The city of Seattle has agreed to a $3.5 million wrongful death settlement with the family of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black mother of four, who was shot and killed in her home in 2017.
The case was set to go to trial next February, but the sides settled Monday, according to a news release from the lawyers representing Lyles’ family. CNN reports the settlement includes the payment and the dismissal of officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson within the next week.
In June 2017, McNew and Anderson responded to a robbery call Lyles made, reporting a burglary at her home. The mom told police she had been out, and upon returning, she found her door open and items missing from her home.
Earlier in the month, Lyles, who had a history of mental illness and was a victim of domestic violence, was arrested for obstruction of a public officer and harassment of a law enforcement officer on June 5. The officers arrived at Lyles’ home, knowing of the previous arrest.
A dashcam audio recording of the incident revealed a conversation between Lyles and the officers began calmly as she told the two cops she left her door unlocked when she went to the store, and while she was out, her Xbox was stolen. The officers continued to talk to Lyles, taking her information and confirming what was stolen, before a commotion was heard along with a child crying. Then Lyles began screaming at the officers.
The officers called for backup, saying, “We need help,” and describing a woman with two knives threatening them repeatedly before shots were heard. The officers performed first aid on Lyles until the fire department arrived, but she died at the scene. Three of Lyles’ children were in the home at the time.
“It is indisputable that this has been a tragedy, and we are glad to have some level of closure for the parties,” Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, said in a statement. “We stand by the multiple layers of review of this event and are pleased that the officers will be dismissed from the lawsuit. The remaining parties will be mutually seeking judicial approval for a resolution of all claims.”
Attorney Karen Clark, who represented Lyles’ children, called the mother’s death a moral outrage and thanked the city for settling the case.
“I am thankful that the City has settled this case … her killing should never have happened,” Clark continued. “What happened to Charleena in her own home when she called for help — was a moral outrage. May the City and our community begin the healing process.”