HARI SREENIVASAN: The estate of Charleena Lyles — a black woman fatally shot by two white police officers in Seattle in June — has taken the first step in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
The claim filed yesterday alleges police were negligent and violated her civil rights when the officers fatally shot Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant mother of four, in her own apartment.
The officers have said, after responding to a 911 burglary call from Lyles, she threatened and tried to stab them with kitchen knives.
Based on a police recording of the incident, the claim says the officers failed to order Lyles to drop the knives or warn her they would shoot.
Lyles had a history of mental health issues, according to her family, while the officers had undergone special training to handle people in distress and reduce their use of lethal force.
Three of Lyles’ children were in her apartment when she was killed.
Her family alleges race was a factor in the shooting, which has sparked protests and remains under investigation.