Jenny Durkan statement on the death of Charleena Lyles

Jenny Durkan statement on the death of Charleena Lyles

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My heart breaks for Charleena Lyles and her family and loved ones. Her children must be held close.

We also must have answers to many questions. Asking “why” and demanding answers is the cornerstone of true accountability and justice. While it can never bring Charleena Lyles back, we will never have accountability or avoid tragedy if we do not have honest and open investigations.

The hard fought police reforms demand closely monitored and more transparent investigations of police shootings in Seattle. In the coming days and weeks, there will be a full investigation into this tragic shooting. Her family and the entire community deserve to know whether this tragedy could have been avoided. We need to know type of crisis training these officers received and whether de-escalation tactics or less-lethal weapons could have been used.

The bottom line is we need to do better. We need more services and support for people with mental health problems and victims of domestic violence. Just two weeks ago, in a painfully similar situation, I was in court for a week, trying to get answers for the Muckleshoot tribe and family of Renee Davis, a beautiful Muckleshoot member killed in her home by police. No call for help should be answered by death.

Together, we must watch closely to make sure the investigation is thorough, transparent, and credible. The reforms that have been put in place demand it. Ms. Lyles, her family, and our community deserve no less.

— Jenny Durkan