Agencies: Wichita Police Department Kansas
Last updated: 7 months ago
The story police told after officers shot Karen Jackson on July 10 was that she came at them with a whiskey bottle and a fire igniter in one hand, and a knife in the other, stabbing herself in the chest and calling out “shoot me.” The two officers fired, Chief Norman Williams said the next day, after they backed up across North Spruce Street, yelling all the way for her to drop the weapon. When she got within five feet, they fired.
The hole in that story, said Jackson’s daughter, Tyra Williams, is that her mother, 45, was a church-going disabled grandmother with a back so much in pain and legs so unsteady “that she couldn’t even pick up her own grandchildren.” Had the officers used a Taser on her, or wrestled with her, the fight would have ended peacefully in seconds, she said.
She did drink. “Some days she drank a lot,” Williams said. But Williams said the police story paints Jackson as either formidably dangerous, or suicidal. She was neither, not even with a knife in hand, Williams said. What’s more, Williams and her family members said, the police failed to mention that besides the bottle and the knife and the igniter, they were told Jackson was also carrying her purse.
“I’ve tried to re-create what the police said she did,” said Malaka Day, Jackson’s daughter-in-law. She put her own purse on one arm, and picked up several items off the table of her living room—soda cans, small bottles. “Okay, here’s the purse, here’s the igniter, here’s the knife, and the bottle,” she said, her hands and one arm full. “How can you stab yourself while loaded up like this, let alone stab anybody else?”
Williams got to the scene of the shooting minutes after it happened, sprinting past officers who yelled at her to stop. She stepped up on the back bumper of the ambulance and got one last look, sobbing at what she saw: Her mother was still alive, her blood-soaked chest heaving as she fought to breathe, Williams said. The funeral home told her later her mother was shot four times.
Jackson had troubles with her husband, Williams said, but had started her fatal encounter by showing up at his house at in the 700 block of North Spruce. She had a court order compelling him to stay away from her, so when he found her in his house, he backed out, called 911 and told responding officers he didn’t want to violate his order. The two officers walked up to the house, with a final warning from the husband that Jackson had “mental problems.”
“She was bipolar, and that’s a disorder that I guess you could say was a mental problem,” Williams said.
“But she was also so nice to everybody that she wouldn’t even let us get rid of the bugs,” Day said. “I think the police told the story to cover up the way they murdered her.”