Kristiana Coignard walked into a Longview, Texas, police station last month asking for help, but within minutes, police had shot and killed the 17-year-old girl under circumstances which are still not entirely clear.
Coignard was shot and killed in January just moments after walking into the police station lobby. Police say the 17-year-old girl “came at” three officers with an unspecified weapon, forcing them to shoot her multiple times.
The content of the conversation Kristiana Coignard had with police when she arrived at the station has now been revealed, though it may only deepen the mystery around her death. In the brief exchange, Coignard calls out for help but never reveals the source or her problem.
The Dallas Observer published the transcript of the call.
“I’m in the lobby, and I need some help,” Kristiana Coignard said into the station telephone at the Longview Police Department.
“OK what kind of help do you need?” an officer asked. The officer gets no response, and the recording ends.
The same thing happens in a second recording. “Ma’am, did you just call saying you needed some assistance?” asks an officer.
“Yes,” Coignard responds.
“OK, what kind of assistance do you need?” the officer asks. Again, Coignard is silent on the other end.
An officer then walked into the lobby, where the confrontation with Kristiana began.
Family members say Kristiana Coignard was trying to reach out for help, and believe police may be covering up some aspects of her shooting death.
“I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something,” Heather Robertson, Coignard’s aunt, told the news site Think Progress.
“They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
Kristiana’s father, Erik, said video of her shooting death showed that police could have handled the situation much differently.
“Our belief is that she went there asking for help. It’s evident just by watching the video of how long she was calm, cooperative, subdued. For so many, I’m guessing about 10, minutes, there wasn’t any violence on her part, or charging, or anything like that. So I know that it was asking for help, that was her intent,” said her father, Erik Coignard.
“In the video it’s evident there are lots of times when she was under the officer’s control and she could have and should have been restrained at that point. It would have been a very different outcome.”
While the Texas Rangers are investigating the 17-year-old’s shooting death, the family of Kristiana Coignard say they are now considering legal action against police.