One year after Charleena Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle police, a motion was filed Monday claiming one of the involved officers committed perjury.
“If left unchecked the false statements will further undermine these civil proceedings and all notions of fairness and justice owed to the memory of Charleena Lyles, her four minor children, her family, and our community,” the motion read.
Seattle Police Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew shot and killed Lyles while responding to a burglary call at her apartment June 18, 2017. The officers say Lyles confronted them with a knife, and they opened fire.
The motion alleges Anderson gave false testimony about where he was standing when he fired his weapon at Lyles. The suit says these details are “significant,” because it disputes whether Anderson was trapped in the apartment with Lyles when she was killed.
Throughout his testimony, Anderson repeatedly said he was about four or five feet away from Lyles when he shot her. He maintained he was inside the apartment with his back to the closed door.
However, the motion alleges Anderson actually shot through an open doorway from the hallway, based on synchronized video and audio of apartment surveillance cameras and in-car video. The video and audio show Anderson in the doorway of the apartment at the only time gunshots are heard, according to the motion.
Synchronized videos by Seattle Police and an expert chosen by the plaintiffs are similar, according to the motion.
The motion also claims the scene was not initially properly secured, and no photographs were taken between the time Lyles was shot and the fire department left, over 30 minutes later.
“Plaintiffs are greatly concerned that Officer Anderson’s false story of the closed door, associated misrepresentations of distance, lack of shielding, and alteration of the incident scene by the police, have combined to mislead the [Force Review Board], [Force Investigation Team] and CSI investigators,” the suit read.
A Seattle Police force review panel found Anderson and McNew followed departmental guidelines during the incident. However, Anderson was suspended for two days, because he did not have his taser.
The suit was filed by Eric Watness, the representative of the estate of Charleena Lyles, and Karen Clark, the guardian of Lyles’ four children. It names the City of Seattle and Anderson and McNew personally.
The Seattle City Attorney's office responded to the lawsuit on Monday saying, “The City Defendants strongly disagree with the representations and arguments made by this motion. We will be filing a substantive response in opposition.”
The city filed a response motion on Friday calling the motion "baseless."
"On the one-year anniversary of Charleena Lyles’ death, the attorneys for the Estate filed a baseless motion attacking the character and credibility of a party at the cost of his right to a fair trial and asking this Court to both invade the province of the jury and exceed the bounds of its jurisdiction," the response read.
On Friday, an attorney for Lyles' estate, Karen Koehler, responded to the city's response: "The disrespectful tone of the response and bully tactics used are a poor reflection on the City of Seattle. The City's lawyers believe that by aggressively charging the Estate of Charleena Lyles' attorneys with misconduct, they can sidestep and minimize the issue of whether Officer Anderson actually committed the alleged perjury.
"We are confident that the truth will come out in this case. We stand on our motion and the evidence produced to support it."
Bob Christie, Anderson's attorney in the civil proceeding, is on vacation and not available to comment, according to Christie's office.
Seattle Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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