The Seattle Police Department released videos showing two vantage points of the fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles, a black mother of four, though the footage offers scant details of what occurred inside an apartment when two white Seattle police officers fired their weapons at the black mother of four, killing her.
The release comes hours after police officials posted dash cam audio from the shooting on the department’s blotter website. Police on Monday evening also released a transcript of that audio that offers a clearer picture of the words exchanged before the fatal shots went off.
According to the transcript, one of the officers says "tase her" after a conversation with Lyles over an alleged burglary takes a turn for the worse.
"I don't have a Taser," the other officer in the room responds. Seconds later, five shots can be heard. The transcript released by police officials states that the second officers says into a radio, "We need help" and that Lyles carried two knives after stating that he does not have a taser. But the audio demonstrates that the radio call followed his statement that he did not have a taser.
Hours after the shooting, the police department released a statement saying, "Both officers were equipped with less lethal force options, per department policy. All Seattle police officers receive Crisis Intervention Training."
Dash cam footage from the front of a police car (0:00 - 7:14) shows two officers exiting a vehicle and walking towards and entering Bretter Family Place 3, the apartment building where Lyles lived with her children. The officers’ faces are blurred.
The video plays alongside previously released audio depicting officers discussing Lyles’ previous encounters with police. After the police enter the building, the video shows the front facade of the structure as audio from moments leading up to the shooting, and the shooting itself, plays in the background.
A second video (7:14 - 10:49), taken from the hallway of the floor where Lyles lived shows the same two officers walking into her apartment. The video timestamp shows that they enter the unit at approximately 9:37 a.m. Once again, both of their faces are blocked. At 9:38, one of the officers’ arms can be seen in the doorway. At 9:40, an officer can be seen backing out of the apartment with his gun drawn. Seconds later, the video ends.
City policy calls for the police department to reveal the identities of officers involved in fatal shootings within 24 or 48 hours after the incident, according to spokesman Sean Whitcomb.
Seattle Police officials say that Lyles brandished a knife before the officers fired their weapons. But Lyles’ family have criticized officers' decision to use deadly force, as opposed to less-lethal options like a taser. According to Andre Taylor, the brother of Che Taylor, the family has been put in touch with attorney James Bible, who represented Che's family after he was fatally shot by Seattle police in last year.
The shooting has raised questions about use-of-force and crisis intervention at the Seattle Police Department, which has been under consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice since 2012.
“This is a horrible tragedy. My heart breaks for her family, for the community, and for the officers,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole told Q13 Fox News. “We keep the community and the family informed all the way through this process.”
"My heart breaks for her family, for the community, and for our officers": @SeattlePD Chief on fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles. #Q13FOX pic.twitter.com/Kceop4mmWN
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) June 20, 2017
As of 7:20 p.m, police O’Toole was still working on reaching out to the family of Lyles, Whitcomb said.
Family members and supporters plan to hold a press conference and rally near the site of the shooting on at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
UPDATE 6/20/2017, 7:00 a.m: This story has been updated to include a transcript of the dashcam audio depicting the fatal police shooting of Charleena Lyles. It has also been updated to include an exchange between the two involved officers in which ones states that he does not have a taser. Thanks to commenter Eric Arr for the catch.