Episode 26 – Kristiana Coignard

On January 22, 2015, my town of Longview changed forever. At the time, there was an ongoing national debate about police-involved shootings and, in one brief event, we became a part of that dialogue in a very immediate way.

On that day in January, 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard entered the lobby of the Longview Police Department building on Cotton Street near downtown Longview. Less than 20 minutes later, she was dead.

17-year-old Kristiana Coignard.

What happened that night has been the subject of in-depth investigation and serious debate. It has been established that Kristiana had been dealing with mental health issues for years but exactly what role those issues played in her death is not certain.

The police claimed that Kristiana wrote “I have a gun” on her palm, which she displayed to a police officer who responded to her request for help. The police also claimed that she struggled with officers and, at one point, displayed a butcher knife in a threatening manner. She was also found to be in possession of a suicide note on the night of her death and scars were found on her wrists, as well as elsewhere on her body. It appeared, to some, that Kristiana had been in a state of suicidal ideation and was attempting to end her life when she entered the police station that night.

These allegations were questioned after a surveillance video from the lobby that night was released to the public on YouTube. That video is still available though I caution you that, if you decide to watch it in its entirety, it is very graphic and disturbing.

The Longview PD building where Kristiana was shot to death by officers.

In this episode, I provide a breakdown of this video for those who don’t wish to watch and, for those of you who do watch, you may compare your own opinions with my descriptions of the images contained in the video.

I am not, at all, trying to insert my own opinions about this case into this episode. However, it appears to me, as it has to many others, that the conclusions portrayed by police reports of the incident are, at least, somewhat in conflict with the images that can be seen in the video. I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Despite what we may think about this case, the public’s reaction was undeniable. Public protests occurred in Longview and the hacktivist group Anonymous attacked the infrastructure of the city of Longview’s website.

The only sure conclusion that can be reached about this case, in my estimation, is that Kristiana was in definite need of mental healthcare and, for many reasons, she did not receive that care. This is an issue about which I care deeply and one that I think we should all take very seriously.

Tune into this episode to learn more about one of the most shocking and heartbreaking events to occur here in the middle of Nowhere in many years.

I am including a link to a YouTube video which contains footage of the protests in Longview after Kristiana’s death. CAUTION: This video contains footage from surveillance cameras inside the Longview PD building on the night of Kristiana’s death, including the moment when she was shot by officers. It is graphic and disturbing. Please watch with consideration and discretion:

 

 

2 thoughts on “Episode 26 – Kristiana Coignard

  1. I’m going through your catalog now, and I feel like this episode is going to piss me off. I have absolutely nothing nice to say about the trigger happy assholes that pulled their guns on that 90lb little girl. No excuse for what happened that night.

    1. It made me angry to write it. When I first got the idea for this podcast, this was the one case I knew I wanted to cover. I’ll never understand why they didn’t just cuff her one of the multiple times they had her on the ground. Obviously, I wasn’t there that night, I’ve just seen the video. But I still believe she needed help and if she had gotten it, she would still be alive. One officer used his Taser, which was the right thing to do, and the other fired his pistol. Again, I wasn’t there, but this wasn’t like a lot of other police-involved shootings. It was three on one inside a police station. Backup was a minute away and coming. She was a tiny girl and they shot her dead before she took a few steps. For all the people who argued “Well, she had a suicide note” well, yeah, she did. But she was also a kid and teenagers can get depressed and irrational. Doesn’t mean they deserve to die.

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