Community wants answers after pregnant black mother is shot by police

Community wants answers after pregnant black mother is shot by police

The Seattle Police Department this morning released audio from a confrontation yesterday in which two Seattle police officers fatally shot Charleena Lyles after Lyles called them to report a burglary. Both officers fired their weapons, killing her.

Dozens of people gathered at a vigil for Charleena Lyles, a mother of three who was shot by Seattle Police Sunday morning.

"Why couldn't they have Tased her", Lyles' sister Monika Williams told the Times. Several children were also present but were not injured, police said. Police then asks her if she knew who it might have been, and they ask for her name. She lets them in and says, "There was a break-in". "She had mental health issues that nobody is trying to address". "There's no way you could've taken a taser and taken her down?" Then there's a four-second pause, followed by a sudden commotion - you can hear Lyles say, 'You ready?', she calls them an expletive, and the cops react, saying "We need help", presumably over their radios, and commanding someone to "get back".

On the audio, the woman can be heard discussing with the officers that there was a break-in. As a result, the department had flagged her and her apartment, responding with a greater officer presence than they may otherwise have done. "Get back!" before a volley of gunfire erupts.

In the weeks before, Lyles had been arrested and spent nine days in jail, according to King County records.

Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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On the dashcam audio of Sunday's incident, officers can be heard greeting Lyles and asking questions about the burglary report.

As the two officers responded to the woman's fourth-floor apartment near Magnuson Park in northeast Seattle, police say she came at the officers with a knife.

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, most often against people with mental or substance abuse problems. They said Lyles confronted them with a knife.

After the shooting, the officers performed CPR, but Lyles was declared dead by fire officials at the scene. The department, in a statement, said it believes "transparency throughout the investigation of deadly force incidents is essential to maintaining public trust". "This will be fully investigated", Murray said.

A court-ordered federal monitor issued a report in April asserting that the department had made a positive turnaround and that use of force by officers was down, reported the Times.

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