A Washington state judge dismissed a claim surrounding the 2017 death of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant mother of four who was fatally shot seven times and killed by Seattle police. The incident took place after a call was made to the police to investigate a burglary.
The claim against officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson was dismissed with prejudice by a King County Superior Court Judge, Julie Spector on Jan. 4th. This means that the case cannot be refiled but may be appealed to a higher court. Reports state that Karen Koehler, the family’s attorney, will appeal the ruling.
Lyles was murdered on June 18, 2017 by the officers at her Northeast Seattle apartment. According to McNew and Anderson, they acted in self-defense as the mother reportedly came after the two officers with a knife. Lyles, unfortunately, died at the scene.
Questions were raised about why the officers did not use nonlethal force on Lyles instead of shooting her, since she weighed less than 100 pounds and had a mental illness.
Based on transcripts of interviews, as Lyles approached them, McNew asked Anderson to use a taser on her. That could not happen because Anderson left the taser in his locker. For the two men, shooting her was the only option. The Seattle Times reports that they both shot her.
Sadly three of Lyles’ children were in the apartment during the shooting. The transcript states that one of her children rested his head against his mother, after crawling into the room after the shooting.
Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister, said there was no reason for Lyles to be shot in front of her babies. Williams also noted that her sister’s mental health issues were not addressed.
A Seattle police review board still found the shooting justified despite allegations that the shooting were racially motivated. Lyles was African-American, and both McNew and Anderson are white.
The lawsuit filed by the Lyles’ family against the city still stands. The family made a claim that Lyles’ civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated by the Seattle police. The officers’ attorneys maintain that they acted in self-defense.
According to the Washington Post, there were 987 people who were shot and killed by police in 2017. Lyles was one of the two black women with a mental illness shot and killed.