Family of Charleena Lyles begins legal action against city of Seattle

In a six-page claim filed Friday against the city of Seattle, attorneys representing the estate of Charleena Lyles say two Seattle police officers “lost their composure” when the pregnant mother of four began waving a knife or knives around, then failed to order her to drop her weapon and warn her they would shoot.

The claim, which does not specify a dollar amount, is a first step toward filing a lawsuit alleging the officers violated Lyles’ civil rights and are responsible for her wrongful death. The claim also alleges negligence and violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city has 60 days to respond to the claim before a suit can be filed.

Julie Moore, a spokeswoman for the city’s department of finance and administrative services (FAS), wrote in an email Friday that “FAS does not comment on open claims.”

Lyles, a 30-year-old African-American mother of four, was fatally shot by two white officers, Steven McNew and Jason Anderson, on June 18. Police say she threatened the officers with at least one knife after calling 911 to report that someone had broken into her Magnuson Park apartment and stolen two video-game consoles.

Three of Lyles’ children were in her apartment when she was killed.

Lyles’ family has said the shooting could have been avoided and that they believe race was a factor.

Her father, Charles Lyles, was granted his motion to be appointed the personal representative of Charleena Lyles’ estate on Tuesday in King County Superior Court, court records show. At a news conference Friday at his attorneys’ Seattle law firm, Charles Lyles said any money awarded as a result of the claim or a lawsuit would go to his grandchildren.

Charleena Lyles’ four children, ages 1, 2, 11 and 12, have been split up and are living with other relatives, Charles Lyles said.

“Since I lost my daughter, I’ve been really empty inside … Her whole life revolved around her kids,” he said. “I miss my grandkids. I miss my daughter tremendously. I cry a lot.”

However, later in the day, attorneys representing other relatives of Lyles, including two of her sisters, issued a news release saying they were disappointed Charles Lyles did not contact them before petitioning the court to become personal representative of the estate. The attorneys represent two people who are guardians for Lyles’ four children.

“As attorneys for the two individuals who have guardianship of…

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