Community wants answers after pregnant black mother is shot by police


The soon-to-be mother-of-four was shot and killed by officers responding to her call, after officers said she displayed a knife upon their arrival to her home, according to The Seattle Times.

During a tense standoff with officers, two of whom had weapons drawn, the woman told police they were "devils and also members of the KKK", a reference to the white-supremacy group, the police report said of the earlier incident. Lyles's sister, Monika Williams, said to The Seattle Times. Police say while they were at her home she brandished a knife before officers opened fire.

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.

Seattle police spokesman detective Mark Jamieson, said two officers were responding to a burglary call at an apartment. The two officers involved, whom police have not named, will be placed on paid administrative leave, Seattle police said.

There were children at the scene while the shooting occurred, " but they were not injured", the department said.

Family members said Lyles was three months pregnant and struggled with mental health issues.

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The small-framed, several-months-pregnant woman had endured mental health issues over the past year, Jones said.

According to her relatives, Lyles anxious that her children were going to be taken away from her. "Get back! Get back!" and then gunfire erupts.

Around 50 people reportedly held a vigil on Sunday evening outside the apartment complex where Lyles was shot, with photographs of Lyles, flowers and candles.

Usually, only one officer would respond to a standard burglary call like this one, Jamieson told reporters.

Authorities added that the pair "were equipped with less lethal force options, per department policy".

Beth Caldwell, a former civil rights attorney in Seattle, weighed in on Sunday's tragedy and highlighted the racial dynamics that likely came into play in Lyles' killing.

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When officers went to the fourth floor, they confronted by Lyles who was allegedly wielding a knife.

The children in the apartment, ages one, four and 11, were not hurt and police are trying to determine if they witnessed the shooting.

Organizations fighting against police brutality of Black people in the United States are raising alarm bells at yet another instance of this recurring kind.

In addition to the police's investigation, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is launching his own probe into the devastating incident. They are questioning the decision to shoot the young mother since she was a diminutive woman who called the police for help. But the DOJ in April touted "initial compliance", with its court-ordered monitor marking a "major milestone" in reforming use of force.

The Seattle Police Department has released the audio recording of the incident saying that "transparency throughout the investigation of deadly force incidents is essential to maintaining public trust". "This will be fully investigated", Murray said.

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