One week after Longview Police Department officers shot and killed a mentally ill teenager in the lobby of their own police station, the department has released a surveillance video that captures the teenager's death. It does little to clear things up.
The police say Kristiana Coignard charged at officer Glenn Derr "in a threatening manner" while holding a butcher knife. But in the footage that the department released, it's impossible to tell whether or not the teen was, in fact, armed. The surveillance camera appears to have been placed at the opposite side of the lobby from where the incident occurred, and the hands and faces of the teenager and the officers are small and out-of-focus. There is also no sound. Here's the video:
Kristiana Coignard suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and had been hospitalized multiple times for trying to kill herself, her aunt told Think Progress. She was 17.
Police initially gave the public few details about the shooting, saying only that she had threatened officers with some sort of unnamed weapon. But on Wednesday, the department organized a press conference and sent out a news release leveling more specific allegations at Coignard. The news release, below, says Coignard told officer Glenn Derr that she had a gun. In their struggle, police say, Derr saw that Coignard had a butcher knife in her waistband. Another officer, Gene Duffie, deployed his Taser "to no effect," the news release says, though this claim is also impossible to verify as Duffie's back is facing the camera.
After the failed Taser deployment, police say, Derr fired at Coignard three times. A third cop on the scene, Grace Bagley, fired her gun twice. All three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending a Texas Rangers investigation.
In the video, you can see Derr entering the frame and meeting Coignard at the 7:38 mark. By 7:57, they appear to be in some sort of fight. The struggle continues for several minutes without any other officers coming, and Derr appears to have the upper hand. At 10:22, he tackles Coignard down to the ground. Then Derr appears to relent, getting up and backing away from her at 10:37. Coignard begins to stand up at 10:53, just as a second officer, Duffie, arrives to the scene, followed by Bagley. But at this critical moment in the video, the officers' backs are facing the camera, preventing us from seeing Coignard and what she is doing.
At 11:08, Coignard is seen running, and the officers fire their guns.
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Here's the full police statement giving their version of what transpired:
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.