Mourning, but no closure, at funeral for Charleena Lyles | KUOW News and Information

Mourning, but no closure, at funeral for Charleena Lyles

Jul 10, 2017

Charleena Lyles was buried Monday.

Lyles’ friends and family filled the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District for her funeral, many wearing purple, her favorite color.


Some said they won’t have closure unless Seattle police are punished for shooting the pregnant black woman in her apartment.

"Basically what I’m hoping is to get my niece laid to rest and that the officers that are involved in this have heart and admit to the thing that they did," said Billie Lynn, who said Lyles called him "uncle" because he helped raise her. "Four children are without a mother and we’re missing a child that wasn’t born."

Police say they shot Lyles in self-defense because she was holding a knife.

Court records show Lyles was struggling with mental illness, and a police transcript shows that the cops knew that, too.

But they weren’t equipped with Tasers and didn’t try to use other non-lethal methods to subdue her.

A formal investigation is underway.

"I just hope that the laws will change and everybody’s held accountable for the things that they do," Lynn said. "Just because they’re law enforcement don’t give them the right to murder people and get away with it."

Pallbearers carry the casket of Charleena Lyles, who was shot by Seattle Police, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Kent, Washington, on Monday, July 10, 2017.
Credit KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Later, Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell opened a meeting of the full council with a recognition of Lyles’ funeral.

"It was once said that the moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life — the children; the twilight of life — the elderly; and the shadows of life — the sick, the needy, and the handicapped," Harrell said.

He called for a moment of silence to consider how the city may have failed that moral test.

Mourners release doves at the burial of Charleena Lyles on Monday, July 10, 2017 at Hillcrest Cemetery in Kent, Washington.
Credit KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer