Seattle Council hears community concerns about Charleena Lyles shooting

City council members said they wanted to provide a public forum for community members to voice their concerns about the deadly police shooting of Charleena Lyles.

Seattle residents and family of Charleena Lyles demanded answers and change from Seattle Police during a town hall Tuesday evening.

Seattle City Council hoped the town hall would give the public a chance to share their concerns with city leaders.

Coucilmember Sally Bagshaw said she heard more passion, anger, and articulated fear at the town hall than in her past eight years serving on the council.

"I heard some things I have never heard before. For example, how can you protect us if you can’t protect with us?" Bagshaw said. "I heard things from you tonight that you expect more from us. You expect more from our police. You expect more from our system."

Lyles was fatally shot by two police officers who responded to a burglary call at her apartment June 18. The officers say Lyles confronted them with a knife, and they opened fire.

Several members of Lyles' family were in attendance at Tuesday's town hall, including her grandfather, father, and brother.

"It's just sad," said Charles Lyles, Charleena's father.  "I'm just so hurt.  It feels like my heart is ripped out.  I will never again be able to have a conversation with her."

Charles Lyles spoke to the crowd about the daughter was named after him, the daughter he learned police shot and killed on Father's Day.

"She called the police that day to take a report of somebody burglarizing her house, and for some reason they shot her five times," Lyles said. "For this to happen on Father's Day. For me, every year on Father's Day I'm going to think about this incident."

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole is under fire for deciding not to attend the town hall meeting.

The department explained O'Toole would not be able to answer questions about the ongoing investigation. But SPD will be watching a live feed of the event.

Related: Family of Charleena Lyles grieves at vigil: ‘She was a powerful lady'

Councilmember Kshama Sawant shared a scathing email Tuesday she received from O'Toole, accusing her of "a disappointing level of ignorance of SPD policies and clear disdain for the investigatory process." 

Sawant had been openly critical of the shooting, Seattle Police, and O'Toole's decision not to attend the meeting.

Sawant fired a letter back, calling O'Toole's letter "a tone deaf response."

Council members spent most of Tuesday's town hall listening, to nearly three hours of public comment.

At the very end of the meeting, each council member was given two minutes to address the crowd. Most used their time to express their condolences to the Lyles family and to thank community members for their passion.  

Other council members encouraged people to continue to voice their concerns, and vowed to demand transparency, accountability, and community oversight of the Seattle Police Department.

© 2017 KING-TV


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