March 4, 2024

Lawsuit against white officers who fatally shot Black pregnant mom tossed

Charleena Lyles
SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 20: Flowers, photos, and other items are placed at a memorial for Charleena Lyles at the apartment building in which she was killed on June 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. Officers from the Seattle Police Department shot and killed Lyles, a pregnant mother of four, on June 18. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

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.

READ MORE: Seattle police fatally shoot pregnant mother of four Charleena Lyles

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.

READ MORE: Officer who shot pregnant Black woman suspended for not having Taser

Base 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, shooter 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.

READ MORE: Suspect in Houston officer attack had history of mental illness

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.

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