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Do Black Lives Really Matter? Seattle Police Shoot Dead Mentally Ill Woman

The recent shooting of African-American Charleena Lyles by Seattle police on Sunday triggered a huge outcry among citizens with many branding the incident as an act of racism. Moreover, the mentally-ill victim’s family also expressed concern her race played a role in the fatal shooting. They also questioned the officers’ decision not to use a Taser gun or other non-lethal options, the Seattle Times reported Monday.

The family claimed the use of guns was “unnecessary” and that the police could have easily overpowered Lyles and stopped her, the report added.

30-year-old Charleena Lyles, who was pregnant, was shot in front of her children at her home near Magnuson Park, Seattle, after she called the police officers to her apartment to report a burglary. However, when the officers arrived at the scene, Lyles reportedly confronted them with a knife, the Washington Post reported. The incident took place at around 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EDT) Sunday.

Read: Charleena Lyles: Police shoot dead pregnant African-American with mental health problems

The incident escalated further, resulting in the police officers fatally shooting Lyles. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) Monday released an audio recording of the final moments before Lyles was shot. 

The audio recording reveals the officers spent about two minutes speaking with Lyles before the situation turned, resulting in Lyles being shot.

“Get back! Get back,” the officers were heard saying in the video. Lyles was then heard saying, “Do it! Do it,” before an officer called up someone and asked for help. “We need help!” he was heard saying. Seconds later, five gunshots were heard before officers shouted, “Get back! Get back” again.

Officers also said they immediately performed first aid on Lyles before the medics arrived. However, she was pronounced dead soon after.

The SPD’s Force Investigation Team (FIT) along with the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability is probing the incident…

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