The Kansas City Police Department is under fire after reportedly shooting an unarmed pregnant Black woman five times.
The incident took place on Friday (May 27) in the Independence Plaza neighborhood. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Leonna Hale.
Hale Had Her Hands in the Air, Claim Eyewitnesses
The Kansas City Police Department alleges the incident was in an attempt to arrest a woman and a man in connection with a suspected stolen vehicle. Eyewitnesses say Hale was shot five times as she had her hands up in the air.
Shédanja, an eyewitness who recorded the aftermath of the scene, told the Kansas City Star that she heard officers yelling, "Get out the car," to two people who were in a car close to her. A man got out of the vehicle, she says, before jumping a fence and taking off. Three of the cops then went after him, she said. The woman on the other hand, exited the vehicle with her hands up.
Video Footage Shows Officers Handcuffing Hale as She Bled Out
"The cops told the woman to get on the ground, but the woman informed them that she was pregnant, and so she couldn't get down on the ground," the woman added. Then police asked her to get down multiple times, which she refused. The woman then informed police that there was a gun in the vehicle.
The woman started backing toward a fence in the parking lot. Several officers approached her and had their weapons drawn, Shédanja said. "She did not pull out a weapon on them," she said. "She did not even have a stick in her hand." The woman took three steps away from officers, Shédanja said, and police shot her five times.
Shédanja asked police several times why they shot the woman, but officers did not give her an answer. She then pulled out her cellphone and started recording. In the video footage, shared on social media, Hale is seen lying on the ground with blood on her shirt. An officer appears to put her in handcuffs.
Several more officers arrive at the scene. An officer approaches Shédanja and tells her to get back.
Hale in Stable Condition, Gun Found Where She was Shot
Hale was then taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Highway patrol spokesman Sgt. Andrew Bell said Friday she was in stable condition.
State troopers are now leading the investigation of the police shooting. Bell said a handgun was found near the area where the woman was shot. Interim Police Chief Joseph Mabin arrived at the shooting scene and said the department would be fully transparent with the highway patrol as the shooting investigation was conducted.