Lyles called police on Sunday, reportedly asking them to investigate a robbery.
Lyles’ brother, Michael Taylor, spoke to them: “This is my family and we’re going to be as one”, said Taylor. “You call the police?“. Seattle police have said officers. Typically, the Seattle Police Department would only dispatch one officer to respond to a burglary report, but a recent police encounter with Lyles had prompted a second officer to respond, Jamieson said. A child’s cry is heard in the background. There is then a break in the recording. The woman can be heard telling the officers the door was unlocked. Then the recording cuts to the officers saying “get back”, followed by gunshots. But family members, who say that Lyles had been struggling over the past year in particular with some kind of mental health trouble, maintain that deadly force wasn’t necessary.
“Wait, is this the one with, like, the three kids?” one officer asks, alluding to the two boys and one girl, ages 11, 4 and 1. As part of a federal consent decree, the Seattle Police Department has emphasized training in “crisis intervention“, which stresses techniques for lowering the tension when encountering people with mental illness or other cognitive problems. They also questioned the officers’ decision not to use a Taser gun or other non-lethal options, the Seattle Times reported Monday. Detective Mark Jamieson that officers Lyles’s call flagged “hazard information” in their system because of a previous incident with Lyles, prompting a two-officer response. “And they destroyed the four lives of her children”. It’s hard to make out what Lyles says before shots are fired.
Neighbor Lhora Murray, 42, told the Stranger that police left two of Lyles’s children, a 10-year-old and the toddler with down syndrome, with her.
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her?”
Family members told the Seattle Times that they believe Lyles’ race – she is black – was a factor in her death.
Three children who were inside the apartment at the time were not injured and had been taken into protective custody.
The shootings are being reviewed and King’s County Prosecutor’s Office will also review the incident and likely call for a coroner’s inquest.
Jamieson said that at some point after Lyles armed herself with a knife both officers “had to fire their service weapons”. Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and federal court oversight of the city’s police department after a Justice investigation found Seattle officers routinely used excessive force.
The pastor says he’s frustrated with police killing young black people across the country.