
And while perhaps the officer was potentially in fear for his life at the apex of this incident resulting in Coignard’s shooting death, how many missed opportunities were there to have this incident result in anything but her death.
“I think it was a cry for help,” Robertson said. “I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
It is clear from the video that this little girl’s death could have been prevented several times during this altercation.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.