I just read the transcript of the conversations of officers with Charleena Lyles as found at king5 and there does not seem to be any weapons check at the beginning of the conversation.
Because I am suing the city of Seattle on the topic of their knife laws, I have talked with a handful of other people in other places about knife use and knife laws.
There is a leading guy who helps do lobbying of legislatures on the topic of knives and I was talking with him about the knife laws in Arizona. Down in Arizona, if and when you are stopped by law enforcement or confronted or checked by law enforcement for some purposes, including times as simple as a traffic stop, law enforcement may or will begin some conversations by asking if you have a weapon with you or on you (and this would include knives with you). Legally you need to tell the law enforcement officer about your weapons with you, or, if you do not do so and you have been asked, you can be charged with form of illegal use of weapons.
The peaceful conversation goes like this some times, from what I have been told,
“Are you carrying any weapons with you?”
“Yes, I have a gun,” or, “Yes, I am carrying a knife.”
“Good; thanks. Don’t touch it and I won’t be drawing my weapon.”
That might be for a peaceful and ordinary traffic stop in which the officer has no reason to suspect resistance or violence, supposedly. At least, the guy in Arizona I talked with seems to have had some conversations like that. The guy in Arizona says that lots of people carry weapons and the police should assume that a lot of their contacts in public with people would be with a person carrying a weapon.
In other situations, police might secure the weapons, secure the person or search for weapons. Of course, some people will be irritated at being searched or being cuffed, but the question is whether you wish to have some 911 calls become more deadly unexpectedly.
And there are people who prefer to tell the truth and even for those people who do not tell the truth, there may be hesitations or contradictions in their behavior or speech if they are being asked and they are lying.
I have peaceful in-person visits with you folks who are law enforcement from time to time, but here in Washington state, no law enforcement person has ever verbally checked me for unknown weapons by asking what I had with me or on me, other than a near-nude walk visit in which one of the officers asked if the short knife I had with me was a fixed blade or folding knife. (The knife was openly visible in a sheath on a lanyard worn around the neck.)
In this case, this woman had, within a month of the deadly visit, menaced officers with a home-adapted weapon.
I don’t know much about the mental state of the mentally troubled persons such as Charleena, but you folks who are law enforcement can consider asking, in some visits, what weapons a person is wearing or has nearby. And if a person volunteers where some weapons are, secure them before the rest of the conversation.
Some people won’t like that if they have their weapons secured when calling in a real or fabricated burglary report . . . but in this case the 2 officers already knew she had used her weapons to menace 2 officers, about 2 weeks previously. And most persons calling in a burglary report are not going to menace officers, but this woman had just done so on a DV call.
And in the transcript found at king5, there is no verbal check for weapons at the beginning of the conversation.
If you folks need or wish to talk with a mentally unbalanced person who has previously menanced an officer or a member of the public with weapons, then, one way to begin is to check her for weapons first and ensure she is not armed or able to be armed.
Some of you folks in Seattle may be being overly polite.
I thought of making a sign and walking with it suggesting that Charleena had committed suicide by cop. I am not sure if it would have helped, but I also wonder about the people blaming police.
It seems like, if you check for weapons, in 10% of situations or 5% or 2%, you would reduce suicide by cop.