An inquest jury said that Seattle officers were justified when they shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman with mental health issues who pulled a knife on them in 2017.
On Wednesday (July 6), six inquest jurors found Seattle cops Jason Anderson and Steven McNew had no other alternative but to fatally shoot Lyles, mother of four, when she lunged at them with a knife in her apartment, NBC News reports.
However, since 2017, activists have deemed Lyles' killing another example of unnecessary police violence and institutional racism in law enforcement. The victim's family has also questioned why officers trained to handle mental health and behavior crises didn't use nonlethal methods to subdue Lyles.
The fatal incident began when Lyles called to report a burglary. She was speaking calmly to Anderson and Mcnew, the officers who responded to the call, but suddenly pulled a knife on one of them, according to reports.
Per NBC News, the Seattle cops repeatedly told her to get back before opening fire and shooting her seven times. The battery of Anderson's Taser was dead, so he didn't have it with him during his encounter with Lyles.
The King County coroner’s inquest jurors unanimously determined that even if the officers had a Taser, it wouldn't have been an effective way to diffuse the situation as Lyles advanced on them in her apartment.
The jury's findings on Wednesday drew an emotional response from Lyles' father who shouted, "You killed my daughter!"
An inquest jury can determine whether law enforcement broke any policies or criminal laws, but the decision to charge the officers still ultimately lies in the hands of King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
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