NEWS GLEAMS: Charleena Lyles Inquest Hearings Continue, SPL Reduces Hours, & More

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

Hearings continue this week and next around the 2017 death of Charleena Lyles and the Jan. 6 Insurrection. Yesterday, we heard jarring testimonies and revelations from both. Stay tuned for more in-depth South Seattle Emerald coverage of the Charleena Lyles case tomorrow, but in the meantime, we want to hear what you think about the Jan. 6 hearings and how it affects South End communities.

In other news, the Seattle Department of Transportation is adding bus-only lanes on Rainier Avenue South and requests your feedback on transit improvements; Seattle Public Libraries will be limiting their hours for the summer, and Artist Trust is offering emergency funds for artists.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Portrait of Charleena Lyles, along with other art, decorates the outside of the abandoned Seattle Police East Precinct in June 2020. Photo is attributed to Derek Simeone (under a Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0 license).

Charleena Lyles Inquest Hearings Continue

Inquest hearings continue around the 2017 death of Charleena Lyles, a mother of four who was shot seven times by Seattle Police Department officers following a disturbance call to her home. The hearings have been taking place near-daily since June 26 and will end July 6, with a break for July 4.

Thus far, the hearings have provided insights into a timeline of events, actions of officers and paramedics at the scene, attempts to perform CPR on Lyles, and traumatic impacts on Lyles’ four children. One unexpected occurrence included the SWAT team being deployed to the site of the hearings on June 27, due to safety concerns expressed by the officer who had shot her.

As reported by The Seattle Times, “Witnesses said some family members made comments to the officer, including calling him a ‘coward’ and a ‘pussy.’ His inquest attorney, Ted Buck, said McNew was concerned about what was said and called his sergeant. Two days later, two members of the Police Department’s SWAT team responded ‘for purposes of familiarizing themselves with the location in the event SPD may be called to respond.’”

Tomorrow, we will publish some key findings from each of the Charleena Lyles hearings. Please check back on for the latest updates on the story, or tune in yourself, in-person or via Zoom.

Emergency Session Called for Jan. 6 Hearings

The House Jan. 6 committee announced an emergency sixth hearing on Tuesday, June 28, which centered around testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Under oath, Hutchinson described herself as “a staffer that worked to always represent the administration to the best of my ability – to showcase the good things [Trump] had done for the country.”

Nonetheless, she shared a number of intimate details into the events of the day, particularly around former President Donald Trump’s actions and whereabouts in the hours before Trump controversially called for the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Hutchinson testified that Trump called for the removal of magnetometers — colloquially known as metal detectors, or mags — so that his armed supporters could enter the rally site near the White House with their weapons. Trump allegedly stated, “I don’t [fucking] care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the [fucking] mags away.”

According to Hutchinson, Trump also tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential limousine when his security detail refused to drive him to the Capitol to join the insurrectionists. Some of the testimony may be contested, according to The New York Times.

Hutchinson’s entire testimony can be viewed on YouTube. The South Seattle Emerald wants to hear your thoughts on the Jan. 6 hearings.

Susan Altshuler, a student at South Seattle College, spends Sunday afternoons doing homework at The Seattle Public Library. Columbia City residents included a library in their first public building, a Town Hall built by private subscription in 1891. Today’s library is surrounded by gently sloping lawns and clusters of huge maple trees. (Photo: Hazel Choi)

Seattle Public Library Temporarily Reduces Hours, Adds Thursday Hours to Central Library

Beginning July 5 and in response to ongoing staffing shortages related to COVID-19, The Seattle Public Library will temporarily reduce open hours at several locations throughout the summer. Bookmark for up-to-date schedule information. 

Beginning July 7, the Central Library’s nonfiction Book Spiral (Levels 6–9), as well as the Betty Jane Narver Reading Room (Level 10), will add an additional day of service on Thursdays.

For patrons seeking refuge from summer heat, 19 of the Library’s 27 locations have air-conditioning; the list can be found on the Library’s extreme weather shelters webpage.

Photo is attributed to SDOT Photos (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-NC 2.0 license).

SDOT to Add Bus-Only Lanes on Parts of Rainier Avenue South and Seeks Community Feedback

In partnership with King County Metro and due to high transit ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be adding more bus-only lines along Rainier Avenue South. These lanes are restricted to public transportation buses; in heavy traffic, they reduce travel times for people riding transit.

SDOT has built safety improvements on Rainier Avenue South over the past several years as part of the Rainier Avenue South Vision Zero project, with more anticipated. We reported some of these updates in last week’s News Gleams.This project is funded by the Seattle Transit Measure (Proposition 1), passed in November 2020 by 80% of Seattle voters. To learn more about these projects, please visit SDOT’s transit lane webpage and visit the Rainier Avenue South bus-only lane project website.

SDOT Wants Your Feedback on the Future of Transportation in Seattle

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is also preparing a Seattle Transportation Plan, beginning with initial outreach through an online engagement hub where you can take a survey about priorities and share transportation challenges and opportunities that should be addressed in the plan. Take a survey or learn more on the Seattle Transportation Plan Online Engagement Hub.

Artist Trust Offers Grants for Artists Experiencing Career-Threatening Emergencies

Artist Trust Endurance Grants are now available for Washington State artists who have experienced a career-threatening emergency within 6 months of the application opening. The application will open on July 11 and close August 1, with funding allocated in October. To center communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and other emergencies, this program is available to artists who identify as one or more of the following: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and/or Native, LGBTQIA+, with immigrant status, immunocompromised, have or are living with a disability, residing outside King County, and/or are low income.

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