Updated: Jun 19, 2017 – 10:52 AM
SEATTLE – Family members are demanding answers after Seattle police officers shot and killed a 30-year-old woman who was armed with a knife.
Seattle (/siˈætəl/) is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States and the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 704,352 residents as of 2016, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015.
The Seattle area was previously inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers. Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon, on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named “Seattle” in 1852, after Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.
Logging was Seattle’s first major industry, but by the late-19th century, the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. Growth after World War II was partially due to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing. The Seattle area developed as a technology center beginning in the 1980s, with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region. In 1994, Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle. The stream of new software, biotechnology, and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city’s population by almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000.
Seattle has a noteworthy musical history. From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/ International District, to the Central District. The jazz scene developed the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and others. Seattle is also the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix, origin of the bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and the alternative rock subgenre grunge.
Seattle police shooting kills 30-year-old woman; read both sides here
A police force is a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. Their powers include the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with police services of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from military or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing.
Law enforcement, however, constitutes only part of policing activity. Policing has included an array of activities in different situations, but the predominant ones are concerned with the preservation of order. In some societies, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, these developed within the context of maintaining the class system and the protection of private property. Many police forces suffer from police corruption to a greater or lesser degree. The police force is usually a public sector service, meaning they are paid through taxes.
Alternative names for police force include constabulary, gendarmerie, police department, police service, crime prevention, protective services, law enforcement agency, civil guard or civic guard. Members may be referred to as police officers, troopers, sheriffs, constables, rangers, peace officers or civic/civil guards.
As police are often interacting with individuals, slang terms are numerous. Many slang terms for police officers are decades or centuries old with lost etymology. One of the oldest, “cop”, has largely lost its slang connotations and become a common colloquial term used both by the public and police officers to refer to their profession.
A Seattle Police Department spokesman said the woman, Charleena Lyles, called police to report a burglary at her apartment near Magnuson Park on Sunday morning. Officers said she was armed with a knife, and two officers fired.
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Charleena Lyles was a pregnant mother of four children and suffered from mental health issues, family told KIRO 7 News. Police said although the call was a typical burglary report, two officers were required to respond due to information pertaining to this address that presented an increased risk to officers.
Seattle police shooting kills 30-year-old woman; read both sides here
A police briefing is expected Monday afternoon, and KIRO 7 plans to livestream the briefing. We also will send breaking news alerts when a major development happens in this story. Download our app here. Here’s what we know about both sides of the case now.
- Two officers responded to the Charleena Lyles’ apartment in the Sand Point neighborhood.
- She was armed with a knife, and The Associated Press reported she came at the officers.
- Both officers fired their weapons. They have not been identified.
- Lyles was hit multiple times and died inside the apartment.’
- Family told KIRO 7 News she had mental health issues.
- Before arriving, police were told of an increased risk to officers.
- Lyles had an extensive criminal record and she was released from jail June 14.
- She was three months pregnant while in jail, family says.
- The officers are on paid leave per standard procedure.
- Family members believe that race was factor in the shooting of Lyles, a black woman.
What police say about the shooting
As two officers responded to Lyles’ fourth-floor home in Brettler Family Place 3 near Magnuson Park in northeast Seattle. Police said she came at the officers with a knife, the AP reported.
Police fired shots. Medics performed CPR on Lyles for 10 minutes, but she died in the apartment.
Three children who were inside the apartment at the time. They have been taken into protective custody.
“Both officers had to fire their service weapons, striking the individual,” Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson said. “Unfortunately, it is a fatality.”
Jamieson says detectives are investigating and the woman was known to officers.
Police released audio of the officer-involved shooting on Monday morning. The audio file was captured by the officers’ dashcam video system, which was on in the patrol cars of both responding officers.
KIRO 7 has posted a small excerpt of the audio below in which the moments before gunshots were fired and the actual shooting can be heard. Watch it below and scroll down to keep reading.
The full four minutes of audio can be heard here. It has the conversation between the officers as they discuss the history at the home and their concerns.
No officers were injured.
Lyles is survived by four children, family tells KIRO 7 News.
A story in the Federal Way Mirror featured Lyles in 2008. She received a job through a program for at-risk youth.
Lyles had been receiving welfare when she entered the THRIVE program at age 21, according to the report. She was later placed at the Poverty Bay Coffee Company in Federal Way, where she was permanently employed and no longer received welfare.
According to family, Lyles suffers from mental health issues.
Brettler Family Place, where Lyles lived, is a community made up of 52 families coming out of emergency and transitional shelters.
What family says about Lyles
When KIRO 7 News was on the scene Sunday, the raw emotion of a family receiving terrible news was on full display.
“My cousin called to tell me it’s my sister,” Monika Williams cried out in anguish.
Williams said that while her sister suffered from mental health issues, she was not a threat.
“What is she going do to all you police?” Williams said. “You big ass men? I can take her down, I know you can.”
“There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies.”
Family members believe that the shooting was unnecessary and that race was a factor. Friends and family held a vigil Sunday night for the woman.
How the city of Seattle is reacting
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is promising a full investigation. He called the shooting “a tragedy for all involved.”
“Our historic police reforms, from de-escalation training to civilian-monitored force review, are in place to address such crises. This will be fully investigated,” Murray said.
He added that the investigation will be reviewed by the federal monitoring team supervising the city’s consent decree.
Seattle has been under a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department that resolved allegations of unconstitutional policing. Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and federal court oversight of the city’s police department after a Justice investigation found that in previous cases Seattle officers used excessive force.
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