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Father of pregnant woman killed by police files lawsuit

September 08, 2017 - 6:46 PM

SEATTLE - The father of a pregnant black woman has sued two white Seattle police officers who shot and killed her in June.

Charles Lyles, the father of Charleena Lyles, filed the civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson, the SeattlePI reported (https://goo.gl/e4QPbr ).

McNew and Anderson are indemnified as city employees, meaning the city would pay any damages if there's a civil judgment or settlement agreement against them.

In August, attorneys for Charles Lyles filed a notice of claim against the city, which still has about a month to respond before a lawsuit can be filed against it.

Police say Charleena Lyles threatened the officers after calling 911 on June 18 to report that someone had broken into her apartment and stolen video-game consoles.

The 30-year-old mother of four was shot seven times by officers who said she suddenly pulled a knife while talking to them at her apartment. Three of her children were in the apartment at the time.

Lyles' death sparked community outrage, with hundreds attending a vigil and march through downtown Seattle.

The lawsuit claims that officers knew she had a history of mental health issues yet failed to plan for de-escalation procedures if she experienced a mental health outburst as she did two weeks earlier.

Police have said two officers were sent to her apartment instead of one because they knew she had struggled with mental illness and earlier in June had menaced police with metal shears.

Police also have said Anderson had been issued a Taser but was not wearing it at the time of the incident.

The officers remain on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole has promised a thorough investigation.

The Seattle City Attorney's Office didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Efforts to reach the officers involved were not successful.

Karen Koehler, an attorney for Charles Lyles, said he will not participate in a fact-finding inquest into the fatal shooting. An inquest is meant to find facts but doesn't determine civil or criminal liability.

Koehler called it a "sham proceeding" that favours police.

Lawyers for Charleena Lyles' siblings and cousins said in a statement that they will participate to have a chance to question the officers.

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Information from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, http://www.seattlepi.com/

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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