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My great sorrow
I attended the City Council Town Hall for Charleena Lyles. Brutally losing a valued community member is a moment for expressing emotions we prefer not to hear — outrage, screaming pain and a need to get clear what we as a community will and will not allow.
My great sorrow is that we white folks have lost compassion and empathy. Entrenched in our own worldview, we have lost our ability to think and feel what it might mean to be afraid of people who look like us.
It is one thing to know the caricature of white folks being afraid to walk down the street next to young black men. It is quite another for black families to have to worry every time members of the family — especially the men — leave the house.
In the last decade, we have suffered several deaths of people of color at the hands of white police officers. Until and unless we as a whole community witness these actions, until we recognize we are all members of this community we call Seattle, we will all be at risk of tarnishing our humanity and narrowing our possibilities for growth and joy.
Victoria Kaplan, Seattle


Duty, bravery
I’m a former police officer and law-enforcement trainer. Now I work with stressed cops.
Imagine going into Charleena Lyles’ apartment knowing what the officers knew: mental illness, violence, close quarters, children. You can’t run. It’s your duty.
Close your eyes, take a breath, it’s you. You want to save lives, not take, but you had to take.
Screaming, supposed public condemnation, hatred from serial haters. The officers should be praised, despite a death, because that was brave beyond measure.
Brian Post, Mountlake Terrace


We failed her

I must commend The Seattle Times for your coverage of the killing of Charleena Lyles.
The many facets of the incident and the facts concerning the officers and Ms. Lyles have deepened my sense of loss and confusion. The mental-health system failed her, social services failed her, her upbringing failed her, the officers sent to her door failed her. And we all, our society, failed her.
I try to picture if she were white and the two officers black, how the shooting would be viewed and how the media would cover it. I pray the police investigation can be fair, and fairly received.
Cathie Whitesides, Seattle