The victim of a police shooting in Seattle was a young pregnant mother, and her family rightfully wants answers. Sunday morning, Charleena Lyles called the police seeking their help, only to end up succumbing to gunshot wounds to her chest and abdomen.
Police shootings of civilians are on the rise, and situations such as this one do not help in repairing the damaged relations between police and the population. Seattle police said they got a call from Lyles Sunday morning. She declared that there was a burglary taking place at her home. The police department sent two officers because they knew Lyles and were concerned for the officers’ safety. They arrived at Brettler Family Place 3 and went up to the fourth floor. They said Lyles confronted them with a knife.
Lyles had a history of mental illness, but her family says she was not a threat to the heavily armed police officers. That proved correct when Lyles knife was no match for several gunshot wounds. “Both officers had to fire their service weapons, striking the individual,” Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson said. “Unfortunately, it is a fatality.” The police luckily missed Lyles’ children with their gunfire, who were in the apartment when they shot their mother. Lyles was three months pregnant at the time of her death.
“There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies,” Williams said. The police also labeled Lyles as a “suspect” for having the audacity to call them asking for help.
Can you please explain why you are identifying her as a suspect? Are we now identifying everyone who calls you a suspect? Missed that memo
— Stephanie Heeg (@40wattbulb) June 18, 2017
Lyles did have a criminal record, but the family attributes it to her mental health that no one was willing to address. She was arrested June 5 for harassment and obstructing a police officer. She was released from the King County Jail on June 14, only a few days before her fatal encounter with police. Her family said she didn’t belong in jail, but no one would listen. “She has mental health issues that nobody’s trying to f**king address,” Williams insisted.
“What is she going do to all you police?” Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister demanded. “You big ass men? I can take her down, I know you can.” She added, “why couldn’t they have Tased her?” The police wanted to make sure everyone knows that no cops were injured when they took the life of a young pregnant mother while her children were in the same apartment.
Another photo of Charleena Lyles, 30 yo mother shot by SPD today. Photo shared with permission from family pic.twitter.com/xS7zIkSWZ6
— Steven Hsieh (@stevenjhsieh) June 18, 2017
A story in the Federal Way Mirror featured Lyles in 2008 as a success story. She had gotten a job through a program for at-risk youth. The story said Lyles had been receiving welfare when she entered the THRIVE program and was later placed at the Poverty Bay Coffee Company in Federal Way where she was permanently employed and no longer received welfare.
The officers who shot her are on paid leave, as is the standard procedure. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is promising a full investigation. Community vigils have already been held in protest of Lyles’ shooting, and support for her grieving family is taking off on social media.
Lyles’ family deserves the answers that they seek. If she was calling the police for help because of a burglary of her home, wouldn’t it make sense that since she was at home at the time, she would try to protect her children with a weapon? Perhaps a knife? If she was mentally ill, as her family claims, she wouldn’t have legally had access to a gun, so a knife would have likely been her only choice as a means to protect her children. Until we see the body cam footage (if it exists), what took place before the shooting is speculation, yet won’t matter much. A pregnant woman is dead at the hands of police.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.