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Charleena Lyles Inquest Provides "Peek Behind the Curtain"

Notes from the Emerald City
Charleena Lyles Inquest Provides "Peek Behind the Curtain"
By Amy Sundberg • Issue #72 • View online

Charleena Lyles Inquest Case
The big news this past week has been the jury’s findings in the Charleena Lyles inquest case that the two SPD officers used reasonable force when shooting Lyles back in 2017. You can read more about the verdict here, here, and here. As Erica C. Barnett from Publicola reported:
After the ruling, the attorney for Lyles’ family, Karen Koehler, said in a statement that the family “does not blame the jury” for finding that SPD followed its policies, because “SPD’s policies practices and procedures are designed specifically to allow an officer to shoot and kill a person in mental crisis with a paring knife.”
And on last week’s Hacks and Wonks podcast, EJ Juarez said:
I think what happened here is we got to peek behind the curtain, where this process actually showed that the policies and procedures of that department, which is charged with upholding the law and protecting people, is not actually designed to do that. And so this inquest found that despite all these numerous things that could have been done differently, all of these steps - which weren’t taken and which were - resulted in, largely, law enforcement officers following procedure and it still resulting in the death of a person. And I think that’s probably the most damning and heartbreaking piece of this - if the policy and procedures for law enforcement are truly designed to be followed the way that they were and it still results in the death of a person struggling with mental health, are those policies and procedures valid? Are they necessary? Are they the right policies and procedures?
Seattle News
Some quick news items:
  • SPD and the City filed a petition in King County Superior Court asking the Court to reverse an arbitration decision that gave a parking enforcement officer his job back after he was fired for wishing we could “bring back lynching.”
  • The members of the search committee for the new SPD Chief have been announced.
  • A deal between the city and the county was finalized to fund JustCare, although it will be continuing in a new form. Seattle has promised up to $4.4m to continue to support a diversion-based program that will provide 80 beds of hotel shelter through the end of the year. The County will be using state money that was allocated to clear homeless encampments located along state highway rights of way and to provide shelter and wraparound services to the people living there to continue funding some hotel beds. 
  • Seattle’s Redistricting Commission will begin creating their final proposal soon. They are scheduled to solicit public comment on their proposal beginning in August and continuing through September and October. They must submit their final redistricting plan to the County by November 15 at the latest. This plan could have a substantial impact on the City Council elections in November 2023.
King County News
The King County Sheriff’s Office has announced a new community advisory board, as well as two new divisions: a community programs division and a special operations division. Details about the community advisory board are still thin on the ground.
Recent Headlines
Judge orders Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer to post $100,000 bail, finds him ‘a substantial danger’ after anti-harassment order | The Seattle Times
Seattle police watchdog investigating leak of memo detailing sexual assault staffing crisis | The Seattle Times
Reports show King County Sheriff’s deputies disproportionately target communities of color | June 29-July 5, 2022 | Real Change
Council Could Place Ranked-Choice Voting On Ballot; Ballard Commons Still on Slow Track to Reopening - PubliCola
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Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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