Pregnant mother killed by Seattle cops was shot 7 times
A pregnant mother killed by Seattle police officers earlier this year was shot seven times, according to an autopsy report.
It was also revealed that Charleena Lyles was 14 to 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.
Three of the shots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew hit Lyles in the front of the torso and chest, three struck her in the back of her arm and one struck the side of her ribs.
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"Not one shot should have been fired, let alone seven," lawyer Karen Koehler told the Post-Intelligencer.
At least one of the shots struck her uterus, taking the life of the unborn boy. It was to be her fifth child.
"I know the baby is not considered a baby until it is viable under our rules of law, but as a human and a mother, it's so upsetting,” Koehler told the Seattle Times.
"Did they shoot her as she fell to the ground? Was she running away?” cousin Katrina Johnson told the Guardian on Wednesday. "How did she get shot in the back? I still don’t know that and understand that, but any which way, it was excessive force. Seven times for her little pregnant 100-pound self was out of control."
The autopsy report also notes that Lyles did not have drugs or alcohol in her system during the confrontation at her Seattle apartment. The officers fired when Lyles lunged at one of them with one or two knives, according to police.
"If you have been reading the dialogue you might have assumed she was a poor, single black woman with multiple children who must have been on drugs, and that is a false assumption and a false narrative," Koehler told the Seattle Times.
Some family members, though, were not pleased that the autopsy report was released by Koehler without their consent. Koehler is representing Charles Lyles, Charleena's father.
"In so doing, she placed Charleena's children in a position of possibly having to hear about details of their mother’s killing on the news or at school without any preparation," relatives said in a statement.
The 30-year-old Lyles battled mental health issues and had many interactions with local police, according to the Seattle Times. Just two weeks before she was fatally shot, she threatened cops with shears after they were called on a domestic violence complaint, according to the newspaper.
An officer wrote that Lyles "stated that she should have just stabbed me when she had the chance, but then said she could tell I had a good heart, and that it’s unfortunate they 'always send the good ones,'" according to the newspaper. That incident took place on June 5.
On the day she was killed, authorities say Lyles ignored orders by the two officers. "Do it! Do it ... Are you ready? mother f------” she said, according to court documents obtained by the Seattle Times. Lyles had called cops to report a break-in.
"The police narrative is that she had a knife and they were justified in shooting her dead,” Koehler told the newspaper. "They don't want to talk about the fact that they knew she had recent mental-health issues but chose to go in without any game plan."
Earlier this month, Lyles' family filed a claim against the city, a first step toward filing a lawsuit.
With News Wire Services