Video of Charleena Lyles Shooting Reportedly Contradicts Officer
Officer Anderson and Officer McNew opened fire on Ms. Lyles with her children close by. She died shortly thereafter. The officers maintain Ms. Lyles attacked them with knives and they had no alternative than to shoot. Public outrage was swift, and has not diminished since thanks to community pressure and media attention.
SPD released critical information, including the 911 call by Ms. Lyles, audio of the responding officers on the scene, a screenshot of critical information officers reviewed before entering the building, video from the security camera in the hall outside Ms. Lyles’ apartment, transcripts of the officers’ interviews conducted by SPD’s FIT (Force Investigation Team), and a diagram of the incident scene created by Crime Scene Investigators which accounts for the placement of Ms. Lyles at the time she was shot, the location of knives, and the officers involved (Officer Anderson is not shown on the diagram).
The security camera video released by the department is incomplete. It comes from a fixed camera mounted in the hallway of Ms. Lyle’s apartment building outside her front door. The portion of the video made public shows very little except that no intruder or burglar is seen going into the apartment; Ms. Lyles suspected someone had been in her home while she was out.
The section of video made public by the department spans 24 hours prior to police arriving at the apartment building in response to Ms. Lyles’ 911 call. The remaining video, which has not been released due to the ongoing investigation, is of paramount interest to those who haven’t seen it; there is unprecedented distrust of the department and many are suspicious the department is engaged in an effort to cover up events, or hide information pointing to criminality by officers.
Almost immediately after Ms. Lyles was killed, rumors began circulating about the shooting, most notably many claimed Ms. Lyles was killed while standing in the doorway to her apartment, and that she fell dying in the hall where she could be seen by other residents.
It is the policy of the Seattle Police Department to release what they describe as “as much information as possible” within 48 hours of an officer involved shooting. But in the case of Ms. Lyles the department did something it hadn’t in cases prior, and released full transcripts of the interviews with Officer McNew and Officer Anderson. Typically such information would not become public until a mandatory inquest into the shooting. An inquest for the death of Ms. Lyles has not yet been ordered.
According to the transcripts, both officers say that Ms. Lyles fell down immediately upon being shot, and did not move afterwards. The diagram of the scene, created by Crime Scene Investigation, shows the position of each person at the moment shots were fired. This information is not based on the officers’ accounts, but a compilation of verifiable information.
Officer McNew is in the kitchen. Ms. Lyles is outside of the kitchen. Significantly, Officer Anderson is not on the diagram:
According to the transcript, Officer Anderson says he was standing in a closed doorway; the front door to the apartment:
If Officer Anderson were standing with his back to a close door inside the apartment, CSI investigators would have marked him inside the apartment on the diagram.
Since the shooting occurred, sources with knowledge of the scene the day of the shooting, as well as sources with direct knowledge of the unreleased portion of security camera footage who spoke to BOMBCo on the condition of anonymity, reported the front door of the apartment was open when the shooting happened. CSI does not mark Officer Anderson inside the apartment unit because he was in an open doorway when he fired his weapon.
Sources report the unreleased video captures a partial profile view of Officer Anderson in the open doorway during the shooting. His body can be seen reacting to the recoil of the gun as he fires.
Reportedly, the security video does not show Ms. Lyles being shot in the doorway. It does not show her falling down in the doorway after being shot, with her upper body in the hall and her lower body in the apartment. Sources claim it later shows Ms. Lyles being moved from the apartment to the hallway by first responders, allegedly for continued life-saving care.
All officer involved deaths in King County are subject to mandatory inquest upon the completion of the internal investigation. For SPD, the average investigation into such incidents is 90 days, and at the completion all findings and evidence will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office notifies the King County Executive’s Office and the Executive requests the Presiding District Court Judge schedule an inquest within 90 days. Because the inquest hearing process is public in King county, the unreleased portion of the security video will likely be made public with other evidence at that time.
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