Every day, I take the A Line to the Tukwila light rail station from my home, then I walk from the station to work at an elementary school. On my walk, I pass new buildings — the type that you see in Seattle’s bougie areas — overpriced apartments, justice centers, and other expensive urban infrastructures typically protected by over-policing and built-over, bulldozed Black, Brown, and immigrant-owned shops and community spaces.
Content Warning: This article contains discussions of police killings, violence, mental health crises, and suicide.
Inquest hearings continue through July 6 around the death of 30-year-old Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three who was shot seven times by Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers following a disturbance call to her home in 2017. Thus far, the hearings have provided insights into the timeline of the day’s events, actions of officers, firefighters, and paramedics at the scene, attempts to revive Lyles, and traumatic impacts on Lyles’ children.
The killings of John T. Williams, Jesse Sarey, Giovonn Joseph-McDade, and Jacqueline Salyers by police devastated Seattle-area communities. Now, their families honor and preserve their memories with public memorials. Williams’ Honor Totem Pole towers above a throng of tourists at Seattle Center. The patch of grass where Joseph-McDade took his last breath now hosts a bench — a resting place for a grieving mother. In Tacoma, a cross overlooking a freeway brings together an Indigenous community in remembering Salyers, a mother of four who was pregnant at the time she was shot and killed by a Tacoma policeman. And at the CID’s Wing Luke Museum, a memorial quilt bears the name “Jesse.” Sarey’s family, and others who grieve the lives of their loved ones killed by police, hold on to the hope of healing and a fight for justice so that police who kill will be held accountable.
(This article originally appeared on Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)
The Emerald is a blueprint to showing, sharing, and bridging Black and Brown folks through the power of storytelling. The Emerald is what we should be truly striving for as a community. Don’t just talk about it. Create a way to practice and be about us coming together. The Emerald is setting the example. Join me in supporting the Emerald as a recurring donor during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!
—Sharon Nyree Williams, Artist, Orator, & Rainmaker
A preliminary report released by the Seattle Police Monitor shows that Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers committed violence against Black people in 2021 at a disproportionate rate, consistent with previous years. The report also suggests a small decline in minor uses of force by police officers and an increase in higher severity uses of force.
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
After a grueling 13-hour mediation on the night of Monday, Nov. 29, the family of Charleena Lyles reached a $3.5 million settlement with the City of Seattle and two Seattle police officers, ending a four-year-long wrongful death lawsuit that began when the officers shot and killed Lyles in her Magnuson Park home in June 2017.
“This has been a horrible case. Shameful,” said Karen Koehler, the lead attorney representing Lyles’ family, during a press conference at the Stritmatter law firm on Tuesday afternoon. On a television behind her, Lyles’ eldest daughter — watching from her aunt’s house in California, seated in front of a Christmas tree — leaned off-screen to cry.
The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.
Kel Murphy spent most of his time in the days following his arrest last November trying to get ahold of the insulin he needs to survive. Even though he was in the hospital for one of those days — he had fallen into a coma following his arrest — and there was, in theory, insulin available for him, he had no way of proving that he needed it. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers who had arrested him had confiscated all of his items, including his insulin, his insulin delivery pen, his continuous blood glucose monitor receiver, his insurance card, his medical card, his two main payment cards, his driver’s license, his glasses, and several other items, including additional medical equipment. They were sitting somewhere in the SPD’s Evidence Unit while Murphy was sitting in a hospital bed trying desperately to coordinate proper medical care.
“Figuring out how to get fast-acting insulin was both costly and a time-intensive task without having access to my property. … Enforcement delivered me to the hospital without my medical explanation card or my insulin pens,” Murphy said, reading an official statement to the Emerald in an interview on July 26, 2021. “Those items were deliberately stowed [by me] in the pockets of my pants I was wearing when I was accosted and were taken off my person before transporting me.”
On June 1, 2020, people took to the streets of Seattle to protest the murder of George Floyd and to renew calls for racial justice. These mass protests, which would continue throughout 2020 and into early 2021 in varying forms, had begun just a few days before, on May 29, following Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020.
These protests were met with a heavily armed police response that included Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers using blast balls, tear gas, pepper spray, full-body takedowns, arrests, and more against protestors in numerous instances that have been documented in hundreds of videos, photographs, and audio recordings shared across several different social media platforms and reported on by different media outlets.
In response to the thousands of complaints filed against SPD officers, the City of Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) created a special dashboard to keep track of the status of demonstration-related complaints. It has been releasing its decisions in batches since late 2020. Many of these complaints allege SPD officers used excessive force against protestors and violated multiple policies in the SPD manual. Thus far, few of the OPA’s decisions in these cases have resulted in serious sustained allegations against officers.
South King County community members protested against police violence this past Saturday, April 24. Flanked by a car brigade and bike patrol, dozens of demonstrators marched in the rain along South Grady Way from Southcenter Mall in Tukwila to Renton City Hall, where they held a rally.
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We also post the Morning Update Show here on theEmerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Tuesday, April 13
We Can’t Breathe! | Ongoing Police Violence across America | Derek Chauvin Trial | Daunte Wright | No Justice, No Peace