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Dori: Time for Councilmember Kshama Sawant to apologize

Kshama Sawant. (Seattle Channel)
LISTEN: Dori Monson: Time for Kshama Sawant to apologize

A multi-member Force Review Board explained why the two Seattle Police officers who shot and killed Charleena Lyles on June 18 had no other viable options.

RELATED: Let’s not let Charleena Lyles’ death be in vain

And now it is time for Councilmember Kshama Sawant to apologize.

Sawant, who has been sued for slander by two police officers involved in another shooting, wants the courts to assume her innocent until proven guilty. This standard that she expects — that we all expect — is one that she continually refuses to grant to police officers in this city.

She has sharply criticized the Seattle Police Department for their actions surrounding the Charleena Lyles shooting, well before all the facts came out. She has manipulated the emotions surrounding the tragic death of Lyles to drum up public hatred for Seattle cops.

The Force Review Board’s report, which The Seattle Times reported was even longer and more exhaustive than usual, explains in detail why Tasers, pepper spray, and batons were not appropriate alternatives to using lethal force against Lyles.

Neither officer involved had a Taser. Steven McNew was not assigned one. Jason Anderson’s had a dead battery. But even if both officers had working Tasers, the report states they likely wouldn’t have been effective because the devices don’t work through baggy clothing. Lyles was wearing a puffy jacket.

Pepper spray also would have been unsuccessful. Given the small size of the apartment, pepper spray might have disabled Lyles. But it also might have disabled the police officers themselves, making them even more vulnerable to attack.

Although both officers were carrying batons, the apartment space was too small to draw and use them effectively. And because Lyles was wielding a knife, the officers were not to engage in hand-to-hand combat.

The report states, “One well-placed slash or stab wound can cause an individual to rapidly bleed out.”

The fact of the matter is that cops have to rely on training, policies, guidelines, and experience. The nobility of the job calls them to risk their lives for all of us.

I will call out cops who do wrong and I often have, but the Charleena Lyles shooting, as horrible as the outcome was for her and her family, was not the fault of the two police officers involved. They couldn’t back out with children at risk in the apartment. Any option less lethal would have been in violation of their training.

It’s time to ditch the running narrative that all Seattle police officers are out to shoot, rather than protect.

It’s time for Councilmember Sawant to apologize.

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