Family Files Claim in Charleena Lyles’ Death

The claim says police lost their “composure,” should have had a plan to deal with Lyles’ mental health.

Lawyers representing the estate of Charleena Lyles, the pregnant mother of four killed by Seattle police in June, filed a claim for damages against the City of Seattle Friday—the first step toward a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to the Seattle Times, the six-page claim says the two Seattle police officers “lost their composure” and killed Lyles, who was known to struggle with mental health issues. The officers, Steven McNew and Jason Anderson, were responding to a burglary report made by Lyles from her Sand Point apartment. The claim faults the officers for not planning de-escalation strategies for her “known mental illness” before going into her apartment.

Lyles death prompted protests in Seattle, and has inspired renewed efforts to pass legislation making it easier to prosecute officers who wrongfully kill people in the line of duty.

The officers claim they shot Lyles as she approached them with a knife and refused to put it down. Three of her four children were in the apartment at the time of the shooting.

Also according to the Times, Lyles’ father, Charles Lyles, petitioned and was appointed personal representative for his daughter’s estate. Charles Lyles said unspecified damages won in the suit would go to his daughter’s children.

In a wrinkle, though, following a press conference held by Charles Lyles and his attorneys, another set of attorneys who say they represent the guardians of Charleena Lyles’ children expressed disapproval of the lawsuit. Corey Guilmette and James Bible said in a press release that they were “disappointed that Charles Lyles Jr. did not contact us or our clients before petitioning to become personal representative of Charleena Lyles’s estate and filing a Claim for Damages with the City of Seattle.”

Guilmette identifies himself as the attorney for Tiffany Rogers, Charleena Lyles’ sister and guardian of two of her children; Bible identifies himself as attorney for Francis Butts, guardian of Lyles’ other two children.

“We are seeking to operate in the best interest of four children who tragically lost their mother…We hope that Mr Lyles’s counsel contacts us in the future so we can work together to best represent the children’s interests.”

news@seattleweekly.com

More in News & Comment

Le family attorneys Linda Tran and Jeff Campiche stand on either side of Tommy Le’s parents, Hoai Le and Dieu Ho, at the Dat Lat Quan Vietnamese restaurant in White Center on Oct. 14. Photo by Josh Kelety
‘We’re Not Going to Give Up’: Vietnamese Community Rallies for Tommy Le

Over a year after law enforcement fatally shot the 20-year-old Burien resident, family and community members remain galvanized to seek justice.

County Officials to Use Downtown Seattle Jail as Homeless Shelter

The facility will house between 125 and 150 people, allow for 24-hour access, and likely won’t require that individuals be sober to stay there.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Incarcerated and Infirmed: How Northwest Detention Center Is Failing Sick Inmates

Inadequate medical care plagues immigrants at the facility, but ICE claims otherwise.

DNA Under Girl’s Fingernail Leads to Attempted Kidnapping Charge

Teen scratched man’s face after he forced her into vehicle near Kent

Executive Constantine Reforms Police Deadly Force Inquest Process

The changes come after community members and advocates called the system biased in favor of law enforcement.

Anita Khandelwal Nominated to Lead King County Department of Public Defense

Prior reporting had indicated that county leaders wouldn’t support her for the job due to her public opposition to the new youth detention center.

Executive Dow Constantine Proposes $11.6 Billion Budget

With King County’s finances already stretched thin, Constantine’s budget largely maintains current services while making investments in transit, law enforcement, and juvenile justice reform.

Most Read