Yesterday afternoon, Council member Lorena Gonzalez announced that she would be hosting a “town hall forum” to discuss the killing of Charleena Lyles at the hands of two Seattle police officers last Sunday.
The public hearing will be Tuesday, June 27 at 6:00pm, in Kane Hall room 130 on the University of Washington campus. Gonzalez is organizing it “in partnership with the Community Police Commission and community based organizations,” according to her announcement. The forum will be moderated by Patricia Lally, Director of the city’s Office for Civil Rights.
Tensions have been high in the community all week since the event, as the police’s internal investigation proceeds and details of what transpired slowly trickle out. Earlier in the week, Council member Kshama Sawant began circulating a petition calling for an “independent, community-based investigation” into the incident. Sawant’s petition reads:
We, the undersigned, have no confidence that an internal police investigation will find justice for Charleena. We demand Seattle’s Mayor and City Council appoint an independent, community-based committee, empowered to investigate Charleena’s killing, with full access to case evidence, witnesses, and department policies. Nationwide, of 1,155 people killed by police in 2016, only 13 officers were charged, and none convicted. Going forward, we need democratically elected community oversight boards with full powers to hold police departments accountable.
Tuesday’s forum will also be livestreamed on the Seattle Channel.