Say her name.
A recently released autopsy shows that Seattle police shot Charleena Lyles, a 14 to 15 weeks pregnant woman, seven times before she died.
According to the Seattle Times, an autopsy that was publicly released publicly by Lyles’ father shows three of the gunshots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew hit Lyles in the front of the torso and chest. Three others struck her in the back of her arm and one grazed the side of her ribs.
“I thought I was at the low point of being sad, but the sadness just got worse,” Charles Lyles stated via his attorney, Karen Koehler. “I lost my daughter and my next grandson. I just don’t have the words.”
Sadly, the report also showed that several shots cut through her uterus and her fetus.
“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 said.
Lyles leaves behind three children: Two boys and a girl, ages 11, 4 and 1.
Her father also released his daughter’s toxology report that showed that she had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of her death. He hoped by doing so, they could help clear up certain misconceptions the public had about his child.
“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 newspaper.
She added, “The police narrative is that she had a knife and they were justified in shooting her dead. 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.”
As we previously reported, Lyles had a history of suffering from mental illness. On June 18, the night she was killed, Lyles called police claiming that someone was trying to break into her home. During their visit, detectives claimed Lyles pulled out a knife, which prompted officers to fatally shoot her.
At the scene of her death earlier this summer, emotional family members told the media that the police didn’t have to shoot their loved one, noting her small frame. They also stressed that race played a factor in her death given that the officers involved were both white.
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” said Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister. “There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies. The Seattle police shot the wrong one today.”
Prior to her death, the Times reported that 38 Seattle officers responded to 23 calls for help involving Lyles, many of which involved an abusive ex-boyfriend.
“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 stressed.
Since the release of the autopsy, Seattle police have declined to comment. Currently, police are investigating the shooting.
Lyles’ tragic death sadly continues to remind us that police brutality affects Black women too.