SEATTLE (AP) — Surveillance video released Thursday from the hallway outside Charleena Lyles’ apartment shows that no one other than her entered in the 24 hours before Sunday’s police shooting that left the pregnant mother dead, Seattle police said.
Police also on Thursday released the audio of Lyles’ Sunday morning 911 call asking for an officer to respond to her Seattle apartment for a break-in, The Seattle Times reported (https://goo.gl/atTsw6 ).
“I’d like to report a break-in. Can an officer come to my home?” Lyles asks in the call, which lasted over 3 minutes and was made at 8:55 a.m. Sunday, about 45 minutes before she was shot to death.
The mother of four said in the call that she had gone to a store and come home to find someone had broken in.
But police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said a review of surveillance video shows in the hours before the call that Lyles left and entered the apartment before Officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson arrived.
The officers, one a specialist in handling people in crisis, knew Lyles had struggled with mental illness and earlier this month had menaced police with metal shears in her apartment. They nevertheless found themselves with little time to react when she snapped about two minutes after they began taking her report.
The officers fatally shot Lyles with three of her four children present after she confronted them with two knives, police said.
Lyles’ family attorney James Bible criticized the release of the video Thursday and questioned the department’s motives.
“What this sounds like is that police want to form some kind of inference, that either she’s mentally ill or that she’s flat out lying and trying to get officers to the apartment,” Bible told the newspaper. “Those inferences are inappropriate. This is not really a fact finding. It’s more like I feel they’re trying to taint the perceptions of Charleena.”
Bible said that the casual chat recorded of officers talking before walking up to Lyles’ apartment shows that, in his mind, “They were not taking her plight seriously enough, and she died for it.”
The killing has prompted outrage among many, including Lyles’ family, who questioned why the officers couldn’t use nonlethal methods to subdue the diminutive 30-year-old and suggested that race played a role. Lyles was black; the officers, were white.
Neither officer had a stun gun, but they did have other options, either a baton or pepper spray.
Whitcomb said the department plans to release additional information on its ongoing investigation into the shooting over the next few days.
A previous version of this story incorrectly said no one had entered or left the apartment before the shooting.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com
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