Veterans For Peace calls on the Mayor to fire Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole over recent police shooting
We re re-posting this letter at this time which was originally posted in June.
The Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace calls on Mayor Murray to fire police Chief Kathleen O’Toole over the police killing of Charleena Lyles.
Veterans For Peace believes someone must be held accountable in this unnecessary death in order for justice to be served for Charleena and her family.
The police officers involved in the shooting will not be held accountable because of the impossible bar set for conviction under state law– using deadly force with “malice” or “evil intent”. It is clear that the police chief, who is ultimately responsible, has failed to ensure that her officers were adequately trained, carrying the right equipment, and knew how to de-escalate a situation.
Five years into police reform and the consent decree, the officers should have known how to deal with the situation. Five years into police reform and the consent decree and the officers did not have a Taser for use of less than deadly force. Five years into police reform and the consent decree, the officers did not employ an alternative to less than deadly force by using pepper spray and/or their batons. Five years into police reform and the consent decree, the officers did not respond to the situation that clearly called for de-escalation tactics to subdue a 90 pound pregnant woman that they knew had mental health issues.
While we wait for the official review and investigation to be completed, we already know enough that a reasonable person would conclude that the killing was not warranted nor justified. The SPD failed to do everything in their power to not take a life. Five years into police reform and the consent decree, the officers went with a shoot first policy. And ultimately, the chief of police has to be accountable for the killing of this human being.
Do black lives matter in “progressive” Seattle? Not unless the Mayor holds the SPD accountable and fires police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and we get the real police reform that would have saved the life of Charleena Lyles and would have provided her with the help she needed. Mayor Murray, it's time to act and do the right thing.
Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace is part of national organization of veterans who went to war and now work for peace.