Hundreds rally & march demanding justice for Seattle woman killed by police
SEATTLE - A police shooting is being denounced as murder by family members of Charleena Lyles during a vigil on Tuesday night. At the end of the ceremony, anger swept through the crowd of mourners and stirred hundreds to march into the streets. That brought traffic to a standstill until the group finally dispersed.
A short time later, Seattle Police released the names of the two officers involved the shooting death of Lyles.
According to police, Officer Steven McNew, and Officer Jason Anderson had responded to a reported burglary at Lyles' apartment on Sunday. They said at some point during the conversation, she turned on them and threatened the officers with knives.
In the midst of the confrontation, one officer asked the other about using a Taser.
"Then it turns out that they didn't actually have a Taser, so they shot and killed a pregnant woman in front of her children," said attorney James Bible, who is now representing Lyles' family.
Officer McNew was hired by the department in 2008, Officer Anderson was hired in 2015. SPD said both officers had crisis intervention training. They're now on paid administrative leave.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole have promised a thorough investigation into Lyles' death. But that has done little to dampen some of the raw emotion within the Magnuson Park Community.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Tuesday night, demanding justice for Lyles. It started with a vigil outside the apartment where the mother of four was killed.
"How do you come to this building and kill the mother of my kids? And on Father's day," said one man who addressed the crowd along with other family members.
A separate march, which included some teachers, also joined the vigil. The teachers said some of Lyles' children attend Seattle Public Schools and they wanted to show their support for the family.
"Mainly the family is in shock. We see it all the time on TV, but once it actually happens to you, you really don't know how to react," said Lyles' cousin, Rayshunda Guiden. "You almost don't know how to feel."
Many of the demonstrators said they believe police had other options, besides shooting Lyles.
"I just want justice for my cousin, you know," said Kenjenai Doucet. "They are portraying her in the news with illness, like way worse than it actually was, so I just want justice for my cousin. I think that's what my family wants too."
Following the vigil, the group marched from Magnuson Park to the University District. At one point the large crowd blocked part of Montlake Boulevard outside Alaska Airlines Arena.
Crowds chanted Charleena's name and said that she called for help then police shot her.
Seattle Police then let a friend of Lyle's family use a cruiser's PA system to help disperse the crowd. They also thanked Seattle Police for letting them voice their frustration.
The demonstrators left peacefully, and headed back to Magnuson Park.
Family members said Lyles was suffering some mental health issues recently, but don't think that's a reason for police to shoot her when other options were available. The family is demanding action, and now Councilmember Lisa Herbold has agreed to hold a public hearing about this deadly confrontation with police. A date has not yet been set, but Herbold expects to host the forum as part of her role in chairing the committee that investigates civil rights.