Police Shooting of Pregnant Black Woman Justified by Seattle Jurors

·2 min read
Screenshot:  NBC News (Fair Use)
Screenshot: NBC News (Fair Use)

Six King County coroner’s inquest jurors determined the shooting and killing of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman, by two Seattle officers was justified, according to The Associated Press. The findings were unsettling to Lyle’s family, however, the final decision to press charges must be made by the King County prosecutor.

Lyles, mother of three, was shot seven times by Seattle police officers after they responded to a disturbance call to her home in 2017. Lyles called the police to report a burglary. When officers arrived, police say Lyles pulled a knife and tried to attack one of them and also appeared mentally ill. That’s when they drew their guns and opened fire.

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The jury found officers Jason Anderson and Steve McNew were justified in their use of fatal force.

More from AP News:

The jury found that even if the officers had a Taser, it would not have been an effective or appropriate option as she advanced on them in the close confines of the apartment, The Seattle Times reported.

Her crying baby crawled over and climbed on top of her as she died, and a boy came out of a bedroom and said, in tears, “You shot my mother,” the officers recalled in emotional testimony.

Lyles was 15 weeks pregnant.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg issued a statement saying he would review the evidence presented at the inquest as well as the findings in deciding whether to press charges against the officers.

Last year, Lyles’ family settled in a civil lawsuit against the officers and the Seattle Police Department for $3.5 million.

This inquest was reportedly delayed for years because of revisions to the coroner’s inquest process and also included six days of testimony. The inquest jury can determine if the officers violated any policies or criminal laws but prosecutor Satterberg will have the final say so.

Keep in mind, there was a police deadly force law in 2017 that required finding actual malice in the actions of an officer. However, that was changed in 2018 with Initiative 940 when prosecutors decided it was not possible to meet that criteria and charge an officer with murder.