On August 23, 2017, police officers in Olathe, Kansas, were responding to reports about the whereabouts of Ciara Howard. Howard, a 26-year-old, had an open warrant after she left the county’s adult residential center where she was ordered to be after her previous conviction. Upon arriving at Ciara’s boyfriend’s house, officers from Olathe police department and Johnson County deputies had a three-hour long stand off with Ciara.
Recently, body cam footage was provided after The Star made a lawsuit against Olathe, and in the footage officers are heard warning that they wouldn’t enter. Howard has a history of mental health issues, addiction, suicidal thoughts, and some minor offences. The warrant that Howard was being arrested for was for minor, however the whole situation escalated after officers became impatient.
While the officers knew of Howard’s history, her boyfriend who was with officers outside the house, told them that she had access to his .45 caliber handgun, and that it was loaded. With this information, one of the commanders can be heard on the body cam saying “It’s not worth getting into a shootout and hurting an officer or hurting her over the type of warrants that we have.”
At no time during the three-hour standoff were negotiators called, nor a mental health specialist – which was definitely needed as approximately 90 minutes into the standoff Howard said “I’m not afraid to die!” adding “I’M READY!“. Although Howard was a non-violent offender, her mental health issues paired with officers’ growing frustration, resulted in an ending that no one wanted.
Officers entered the home, with Howard barricading herself in the laundry. After some time, three officers managed to get inside the laundry with Howard, who was holding the handgun in her left hand, waving it as she became frantic. Thirteen seconds later, the officers opened fire on Howard after she failed to put down the weapon.
Body cam footage has been obtained, and can be seen in the video below. Azure News would like to warn viewers that the following video contains graphic images.