Seattle police shot and killed a Black mother of four Sunday after she called to report an attempted burglary. According to The Seattle Times, Charleena Lyles—who family members say was “several months pregnant” and had been dealing with mental health issues—wielded a knife when two officers arrived and fatally shot her. Lyles’ family added she was worried authorities would take her children, reportedly in the home during the shooting, “one of whom they said has Down syndrome.”
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her?” said Lyles’ sister, Monika Williams. “They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down.” The Seattle Police Department confirmed with TST that both officers were white.
TST reports the Seattle Police Department “has been under a federal consent decree since 2012 after a Department of Justice investigation found its officers routinely engaged in excessive use of force,” especially when dealing with “people with mental or substance abuse problems.” Evidence of “biased policing” has also been found by federal investigators.
The incident will be reviewed by SPD’s Force Investigation Team and the Office of Professional Accountability, according to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Both officers were placed on administrative leave, according to authorities.
A vigil was held for Lyles on Sunday night. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.