Last year, on June 24, a 20-year-old named Giovann Joseph-McDade was shot to death by Kent police. The inquest hearing investigating the circumstances of his death by law enforcement was held in December. His mother, Sonia Joseph, was not prepared emotionally or financially for what befell her.
Supporters hope Initiative 940 will change Washington state policy so fatal police shootings happen less often and so there’s more accountability when they occur. Gathering on a few Seattle City Hall steps Friday, a crowd representing 33 different families impacted by police killings gathered in support of I-940 in the hopes of preventing future deaths.
The Puget Sound region witnessed a slew of police killings in the past year: Renee Davis Oct. 21, 2016, Jacqueline Salyers on Jan. 28, Daniel Covarrubias in April, Tommy Le June 13, Charleena Lyles June 18, Giovonn Joseph-McDade June 24. All of them were people of color. Salyers, Davis and Lyles were all pregnant when killed.
“What else did we think would come with this when the police are investigating themselves,” asked Katrina Johnson, Lyles’ cousin. “They keep killing people and getting away with it.”
Photos captured through that event (June 25, 2017) can be seen through my Flickr account. Some photos were published with South Seattle Emerald.
After the death of Charleena Lyles, a black pregnant mother shot and killed by two Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant requested a public hearing at the UW’s Kane Hall between the Lyles family and SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
The chief, however, declined to participate. O’Toole’s response stated Sawant’s request via email had “a disappointing level of ignorance of SPD policies and clear disdain for the investigatory process and review that SPD is court mandated to follow.” SPD has, however, done such public hearings before. The department held a heated public discussion last year with family after Che Taylor, a black man, died at the hands of SPD. O’Toole went on to write that had Sawant “expressed any interest in our work over the past three years…we would have gladly welcomed the invitation to engage.”
Seattle’s jagged mountains were shaded blue the morning Charleena Lyles was fatally shot by Steven McNew and Jason Anderson of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), matching that of the community’s reaction to such police violence: tragic and somewhat jaded, topped with anger as sharp as the rocky skyline.
Lyles’ death tacks on yet another name to the list of people killed by police since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot in 2014, when the nation decided it had enough and finally started taking note. Lyles was a mother of four, and was reportedly pregnant.
The planning was set over the course of a week, organized by three core members. This year’s Pride Parade would feature a surprise altar for Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant mother of four killed by Seattle Police Department officers Steven McNew and Jason Anderson on June 18.