Kansas City police are facing backlash after shooting an unarmed pregnant Black five times over a reported stolen vehicle.
Leonna Hale, 26, is in stable condition after being shot by Kansas City police on Friday. An eyewitness identified as Shédanja claims Hale was trying to flee the scene in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store on Friday night, The Kansas City Star reported. According to Newsweek, Hale had her hands up moments before officers opened fire.
The shooting occurred after the Missouri State Highway Patrol tracked down a vehicle matching the description of a stolen car inside a Family Dollar parking lot. When authorities tried to arrest the man and woman inside the car, the man jumped a fence and ran as three officers chased after him. Shédanja says Hale exited the car with her hands up. When cops ordered Hale onto the ground, she told them that she couldn’t because she was pregnant.
CONTENT WARNING ⚠️
Black trauma, violence against women, anti-Black violence
"They still putting her in handcuffs after they shot her" eyewitness recording the video can be heard saying frantically. pic.twitter.com/VltyZxRK2g
— The Kansas City Defender (@KCDefender) May 29, 2022
Police reportedly gave Hale multiple orders to get down. She then told police there was a gun in the vehicle and started backing toward a fence in the parking lot.
“She did not pull out a weapon on them,” Shédanja said. “She did not even have a stick in her hand.”
That’s when several officers approached her with their weapons drawn. Hale, according to Shédanja, took three steps before police opened fire.
“One, two, three, four, five. I remember it because it didn’t stop. They shot five times,” Shédanja said.
“I remember seeing her hit the ground and I froze.”
“We never want to be in these types of situations. Not the public, as a police department,” Kansas City Police Department’s Interim Police Chief Joseph Mabin said. “Anytime it happens is a blight on our community. I want to ensure the public the scene is secure.
“There’s no on-going threat. We’re committed to be 100% transparent. This is a holiday weekend. It’s time for friends. Not a time for violence.”