Kristiana Coignard, Killed by Longview Police, Told Them She Needed Help in Call from Station Lobby
"I'm in the lobby, and I need some help," Kristiana Coignard said into the station telephone at the Longview Police Department.
"OK what kind of help do you need?" an officer asked. The officer gets no response, and the recording ends.
The same thing happens in a second recording. "Ma'am, did you just call saying you needed some assistance?" asks an officer.
"Yes," Coignard responds.
"OK, what kind of assistance do you need?" the officer asks. Again, Coignard is silent on the other end.
Eventually, a Longview Police Department officer would walk into the lobby. A struggle between the officer and Coignard ensued, one that led to her death. Three officers confronted Coignard in the lobby that day and two shot at her. The officers are on paid leave while the Texas Rangers investigate the shooting.
Since the shooting, the Longview Police Department has released video footage, a photograph of a knife they said she was holding during the confrontation and most recently, the audio from the call she made in the police station lobby before the officers came out. But key questions remain about why Coignard was killed and not arrested.
A recurring question from readers comes from a point in the video when Officer Glenn Derr has Coignard held down on the ground, but then backs away and lets her get back up. Why didn't he arrest her at a time when, in the video at least, it looked like he had a chance? That and other specific questions will remain unanswered until after the Texas Rangers complete their investigation, the Longview PD's spokesman says. After the investigation, the Rangers will decide whether to send the case to a grand jury. "Until then, there's just not a whole lot more we can talk about," Longview PD spokesman Kristie Brian says.
Coignard's father, Erik Coignard, and stepmother Elizabeth Canales-Coignard have hired an attorney. In a press conference in San Antonio on Monday morning, the attorney said he was trying to get more facts about what happened the day Coignard died and criticized the police department's tactics.
"If we can achieve one thing, it is that mental illness is a disease that needs to be recognized by police officers," attorney Tim Maloney reportedly said. "Deadly force should absolutely be a last resource."
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.