Punish Officers Accused of Shooting and Killing a Pregnant Woman in Front of Her Children

Target: Kathleen O’Toole, Chief of Police, Seattle Police Department

Goal: Fire officers who allegedly fatally shot Charleena Lyles in front of her children.

An alleged police shooting resulted in an African American mother’s death in front of her children, and the audio from the patrol cars was released. It is redacted in places, but it seems to show that the officers were aware before they opened fire on the apartment that the woman — Charleena Lyles — had problems with her mental health, and that she had children who might be with her in the home.

Lyles called the police to report an attempted burglary. Police Detective Mark Lyles wrote in a statement that, “Although this was a typical burglary report, two officers were required due to information pertaining to this address that presented an increased risk to officers.” The officers say that when they got to the apartment — transitional housing for homeless families — where Lyles lived with her four children, she confronted them with a knife. In the audio, the children can be heard in the background as Lyles explains the break-in to the cops and lists items missing. The officers then yell “Get back!” before gunshots are heard.

Lyles, a petite woman, was also pregnant when she was killed in front of her children, and family members say that she was receiving counseling for her mental health issues. The officers knew about these issues, and that a woman alone with her children reporting a burglary might be afraid enough to have a weapon with her. They should have been prepared to disarm Lyles without violence rather than allegedly opening fire into a home filled with children. The Seattle Police Department has not made a statement, but the officers have been placed on paid leave. Sign below to demand that these officers be fired for their reported reckless behavior, which resulted in another unnecessary death of a black person and her unborn child while putting the rest of her children in danger.


Dear Police Chief O’Toole,

The officers that allegedly opened fire on Charleena Lyles’s apartment with her children inside and killed her in front of them must be punished for their reckless actions. Lyles was pregnant when she was killed, and the officers reportedly knew that her children were inside with her when they shot.

When they responded to her call about an attempted burglary, audio from the patrol car seems to reveal that they knew not only that the children were there, but also that Lyles struggled with mental health issues and could present a threat. There is no reason they should not have been prepared to deal with the situation without using violence, or at least using something less lethal than a gun. Theyreportedly  killed Lyles in front of her children, and put them at risk as well when they fired into the apartment. It is the responsibility of the police department to protect citizens, not put them in danger this way. I urge you to fire the officers for their reported irresponsible actions that resulted in this tragic death.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dick Elbers

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  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    It’s such shit as this that exactly why I’m hating cops more and more!! Evidently, they ARE “entitled!” There’s something very wrong with this scenario!! I would call an Outlaw any day before I ever would a damn murdering cop!!

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    this is racism and misogyny!

  3. most definitely!

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