Seattle council to hold public hearing in fatal shooting

Seattle police surround a man who was brandishing a knife in downtown Seattle on March 28. Some people have compared Charleena Lyles’ killing to the March standoff and suggested the man wasn’t shot by officers because he was white. In fact the man

One of the officers called on Lyles to "get back" repeatedly.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a Seattle police spokesman, said Wednesday that officers are trained to focus on "time, distance and shielding" in protecting themselves and others from a threat: "What is my need to intervene at this very moment?"

Officers fired their weapons after yelling "Get back" several times.

When the battery for Officer Jason Anderson's Taser finally died about two weeks before the deadly encounter with Charleena Lyles, he stashed the busted tool inside his locker and failed to have the battery replaced, according to transcripts through the Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation Team on Friday.

One of the Seattle police officers chose to stop charging his Taser after the battery died.

The killing has prompted outrage among many, including Lyles' family, who questioned why the officers couldn't use nonlethal methods to subdue the diminutive 30-year-old and suggested that race played a role. Officials describe her as an unstable person who confronted two officers with kitchen knives and had previous, verifiable run-ins with the law.

A third officer who arrived at the scene began giving first aid to Lyles, Anderson said, adding that he started to help before moving away as his hands were shaking. She was three months pregnant, her family said, and too "tiny" for officers to have felt threatened by her - even if she had a knife.


On June 5, Lyles was arrested and charged with obstruction and harassment after police say she refused officers' orders to drop metal shears. There's no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies.

He said McNew, a Seattle officer since 2008, asked him to stun Lyles.

"Her life wasn't ideal, like none of us are", he said.

Lyles, whom relatives called "Leena", grew up in Seattle and was largely raising two boys and two girls on her own - including a 4-year girl with Down syndrome - but she had a supportive network of siblings, cousins, aunts and others, Williams said.

That doesn't mean the officers shouldn't have entered Lyles' apartment to investigate the burglary, he said.

Some criticized the department for discussing last Sunday's shooting death of Lyles - a pregnant mother of four - while playing the game DESTINY.

Seattle police shared photos of the knives found inside Charleena Lyles' apartment following the shooting.

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