Candidates for Seattle mayor are reacting to the fatal shooting by police of Charleena Lyles, calling it “deeply unjust,” “devastating” and “a tragedy on many levels.”
Candidates for Seattle mayor are reacting to the fatal shooting Sunday by police officers of a 30-year-old woman who had reported an attempted burglary at her home.
“My heart weighs heavy. The sanctity of human life must be at the forefront of all things,” Bob Hasegawa, a state senator, posted on Facebook.
Two Seattle Police Department officers killed Charleena Lyles in her Magnuson Park apartment after responding to her call.
There were children in the home at the time of the incident, police said, and family members said Lyles had mental-health issues and was several months pregnant.
At some point, police said, she displayed a knife and the officers shot and killed her.
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Mayoral candidates Hasegawa and Nikkita Oliver took part in a vigil Sunday night outside the apartment complex where the shooting occurred. Former State Rep. Jessyn Farrell also attended, a campaign spokeswoman said.
And a number of candidates took to social media. Oliver, an educator and attorney, wrote on Twitter: “Tonight I am honoring the life of #CharleenaLyles and reflecting on her deeply unjust death.”
Lyles’ death was “a tragedy on many levels,” Farrell said in a Facebook post. “Obviously, our most immediate concern is for her three children, who must receive all the care and love our community can offer,” she wrote.
“As with any officer-involved shooting, there must be a full and fair inquiry into the circumstances and the need for deadly force. This is why we must continue pursuing transparency and reforms in SPD, so that a community shaken by loss can be assured their concerns are being addressed, and we can begin to rebuild trust between our police force and our citizens.”
Farrell added, “Finally, we must review cases like this through the lens of a mental-health system that is struggling to meet the needs of people suffering in our community. Once the facts are reviewed, my hope is that we can address gaps in our mental-health system with the same seriousness we address an SPD response.”
Cary Moon, an urban planner, also posted a message to Facebook.
The hashtag #SayHerName is used widely on social media to raise awareness about black female victims of police brutality. Lyles was black.
Mike McGinn, a former Seattle mayor trying to get his old job back, sent a series of tweets Monday morning.
“The death of Charleena Lyles is devastating. Sadly, as a city, we have been here before — and we will be again without significant change,” he wrote.
“Much has to change — officer training, Washington law and accountability procedures. The consent decree can’t make all of these changes.”
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The police department was placed under a federal consent decree in 2012, after a Department of Justice investigation found officers were routinely engaging in excessive use of force.
McGinn added, “We cannot ignore that racism is real. It is a deeply uncomfortable topic for many, but it is not something we can sweep aside. Which means that this can’t be solved by any one policy change or consent decree alone. This requires sustained engagement by all of us.”
He posted a longer statement on his campaign website.
Also Monday morning, Jenny Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, emailed a statement to news media.
“My heart breaks for Charleena Lyles and her family and loved ones. Her children must be held close,” Durkan said in the statement. “While it can never bring Charleena Lyles back, we will never have accountability or avoid tragedy if we do not have honest and open investigations.”
Durkan said Lyles’ family and the community “deserve to know whether this tragedy could have been avoided.”
“The bottom line is we need to do better. We need more services and support for people with mental-health problems and victims of domestic violence,” she said, adding, “No call for help should be answered by death.”
There are 21 mayoral candidates on August’s primary-election ballot.