Jacqueline Salyers (Courtesy Family of Jacqueline Salyers)
Unarmed Native Woman Murdered by Tacoma Police
Justice for Jaqueline Salyers
March 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a reader:
On March 16, people in Tacoma, Washington, plan to rally for justice for Native woman Jacqueline “Jackie” Salyers. She was murdered by Tacoma police on January 28. Jackie was a 33-year-old mother of four and a member of the Puyallup tribe. She was pregnant when she was killed. She was very loved, and her family, friends, and community are devastated.
How Can We Believe the Police Story?
Police say they had warrants for Kenneth Wright, Jr. and saw him in the passenger seat (with Jackie Salyers in the driver’s seat) of a parked car, so they got out of their own car and approached. Then, according to an official police spokesperson, “The driver stepped on the gas, and accelerated toward the officers. One of the officers fired at and hit the driver.” They say Wright was armed and fled.
News photographs of the car show bullet holes in the passenger side of the front windshield, both driver and passenger side windows shattered, and a bullet exit hole in the driver-side door. If the car was actually coming at a cop standing in front of it and in danger of being run over, the cop would have fired at the driver, and the bullet holes would be in the driver’s side of the front windshield. The holes being on the passenger side front windshield instead indicates that cop was standing ahead of, but off to the side of, the car (and so not in danger of being hit by the car), so that the bullet entered at the passenger side of the front windshield and angled across and hit Jackie Salyers and not Wright. Also, family members state that when dressing Jackie for burial, they found she was shot in the right side of the temple.
We’ve seen over and over again how cops claim they “feared for their lives” to justify murdering people. You can read at www.revcom.us, for example, two other cases where police claimed they were endangered by people in their cars and killed them—in two different cities in July last year: Samuel DuBose, a Black man murdered by Cincinnati cops, and Zachary Hammond, a white youth murdered by Seneca, South Carolina, police.
Police Enforce a Climate of Intimidation and Fear
A February 10 Indian Country Today article quotes James Rideout, uncle of Jackie Salyers, as saying: “After shooting Jackie, the officers disrespected her body. Witnesses told me they took her out of the car, dragged her to the curb, put her in a police car, drove her a short distance away and dragged her out again onto the pavement. She must have died sometime during all this. The people who spoke to me found this extremely painful.”
Jackie’s family had previously reported Kenneth Wright, Jr. to the police for domestic violence. James Rideout said, “Jackie was a domestic violence survivor. The police should have known that if she was with Wright, she was already a victim.”
A February 15 article in Indian Country Today quotes Jackie’s grandmother, Darlene Salyers: “I’m going to be 75, and I’ve never been watched by the police in my whole life. However, after the funeral, we were getting out of the car in front of my apartment building. A police car drove by, and the driver honked his horn and kept on going. It brought back old memories of my son being murdered 30 years ago. Fear of the consequences of testifying meant the truth never came out. I worry that will happen again. Will witnesses be afraid to testify about what happened to Jackie?”
Other murders by police in Washington State reported in Revolution newspaper include Che Taylor who was gunned down in Seattle on February 21, Daniel Covarrubias in Lakewood, and Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco. Police killed 23 people in Washington State in 2015.
Police terror plays a key part in the slow genocide against Black people and the oppression of Latino people, and there is the whole history in the U.S. of genocide of Native Americans and their continuing oppression. As Lanna Covarrubias, sister of Daniel Covarrubias of the Suquamish tribe, said last October: “Native Americans are killed at the highest rate because we’re the smallest population, but no matter what race you are, nobody deserves to be murdered. We all deserve due process. My brother was a descendant of Chief Seattle. I say that not because his life is any more valuable than any of the other victims, but because it’s a reminder this genocide is still happening and the modern day lynchings continue to happen today. It’s just hidden behind the justice system as legal discrimination.” (“Seattle Send-Off for Families Going to NYC for Rise Up October“)
Nationwide people are rising up to stop police terror! And on March 16 people will be standing up in Tacoma.
Photo taken by a bystander showing Jackie's body dumped on the road, after she had been put in a police car and driven a short distance from where she was shot. (Courtesy Family of Jacqueline Salyers)
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