Jun 21, 2022 - News

Inquest into police shooting of Charleena Lyles live-streamed Tuesday

A protester holds a sign with an image of Charleena Lyles
Questions have simmered for five years about whether officers had to use deadly force during their encounter with Charleena Lyles. Photo: Dan Ryder/Getty Images.

The long-awaited inquest into the 2017 fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles by two Seattle police officers begins at 9am Tuesday — and the public can watch it live.

The latest: In a ruling late last Friday, inquest administrator Michael Spearman opted to allow a live public video feed, denying requests to ban it made by lawyers for officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew.

  • The officers contended a live video feed could potentially subject them and their families to harassment.
  • A lawyer for Lyles' family countered it was necessary to meet the inquest's public transparency standards.

What they're saying: Spearman ruled that while the officers raised legitimate safety concerns, they "fail to establish how" banning the live stream would reduce potential threats or "warrant limiting the openness and transparency of the proceedings."

Why it matters: The inquest into Lyles' death, which was delayed for years, marks a key milestone in the post-George Floyd-era of police accountability reforms in Washington state.

  • It's only the second inquest so far under King County's newly overhauled rules for the formal inquiries, which determine facts surrounding law enforcement-related fatalities.
  • Lyles' inquest is scheduled through July 6.

Background: The officers fatally shot Lyles, 30, a domestic violence victim with mental health problems, after she tried to attack them with a knife when they responded to her 911 call.

  • Questions have since simmered about whether the two white officers had to use deadly force against the Black mother of four.

Yes, but: The officers have yet to indicate whether they'll testify or refuse by invoking their 5th Amendment rights.

  • If they take the 5th, Karen Koehler, a lawyer for Lyles' family, has signaled she'll seek to introduce the officers' video depositions from the family's civil case against the city, which led to a $3.5 million settlement.

Go deeper: Catch up quick on the Lyles' case

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