The story of Charleena Lyles, 30, and her death at the hands of Seattle police officers set social media ablaze. Thousands of people who read her story saw another victim of excessive police force. Lyles was shot and killed this past Sunday by police when she called 911 to report a burglary at her apartment. She was pregnant and had her three small children with her at the time.
Initial reports stated that she answered the door holding a knife and at the time no further details were released about what caused the police to open fire. Police did, however, release rather quickly the fact that she had a minor criminal record and spent nine days in the city jail for obstruction of a public official and harassment. The attempt to demonize a victim of police violence is all too common in America. Seattle police have chosen not to release the name of the officers who shot Lyles.
New developments in the case have now been revealed, and a decision was made to release audio and partial video of the events that led to the shooting. It turns out that Lyles was shot inside her apartment after she let the police inside. During the lead-up to the initial encounter with Lyles the two White police officers are discussing a prior call to the residence on June 5, 2017, and can be heard to state:
Officer 1: She called for a DV. She let them in and then she started talking all crazy about how she, the officers weren’t gonna leave. And she had a giant pair of scissors.
Officer 2: Has she got a mental caution on her?
Officer 1: She’s got an officer safety caution.
Officer 2: Wait, is this the one with like the three kids?
Officer 1: Yeah, so this gal, she was the one making all these weird statements about how her [sic] and her daughter are going to turn into wolves.
Soon they are seen on surveillance camera video arriving at Lyle’s apartment door. Lyles invites the officers into her home and she is talking calmly and explaining the situation. The video does not show Lyles but one of her small children is heard in the background. It is when we hear her invite the officers to look around the apartment that some type of struggle is heard. An unidentified officer yells “get back, get back,” and then shots ring out. The officers are then heard calling for help as the video ends.
What is apparent is that the Seattle Police Department knew they were dealing with a woman with children who has a history of irrational behavior. However, the officers did not have a taser and from what can be heard, no attempt was made to use non-lethal force.
The video can be seen below: