Seattle police have released the dashboard audio from the June 18 incident that killed Charleena Lyles. Authorities responded Sunday morning to a call from Lyles, 30, who was reporting an attempted burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment. While it's typical for one officer to show up in a similar circumstance, two people came to her residence because there was a previous matter involving Lyles.
Following what seemed like a cordial exchange, the two officers mentioned previous calls to Lyles's home, including a June 5 incident described as a “physical domestic disturbance.” “She let them in, then she started talking all crazy about how the officers weren’t gonna leave,” one of the officers can be heard saying. That comment led the other officer to ask his partner if there is a “mental precaution on her,” a reference to Lyles's mental health issues.
“Wait, is this the one with, like, the three kids?” one officer asks, alluding to the two boys and one girl, ages 11, 4 and 1. “Yeah,” the other officer responds. “Yeah, so this gal is the one who was making all the [inaudible] statements about how her and her daughter were gonna turn into wolves.” After Lyles let them into her home for further questioning, the officers are heard yelling “Get back!” The Seattle Times is reporting that Charleena was holding scissors when she threatened the officers. They opened fire, killing her in front of her children.
Lyles's family members revealed that she was several months pregnant, struggling with mental health issues over the past year, and concerned that the authorities would take her children, one of whom reportedly has Down syndrome. While the officers maintain that they feared for their safety, Lyles’ sister Monika Williams wonders why they couldn't have used an alternative approach. “Why couldn’t they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” Williams asked.
To listen to the audio, which contains several redactions, click here.