Prosecutors have filed charges against a Kansas City woman who activists claim was the victim of excessive police force.
Leonna Hale, 26, was approached by police officers last Friday after she was spotted inside a car that police say matched the description of one involved in an armed carjacking.
According to police, the driver of the vehicle jumped out and ran when police approached. They claim Hale also exited the vehicle, went to the rear of the car, and drew a firearm.
Police told Hale to drop the firearm, but she allegedly pointed it at police. Law enforcement responded by firing three shots. Hale was wounded in the incident, but she did not die.
What were the claims?
The incident generated significant attention online. Activists claimed police had shot an unarmed pregnant woman five times. Even worse, they claimed she had her hands up.
- Activist Leslie Mac: "#LeonnaHale is a 26 year old unarmed pregnant Black Woman who was shot five time by Kansas City police on Friday. She had her hands up and told police she could not follow their directions to get on her stomach b/c she was pregnant. There is no reforming this. #AbolitionNow."
- CRT scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw: "Please send prayers and support to Leonna Hale, unarmed, shot 5 times in a traffic staff. If mass murderers of Black people can be apprehended alive, why must Black people in traffic stops constantly fear for their lives?"
- The Kansas City Defender: "Kansas City Police Department shot an unarmed Black woman 5 times. Eyewitnesses say the woman had her hands up. The police handcuffed her while she was bleeding out on the pavement."
- Linda Sarsour: "Cops can apprehend white mass murderers without a scratch but will shoot unarmed Black people that pose no threat to them. Leonna Hale. Kansas City, MO."
- Occupy Democrats: "BREAKING: A witness reveals that Kansas City police shot Leonna Hale, a pregnant unarmed Black woman, five times as she was running away from them — she has been hospitalized with serious injuries but remains stable."
But what does the footage show?
Prosecutors are now charging Hale after they say body cam footage shows that Hale was, in fact, in possession of a firearm and that she pointed her weapon at police.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker explained in a statement:
Some false narratives about what happened last Friday night at 6th and Prospect Avenue, unfortunately, were relied upon by some media and other sources. Our job, as prosecutors, is to remain neutral and review all evidence. Our review of body cam videos provided the actual accounting of events that night.
Our review of the investigation revealed the defendant, although she denied having a weapon at the time of the encounter with law enforcement officers, continually displayed a weapon during her encounter with police officers and also appeared to be attempting to flee. The two officers stated that she was armed with what they believed to be a handgun. Body camera footage confirms the officers’ statements that Hale was holding a handgun. Still photos, taken from body cam footage, of this encounter also demonstrate a weapon was present and in the hands of the defendant.
Hale has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and a misdemeanor resisting a lawful detention.
Local activists, however, do not believe police are being truthful, the Kansas City Star reported.
Hale remains in the hospital. The driver of the vehicle who fled from police has also since been apprehended. Neither the police nor the media have confirmed that Hale is pregnant, WDAF-TV reported.
Supporters of woman shot by KC police shocked of image, charges of her pointing weapon at officers www.youtube.com