Officer Sean Whitcomb played the video game “Destiny,” a first-person shooter-style game, while expressing sorrow about how the Charleena Lyles shooting unfolded, and pointed to problems he perceived in the mental-health system and social safety net.
A video showing Seattle police Officer Sean Whitcomb talking about the fatal police shooting of Charleena Lyles — while he was playing a video game — has been removed from the department’s Twitch and YouTube accounts.
The video, first posted Thursday, was part of a weekly outreach effort by the Seattle Police Department called “Fuzzfeed206,” in which as many as three department public-information officers play the multiplayer, first-person shooter game “Destiny” and talk about police-related issues.
The episode garnered some criticism on social media after it was posted, but Whitcomb declined to comment Friday about the video or why it was removed.
Whitcomb told the website GeekWire that in wake of the criticism he was ending the use of Twitch for community outreach.
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“We’re certainly listening and hearing what people have said on other social platforms about this feed,” Whitcomb told GeekWire. “So that is one reason why we are suspending it. Any good that can come of this would be neutralized by any additional pain it might cause.”
Whitcomb also told GeekWire that he was not directed by Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole or Mayor Ed Murray’s office to end outreach with Twitch.
During the nearly 30-minute video that was removed, Whitcomb did not engage in any video-game violence.
He began the stream by saying the episode was going to be “on the heavier side.” He then went on to talk about the fatal police shooting of Charleena Lyles on Sunday morning, saying the “outcome” was “totally, totally unacceptable,” criticizing the mental-health system.
Sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the video was removed from the department’s YouTube and Twitch accounts. Seattle police launched “Fuzzfeed206” in November 2016.
“There seems to have been, I think, critical gaps,” Whitcomb said in the video, “that might have, had they been dealt with, led to a different outcome.” Whitcomb said the mental-health system “most everyone would agree is woefully underfunded.”
Whitcomb also discussed what has been publicly released about the shooting and the steps the department’s internal investigation will take.
“It still feels very raw,” he said. “I know the officers who are involved are deeply impacted, and our hearts go out to Charleena Lyles’ family and certainly, most of all, her children. This outcome is totally, totally unacceptable.”
Whitcomb went on to talk more about Lyles and the two Seattle police officers who opened fire.
“So the question is, where could Charleena Lyles have received more assistance, more help and not be in a position where our officers are frantically calling for help and indicating that we have a woman armed with two knives, knowing full well there are little kids in the apartment?”
Lyles, Whitcomb said, was struggling with raising children and had a history of abuse and recent criminal charges, along with her own mental-health issues. Documents and court records indicate Lyles was receiving counseling and was on the radar of many agencies, including the state Division of Health and Human Services to Seattle mental-health court.
The video received backlash on social media. Christine Sumpton, who is identified as Seattle resident in her profile, tweeted, “The community is in devastating pain, and this is how you address the killing of #CharleenaLyles ??!”
Others on social media also criticized the video.
In past videos, Whitcomb and others have discussed how Seattle police investigate officer-involved shootings, graffiti removal and other law-enforcement topics.