July 17, 1984
February 21, 2016
Age at Death:
Little was known about Ms. Michael, including her birth date. At the time of her death, she was a single mother of three sons, ages 11, 10 and 3. She and her twin sister immigrated from Belize to Southern California as children. Ms. Michael was a nurse. Her children were reportedly in the care of her twin sister after her death. Her family played a vital role in seeking justice for the way Ms. Michael and her companion were gunned down.
Inglewood Police say officers got a call early Sunday of a suspicious vehicle stopped near Manchester Boulevard and Inglewood Avenue. When they approached the car, they noticed the woman in the car had a gun and ordered her and a male occupant out of the vehicle. Officers then took cover and opened fire, killing Ms. Michael and a 32-year-old man, Marquintan Randell Sandlin (they were on a date). No officers were injured. Officers reported different accounts of what happened as the investigation went on. Ms. Michael was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting, and the man died later at a hospital. Ms. Michael was home in Los Angeles from Las Vegas, visiting family. The media reported the autopsy showed Ms. Michael having alcohol in her system and methamphetamines - a strategy to support police's claims to justify their shooting. It is also reported Ms. Michael was on probation for a misdemeanor theft in 2015, per court records. Her probation was revoked for a failure to appear in court, and on Feb. 11, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
Was justice served?
No. The story was suspicious by the police, and ultimately the city of Inlgewood agreed to pay $8.6 million to settle a lawsuit by the families of both parties killed. The lawsuit filed led to five of the seven involved police officers getting fired for not having just cause. The story reported by police changed throughout the investigation. The five fired officers filed a lawsuit charging discrimination (they were all white, but the other two officers that were giving orders to fire were Latino). The lawsuit alleges that Sandlin woke up first after the incident commander used a public address system to tell the couple to put their hands in the air. The officers' suit says Mr. Sandlin drove into the patrol car in front of him, then reversed into the police vehicle behind him. It goes on to claim that one officer shot Sandlin when he reached toward Ms. Michael's lap — where she had what the suit describes as a loaded semiautomatic gun. The lawsuit says the passenger door opened moments later and Ms. Michael reached for her lap, prompting all five officers to open fire. Ms. Michael was shot 13 times. Shortly after initial reports, the police story changed to the couple were unconscious when police arrived, police tried for 45 minutes to rouse the couple, and then, reportedly went for cover and open fire. Source: https://homicide.latimes.com/post/kiesha-shelly-michael/ and https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/couple-killed-inglewood-police-shooting-asleep-mayor-butts/2021858/ and https://laist.com/2018/12/31/inglewood_settles_suit_over_controversial_police_shootings_for_86m.php