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caption: A photo of Charleena Lyles in a memorial.
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A photo of Charleena Lyles in a memorial.
Credit: Megan Farmer / KUOW

Inquest jury concludes 2 Seattle officers used justifiable force when they shot and killed Charleena Lyles

A King County inquest jury has concluded that two Seattle police officers used reasonable or justifiable force when they shot and killed Charleena Lyles in 2017.

Lyles' relatives say they reject the findings.

In June 2017, Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman, called police to her apartment about a suspected burglary. The officers say that part way through their encounter, Lyles demeanor changed and she lunged at one of them with a knife.

They shot her seven times in front of her children.

On Wednesday, the jury found the officers largely followed department procedures and training during the encounter, and that there was no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force at the time officers fired.

The attorney for Lyles' family said in a statement that the process focused on the officers' states of mind, not on Lyles, and that SPD policies are designed to allow an officer to shoot and kill someone in mental health crisis with a pairing knife.

In a statement, the SPD called Lyles' death a tragic event.

The jury’s findings are not legally binding. But they could play a role in whether the King County prosecutor decides to charge the officers.

Read the full story here.

More updates in KUOW's Today So Far Blog