Charleena Lyles, 30, a distraught woman with babies in her house and pregnant with another, called the police in fear because she believed there was an attempted burglary of her house. She was carrying a knife, and the officers discharged their weapons because this unnerved them, and they killed her. She was afraid and she armed herself. And this was no protection. She was afraid and called the police--and that was no protection.
Maybe she wasn't thinking clearly--maybe she wasn't. Who does at all times? When your home and your kids are threatened, and you have stressors and wonder if some thief in the night is going to take away something of yours, what is clear and logical thinking? She called the cops--that's what you're supposed to do. She worried what would happen if they didn't come on time, which can happen, too. She armed herself with what she had at hand. That made a kind of sense, too.
And it killed her.
Calling the cops shouldn't have killed this young woman with so much life ahead of her. I don't know what training tells cops they have to shoot to kill someone who is agitated and scared and armed and might not even be thinking straight. I wish every training about how to be human in this world would have told them to just stop and think first--not "police training"--just being human training. She deserved that as a citizen. She deserved protection from harm. Her death is a disservice to the public.
I share in mourning with her family and lift her name up in my thoughts. Charleena Lyles--we'll say her name. But that is not enough. Maybe if we learn from her loss how to understand victims, the mentally distraught, the unpredictable, but harmless caller for help--maybe that makes her death a little less in vain.
But she still deserved better. Her family deserved better. And better can definitely be achieved.