Charleena Lyles was fatally shot by two Seattle police officers on Sunday morning. Her family says the death could have been avoided.
One officer says, “tase her,” and the other responds, “I don’t have a Taser.” Then, gunshots — and 30-year-old Charleena Lyles was dead.
The Seattle Police Department released a transcript of the audio of the encounter between Charleena Lyles, a pregnant black woman who her family and court records say was struggling with mental-health issues, and two unidentified white officers Sunday at Magnuson Park. Police say Lyles displayed a knife, but Lyles’ family says her death could have been avoided.
Lyles said, “Get ready, mother——-” to the two officers, according to the transcript released Monday night. One officer called for “fast back-up” and said Lyles had two knives. Then he told the other officer to “tase” Lyles — and the officer replied that he didn’t have a Taser. After telling Lyles to “get back” several times, they fired, killing her.
About 15 seconds elapsed from the officers’ first verbal warning to the hail of gunfire.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said Monday that neither officer was armed with a Taser. SPD officers are given the option of carrying a Taser, pepper spray or a baton as a less-than-lethal option.
“The message I’m trying to get out right now is that this is a horrible tragedy all around,” O’Toole said. “The community is distraught. The family is distraught. The officers are distraught.”
O’Toole promised the department’s investigation into the shooting would be transparent and “that we’ll go where the truth takes us.”
Lyles’ brother said on Monday that he remembered his sister as a fun-loving, goofy sibling who loved to dance, loved her kids and was excited to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Read the entire Seattle Police Department transcript below.