Fatal shooting of African-American woman by white officers in Seattle prompts community outrage

The reaction, locally and nationally, to Charleena Lyle’s death Sunday was notable for its breadth and depth, as individuals and activists across the spectrum of social-justice and mental-health groups demanded answers to the killing of the 30-year-old mother of four.

The fatal shooting of an African-American woman in front of her children after she called police for help was met with widespread outrage and condemnation Monday, even as people struggled to learn more about the events that led to Charleena Lyles’ death at the hands of two white Seattle police officers.

The reaction, locally and nationally, was notable for its breadth and depth, as individuals and activists across the spectrum of social-justice and mental-health groups demanded answers to the killing of the 30-year-old mother of four.

“This young woman was shot down like a dog,’’ said KL Shannon, a community organizer who chairs the Seattle King County NAACP’s police-accountability efforts. “The question is why? They could have Tased her. She was 75 pounds. They could have overpowered her.”

Shannon said reports that police knew of Lyle’s struggles with mental illness raised additional questions about the police response after Lyle called them to report a suspected burglary at her apartment in Magnuson Park. The family also said she was pregnant.

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“If you know in advance that the individual you’re dealing with has mental-health issues, why didn’t you bring someone with you who knows how to deal with that?” she asked.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner of Seattle, executive director of MomsRising, a national, grass-roots political-action group, called the shooting “an unacceptable tragedy.”

“There is no question that the Seattle Police Department could have and should have used de-escalation tactics instead of shooting first and asking questions later,’’ she said in a prepared…

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