Charleena Lyles shot 7 times by police, family attorneys say

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

Charleena Lyles was hit seven times when Seattle Police fatally shot her in June, according to Lyles' family's attorney.

A diagram from the medical examiner showed Lyles was struck in the arm, chest, hip, and stomach.

One bullet grazed her uterus and another struck the fetus of a boy. She was four months pregnant.

The bullet that entered through her back and exited out of her chest was likely fatal.

Lyles’ toxicology report came back free of drugs or alcohol.

Two police officers shot and killed Lyles while responding to a burglary call at her apartment June 18. The officer say Lyles confronted them with a knife, and they opened fire.

 

During a press conference, Lyles’ father's attorneys Travis Jameson and Karen Koehler also stressed the importance of body cameras, which Lyles’ family feels would provide police accountability.

"If I were somebody who had a mental condition that I was dealing with, I would be terrified and scared for my safety if I were to call the police," said Jameson. "Because I would be concerned that what happened to Charleena Lyles would happen to me."

The Seattle Police Officer’s Guild has filed a complaint over Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to require officers to wear body cameras, because they say the issue should be addressed through collective bargaining.

Lyles' sisters, brother, and cousin, who have other legal counsel, said in a statement that they were upset with Koehler for releasing details about the autopsy before consulting with the whole family.

However, Koehler reached out to the family's attorney Corey Guilmette in the morning before the press conference asking him to notify the family of the medical examiner's report, according to emails obtained by KING 5. Guilmette responded that he would let the family know the details of the report.

"To the extent Mr. Guilmette does not like our approach in joining the City of Seattle in being transparent to the public, well, that is just too bad," Koehler wrote in an email.

Read the family's full statement:

Charleena Lyles's sisters, brother, and cousins join together to denounce the reckless conduct of Karen Koehler, legal counsel for Charleena's father, Charles Lyles.  Today, Ms. Koehler unilaterally released to the press the autopsy report in Ms. Lyles's killing. This was not an emergency, yet Ms. Koehler did not consult with counsel representing the rest of the family, and did not even alert the rest of the family of her planned release of the autopsy.

In so doing, she placed Charleena's children in a position of possibly having to hear about details of their mother's killing on the news or at school without any preparation.  Additionally, she may well have compromised the longer term interests of the children by speaking publicly about the facts of the shooting prior to the coming inquest and without a chance for strategic reflection with counsel for the rest of the family about how these newly-produced findings may affect any litigation or claims.

Regrettably, the situation has devolved into one in which a single family member has attempted to seize the reins and usurped the voices and interests of the entire rest of Charleena's family.  In the interest of not exposing intra-family conflict publicly, the rest of the family has not to this point criticized the unilateral action of Charles Lyles and his attorneys, and have sought to rectify the situation privately, but that courtesy has not been returned.

Mr. Lyles left the Seattle area shortly after Charleena's birth and was not on hand most of her life to assist with her challenges and struggles as a young woman and mother. Those family members who did play that role join together to ask Mr. Lyles and his attorneys to act with greater restraint and respect for the interests of the rest of the family, who have pro bono legal counsel and are doing their best to act responsibly in the interests of Charleena's children.  Unilateral and sensational public posturing and publicity stunts are not in the best interests of Charleena's kids, short term or long term.

© 2017 KING-TV


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