"They shot my mom."
The Seattle Times reports that shortly after 10:00 am yesterday, Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old mother of three, and several month's pregnant with what would have been her fourth, alerted police to an attempted burglary in her apartment. When two white police officers arrived on the scene, Ms. Lyles confronted them with a knife and was then shot dead in front of her own children.
Below is a short video found on Twitter of police informing Ms. Lyles that she would not be shot before they entered into her home from @KeeganNYC
— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) June 19, 2017
These reported events beg obvious questions. The first of which is couldn't she have been displaying the knife because she was going to use it to protect herself and her family from an intruder?
A second question would be, according to The Seattle Times, the family of Ms. Lyles characterized her as physically "tiny '. Monika Williams, sister of the slain, is even quoted stating:
"Why couldn't they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down."
And what is further is Domico Jones, brother of Ms. Lyles, is quoted as saying in the Seattle Times:
"She was not a person you would feel or fear intimidated by."
A third question is what role did the fact that she was battling mental illness play in the shooting?
According to The Seattle Times reports, Police Detective Mark Jamieson stated that the officers were given "hazard information" resulting from a previous encounter with an armed Ms. Lyle. Policemen and women are not mental health professionals, but couldn't a deescalation of the situation have taken place until a law enforcement official with those credentials arrived on the scene?
Racism is alive now as ever, and this incident strongly supports that assertion. If it doesn't show that the police officers are racists, it shows that the system is.
What is more is that this took place the day before Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery. The holiday specifically commemorates Union soldiers arriving in Galveston, TX, on June 19th, 1865, with reports that slaves were now free from their masters. The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued 2 ½ years earlier, but it was not recognized in the CSA or even known to most slaves in the South.
The need for a rejuvenated Civil Rights Movement is as essential now as ever. These similarly daily reports make this apparent and clear.
Featured image via twitter
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