by Vee Hua 華婷婷
Last Updated on July 7, 2022, 11:48 am.
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.
Continue reading Summary of Inquest Hearings into the SPD Shooting of Charleena Lyles
by Dr. Howard Gale
The Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) began meeting more than nine years ago in March of 2013. This commission was created following the tragic murder of John T. Williams by the SPD in 2010. As we will see below, the number of SPD killings has actually increased by 38% during the nine years after the CPC started meeting when compared to the nine years prior. The situation is even direr when it comes to the SPD killing of people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. This increase suggests that the CPC’s work has done nothing to curtail the worst consequence of police violence and abuse.
Continue reading OPINION: A Simple Change Could Save Lives. Our Police Reform System Ignores It.
by Douglas Wagoner and Nia Franco
The Seattle Police Department has a history of violent responses to people in mental health crises that result in minimal to no discipline for the offending officer. Often, following these shooting deaths, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) will recommend changes to policies and training. While these changes are necessary, they are meaningless if officers are not held accountable for violating policies and their training.
Continue reading OPINION: Mental Health Crisis Should Not Be a Death Sentence
by Tiffany Hearsey
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.
Continue reading Families of Those Killed by Police Honor Their Memories
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(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.
Continue reading Family of Charleena Lyles Reaches Settlement With City of Seattle for 2017 Shooting
Four years after she was killed by police, her family still seeks answers.
by Katrina Johnson, Jesse Hagopian, and Michael Bennett
The broadest protests in U.S. history occurred last spring and summer in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. While this uprising around the country — in all 50 states, in rural and urban areas — was certainly about those widely publicized horrific murders at the hands of police, masses of people rose up around the country in large part because they had seen similar police violence in their own communities — including here in Seattle.
Four years ago, Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old Black pregnant mother of four, was fatally shot by two white Seattle police officers.
Continue reading OPINION — Say Her Name: Charleena Lyles
by Bunthay Cheam
Over 30 photographs of those killed by police sat on steps in the foreground of a press conference organized by the family of Jesse Sarey, a Khmer American man shot and killed by Auburn police officer Jeff Nelson in 2019. The press conference took place on the front steps of the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington.
“Since 2018, there’s been 107 names added to the list that police have killed; Jeff Nelson added Jesse to that list so he needs to be held accountable,” said Kelli Saeteurn, a family member of Sarey.
Continue reading Trial of Auburn Officer Delayed, but Family of Jesse Sarey Continues Fighting
by Will James, Kari Plog, and Lilly Ana Fowler
(This article was previously published by KNKX and has been reprinted with permission.)
Three Tacoma police officers have been charged with felonies in the March, 2020, killing of Manuel Ellis, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday — after multiple investigations into a case that has set off protests and resulted in changes in statewide police accountability laws.
Ferguson charged Officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins with second-degree murder and Officer Timothy Rankine with first-degree manslaughter.
Continue reading Three Tacoma Police Officers Charged in the Killing of Manuel Ellis
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
Citing concerns from community members and police officers about the dangers of police traffic stops, Seattle Inspector General Lisa Judge sent a letter to Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Tuesday asking him to start phasing out traffic stops for “civil and non-dangerous violations” — violations that, unlike DUI or reckless driving, do not endanger the public.
Continue reading Police Accountability Leader Asks SPD to Phase Out Routine Traffic Stops
by Guy Oron
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.
Continue reading Families and Community Members Call for Justice for People Killed by Police