The 2017 fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman suffering from mental instability, at the hands of two white Seattle police officers sparked a major controversy that even led to citywide protests.
Following a two-week-long inquest hearing into her death that began five years later on June 21, the six-person jury unanimously ruled last week that both cops were justified in using deadly force to apprehend Lyles.
“You killed my daughter!” Lyles’ father exclaimed along with a few other understandable obscenities as the findings were revealed last Wednesday (July 6). Inquest jurors determined that officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew had no reasonable alternative to shooting Lyles after they claimed she suddenly lunged at one with a knife following a report she made of a burglary. Just two weeks earlier, she brandished shears on other officers while also speaking of “morphing into a wolf.”
More below on this tragic update to an even more tragic example of excessive force, via NBC News:
“As the officers drew their weapons, Lyles yelled ‘Do it!’ and cursed at them. The officers repeatedly yelled for her to get back before firing, hitting her seven times. The jury found that even if the officers had a Taser, it would not have been an effective or appropriate option as she advanced on them in the close confines of the apartment, The Seattle Times reported.
Her crying baby crawled over and climbed on top of her as she died, and a boy came out of a bedroom and said, in tears, ‘You shot my mother,’ the officers recalled in emotional testimony.
Lyles was 15 weeks pregnant.”
Although the Lyles family settled a civil lawsuit last year against the Seattle Police Department and officers involved for $3.5 million, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is now reviewing evidence presented at the inquest, along with the findings, to determine if charges will be made against officers Anderson and McNew.
Given the police training required for situations like this of dealing with mentally disabled assailants, it’s very questionable as to why the SPD officers felt the need to use deadly force on a four-month pregnant woman wielding a pocket knife.
Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Charleena Lyles. Rest in peace, sister. Sound off and let us know what you think.
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