SEATTLE (AP) — Hundreds of Seattle residents including members of Charleena Lyles family, demanded change from Seattle city officials during a public hearing about her fatal shooting by police earlier this month.
The full Seattle City Council attended the hearing Tuesday evening at the University of Washington, which the Seattle King County NAACP called for last week.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole and Mayor Ed Murray didn't attend, which prompted criticism from the Lyles family and others.
"Too many deaths have happened without the chief of police standing here crying with us, saying she will protect me and my children," said one woman during the forum. "See us and protect us. Fix this system. We are dying, we are burying our children," she demanded of city leaders.
Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez said she invited the police chief, but she declined. "The City Council does not have the responsibility of investigating these cases, we do have the responsibility as policy makers to identify what we could do better, what could the department have done better," she said. Gonzalez said she will encourage O'Toole to host her own community forum after hearing multiple complaints during the town hall.
Officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson shot and killed Lyles June 18 in front of three of her children after she called police to report a burglary and then allegedly confronted officers with kitchen knives.
The killing has prompted outrage among family and community members, who questioned why the officers couldn't use nonlethal methods in the incident and suggested race played a role.
Lyles was black, and the officers were white.
Lyles' grandfather, Charles Lyles Sr., addressed the town hall in this raw video above.