The local news media has covered the meeting last night of the city council re the death of Charleena Lyles.
Kiro7 indirectly covered the idea of suicide by cop by quoting the dad (and/or grandfather) of Charleena saying that since Charleena loved life, she would not have committed suicide by cop. No one challenged him about her meth use and how that fits in.
The seattlepi and komonews and q13 do not seem to have any coverage which directly or indirectly includes the idea of suicide by cop as the best explanation for the death of Charleena Lyles.
Komonews had several paragraphs and photos of letters on whether or not SPD chief O’Toole was in attendance and why not!!
O’Toole or Whitcomb or a helper could have been in attendance to talk about or take questions re general training and usual procedures and simply deferred any questions about the Charleena shooting. The “problem” with such a meeting would be that, the police will end up telling the public that “de-escalation” is not appropriate at 4 feet with a person, if that person is with a knife in hand and with hostile intent, and shooting him or her is. Yes, I am shocked to learn of it and I am sure the public will be also!
“Cabablanca cafe owner: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Capablanca policeman: I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.
Case waiter to policeman: Your winnings, sir.”
I’d go to a meeting where I could ask O’Toole questions about training and procedures–but I can also walk into the downtown HQ building or some of the precincts when they are open.
I walked at Greenlake on Tuesday afternoon June 27, 2017 and got done about 5. I could have driven over to the UW. I thought of printing up a sign on the topic of suicide by cop and walking to Kane Hall, but I had doubts it would be helpful enough to justify an extra 90 minutes making the world a better place.
There are at least two objections or questions for the dad or granddad of Charleena about suicide by cop.
1) If Charleena was in love with life as he alleges, why did she spent months or years on both crystal meth and possible alcohol abuse–two substances often taken for mood-alteration?
2) Is it true that withdrawal from meth is prone to leading to severe “depression” in many former users and that such depression often means the person questions the value of his life or wishes to die?
3) Doesn’t the fact that there was no intruder-burglar shown in the apartment hallway videocam help substantiate the idea that the phone call to 911 was a convenient means of bringing the police over for participating in the suicide?
Or, did Charleena’s mental psychosis, if random, lead her to imagine up something that would conveniently bring to her residence two men with guns trained to defend themselves against a woman wielding a knife and rushing or approaching officers?
If Charleena were thinking of getting herself killed, her idea that there was a burglary was very convenient to her plan.
As for police procedure . . .
1) police are in a tough spot when confronted by a person with a knife and they lack a way out; knives can kill or disable as we know from the recent attack at Dicks restaurant and other terrorist attacks;
2) police had 14 seconds to respond and they might have tried the pepper spray in one hand while aiming the gun with the other;
3) police at the start of the non-custodial interview could have secured the available knives or at least asked about them and looked for them.
The part of the public that is black (or complaining or whatever) may need to be told that if you approach a police officer with a knife in your hand, without a lawful reason and with hostile intent or using profanity and threats, you will be shot, sprayed or tased . . . and if the threat is fast-moving or if the distance is small, you will *probably* be shot. It is not a secret.
So, I propose a press conference or a public meeting in which the police chief or trainer or spokesman can let people know that rushing an officer with a knife usually gets you killed. You may have a 50% or better chance of getting killed that way, especially if the distance is small and there are fewer than 3 officers as back up . . . Stop the presses, this is news.
Police objections . . . 1) they can’t seize any and all kitchen knives and 2) they tend to be not using force very fast.
I will bet a dollar that the 2 spd officers now wish they had in fact checked and secured the area for knives before everything began and despite knife-checks perhaps not being a part of their training for crime report interviews and whether or not courts allow them to check for weapons at a non-custodial interview with a known scissor wielder. You don’t have to take the knives away, just put them all in one place and/or a closed drawer and watch them till the interview is over.
If I were known for having brandished or having swung wildly or swung at a person or any local law enforcement officer my katana and if police later came out to visit me for a crime report, would it be impolite or would it be good common sense to ask where the katanas and any other knives or weapons are? Or, do “we” and spd officers just assume that because the mental health court or a Seattle court has told her to get rid of her “weapons,” that she has in fact done so? “You” think she would get rid of her scissors and butcher knives and kitchen knives? The woman has abused drugs and alcohol and is in mental health court and spd is on hopium and an overdose of politeness and so does not ask her where her knives are?
The officers had about 14 seconds to respond. A few years ago, I was walking at Greenlake and a guy swung his skateboard at me and touched me with a glancing blow. I was wearing pepper spray on my right wrist and I immediately moved it to my palm and was about to spray him when he turned and left. If I had practiced beforehand, he would have been sprayed more quickly. Even so, he almost got pepper sprayed within a few seconds.
Death was not a deterrent for Charleena, but she might have been stopped by pain. We don’t know and it would still have been dangerous. If officers had used pepper spray and then had shot her, some of the public would be blaming them for “escalating” the situation by using both the spray and the guns.
When confronting a person who is threatening yourself or others with a weapon, a person would naturally display and pull out all appropriate weapons in response, and depending on the distance, use them. Having pepper spray with me once reduced the likelihood that I got clobbered with a skate-board with a 2nd blow. I have never used the pepper spray on a person; my attacker was rational enough to not stay where he was, but he also knew he was about to be sprayed. Some attackers at Greenlake apparently don’t notice the weapons.
The problem in this hypothetical is that Charleena could have seen the officer putting pepper spray in his palm and, with suicide as her intent, rushed upon him in the fraction of a second before he began to spray her . . . and the public would still be blaming the guy for escalating the situation. Also, if an officer is thinking about his pepper spray that could distract him from firing when he needs to, unless he has had training and practice to do both spray and fire.
Officer safety is not good when confronted by a person with a knife at less than 10 feet. However, it seems that Charleena was not rushing them for the first 10 or 12 seconds and her approach was presumably gradual. Officers had 14 seconds or slightly more.
The attn for the family or members of the family has said that officers could have talked or “de-escalated” things. We would hope that when a man is walking down the street with knife in hand, that officers speak to him calmly and peacefully at 15 feet away, but any officer or person lacks the ability to de-escalate a situation, with a person with hostile or aggressive intent, at 4 feet.