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‘We’re Not Done’: Estate of Charleena Lyles and City of Seattle Reach Settlement Four Years After Pregnant Mother Who Called 911 for Help Was Fatally Shot by Police

The family of Charleena Lyles and the city of Seattle have reportedly reached a settlement regarding a 2017 police shooting incident that left the mother of four dead after she called authorities regarding a burglary. 

According to the family’s attorney Karen Koehler, the Seattle Police Department has agreed to a payment of $3.5 million after officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson shot and killed the 30-year-old Black woman. The two policemen were responding to a 911 call placed by Lyles about a burglary at her apartment near Magnuson Park on June 18, 2017.

Lyles, who was reportedly a victim of domestic violence with documented mental health issues, was gunned down in her northeast Seattle apartment after the officers claimed she suddenly attacked them with one or two knives. She was shot seven times. Lyles, pregnant at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Charleena Lyles
The city of Seattle reaches $3.5 million agreement with the family of Charleena Lyles, Black mother of 4 shot and killed by two white officers  in 2017 (Image courtesy of KOMO)

Her family initially filed a wrongful-death lawsuit three months later where they also alleged that officials were negligent and that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, in 2019, former King Country Superior Court Judge Julie Spector dismissed the case. KOMO News reported that an agreement was established in exchange for dismissal of the trial scheduled to be heard by a judge on Feb. 7, 2022. 

However, the family still wants charges to be filed against the two white officers. Lyle’s 16-year-old son, who identified only as Q, told The Stranger, “No amount of money will bring my mom back,” and that he still wanted to see the cop that did this prosecuted. 

During a Zoom press call, Lyles’ cousin Katrina Johnson said she appreciated “each and every person that was out there willing to put their bodies out there, to be pepper-sprayed, to fight for something bigger than themselves, and being willing to say my cousin’s name … We’re not done until the two officers … are held criminally liable.”

The officer’s actions were ultimately deemed justified, although, Anderson, who was certified to use a Taser and required to carry it under SPD policy, received a two-day suspension for failing to do so on the day of the shooting. The Taser’s battery had died and was in his locker.

In a statement regarding the settlement, Dan Nolte, a spokesman for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes acknowledged the “ indisputable tragedy” and said they were “glad to have some level of closure for the parties.” However, the city noted it stood by “the multiple layers of review of this event and pleased that the officers will be dismissed from the lawsuit. The remaining parties will be mutually seeking judicial approval for a resolution of all claims.”

Lyles is survived by two girls and two boys now 5 to 16. They’re being raised in California by Lyles’ aunt, Merry Kilpatrick, who plans to adopt two of the youngest children who have special needs. The attorneys said the money would be held in trust for the kids.

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