Meet Charaleena Lyles, the 451th Person Killed by Police
On Sunday, Charleena Lyles, an African-American woman, was shot and killed by Seattle police.
The 30-year-old became the 451st person to die at the hands of law enforcement in this country this year. We’re just six months into 2017. That’s 173 days.
Lyles, who had reportedly been ordered to undergo mental health treatment recently, was fatally wounded during a confrontation with law enforcement on Sunday.
Officers said the mother of four was armed with two kitchen knives and audio, as well as a transcript of the incident, recorded her saying, “Get ready, motherf***ers.”
The audio is difficult to hear, but this is what the transcript released by the police department states.
Lyles’ family concerned about how and why police shot her instead of opting to use force of a nonlethal nature. Investigators are reportedly reviewing the case, and a shooting inquest is expected, KIRO reports.
Officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson responded to a burglary report made Sunday morning by Lyles at 6818 62nd Ave. N.E. It’s the address of a low-income housing complex known as Brettler Family Place 3.
The transcript spells out the conversation had between the two officers and Lyles. The officers reportedly asked to enter the apartment and spoke with Lyles for about three minutes before things turned deadly.
Around the three-minute mark, the officers arrived at Lyles’ residence and spoke with her about items that had been taken from her home.
Officer 1: Hello, good morning, did you call today?
Officer 1: Okay. Hi, I’m Officer (Redacted), all right if we come in?
Officer 1: Hi, so what’s going on?
LYLES: (Unintelligible) down here and had a, or a (unintelligible) someone broke into my house and took my things.
Officer 1: (Unintelligible) Was your (unintelligible)?
LYLES: Yeah, it was, and, um, I just ran out to the store so I left it unlocked.
Officer 1: Okay. Oh, Okay. Does anyone, do you have any idea who it might have been, or anything like that, or?
LYLES: I have no idea.
The officers then can be heard collecting a bit more information and according to the transcript, some kind of shuffling is heard in the audio and a child can be heard crying.
Officer 2: Get back, get back, get back.
Officer 1: Fast back-up.
Officer 2: Get back.
LYLES: Get ready, mother f***ers.
Officer 2: We need help. (Unintelligible) a woman with two knives.
Officer 1: Hey, get back. Get back.
Officer 2: Get back. Tase her.
Officer 1: I don’t have a taser. Get back, get back.
Officer 2: Get back.
Officer 1: Get back.
Both officers were reportedly trained to deal with people showing signs of mental illness. One of them had had crisis intervention training (CIT), and the other was CIT-certified, which is a higher level of training. Although officers are required to carry nonlethal weapons such as a Taser, baton and/or pepper spray, Det. Patrick Michaud said he wasn’t sure which options the officers had. Whether the nonlethal options were readily available at the time of incident also remains unclear.
But according to a summary the above transcript, one of the officers didn’t have his Taser on him.
Seattle police say that though the investigation is ongoing, they’re releasing the audio and transcripts in an effort to be transparent. Family members set up a memorial for Lyles outside of her apartment, and loved ones are continuing to mourn her death while hoping for closure.
Whether her family members receive what they’re looking for is up to the law, but what we do know is that Lyles will never be able to tell her side of the story.
A petition demanding justice has been started by Color of Change in Lyle’s honor. Click here to view and sign it.