A pregnant black woman was fatally shot by Seattle police on Sunday after they responded to a burglary call she reportedly made.
Officers fired their weapons at Charlenna Lyles (above) in front of her children after seeing the 30-year-old holding a knife in the apartment of a low-income housing complex in Magnuson Park.
Lyles’ sister, Monika Williams, told local press the mother of four (who was pregnant with her fifth child) suffers from untreated "mental health issues" and is not a big enough physical threat to warrant gunfire.
"The officers need to pay for what they did. Even if my sister had a knife in her hand, she weighs like nothing, even if she’s soaking wet. There’s no way you could’ve taken a taser and taken her down? There’s no way you could’ve taken a baton and knocked the knife out of her hand?"
The Seattle Police Department has placed the two officers, both white, on administrative leave while their use of deadly force is fully investigated.
Williams said Lyles was arrested earlier in June for obstruction and harassment because she would not "let go of her baby" in front of officers until Williams arrived. Lyles was allegedly holding scissors in her hand at the time, Williams told KOMO:
Monika Williams talks about her sister’s arrest from earlier this month. She was trying to get help for some mental health issues. #komonews pic.twitter.com/8J0sfWNTcH
— Steve McCarron KOMO (@SteveTVNews) June 18, 2017
Lyles’ neighbor Lhora Murray said police left two of the victim’s children, a 10-year-old and a toddler with down syndrome, with her. "They shot my mom," the 10-year-old reportedly said.
Seattle Police officers cradling two children, one more in car, outside of apartments in Magnuson Park where shooting occurred Sunday pic.twitter.com/u6ud1ODRdb
— Bettina Hansen (@bettinahansen) June 18, 2017
In addition to the police’s investigation, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is launching his own probe into the devastating incident. He said in a statement:
"My thoughts are with the many people impacted, including the three children and the responding officers. 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. The quality and integrity of the investigation will be reviewed by the federal monitoring team supervising our consent decree. We will work collectively with our consent decree partners and the Community Police Commission to ensure transparency throughout this process and offer support where needed."
Hopefully, justice is served. Our heart goes out to Lyles’ family, especially her motherless children.