Family criticizes Spokane Police Department for not releasing more footage from deadly shooting

The Spokane Police Department released some of the body camera footage from the night an officer shot and killed a man in his own yard.

In January, a neighbor called 911 to report David Novak was shooting at her and yelling racial slurs. When police got on scene, they thought Novak had a gun. Officers said he ignored commands to drop what was in his hands and an officer shot and killed him.

Later, investigators learned he had been beating a baseball bat against his car. No gun was found anywhere on the property.

In August, Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said Brandon Rankin, the officer who shot and killed Novak, would not face charges connected to the shooting.

The Novak family confronted members of the Spokane Police department before new video and some 911 calls were released to the media Friday morning. They claimed they found out last minute about the media briefing and demanded they be allowed to join it.

They were barred from the briefing and told to wait outside the building. Sgt. Terry Preuninger didn’t elaborate on why they were not allowed inside.

“I know it is frustrating for you, as you said earlier,” Sgt.Preuninger said. “That’s why you should go to them [the media] for that information.”

The Novak family was visibly frustrated.

“You’re sick,” Crystal Novak said.

Her mother continued to press Sgt. Preuninger for more information about why they haven’t been contacted more regarding updates in the case. She also criticized the department for not being transparent.

“Other people that were eye witnesses seen a lot of stuff. You guys so screwed up,” Debbie Novak said. “It’s so devaluing to David and to us.”

Lt. Troy Tiegen and Capt. Brad Arleth led the media briefing Friday. It included two 911 calls where both callers said they heard shots fired. You could hear some of those details come over the scanner in Officer Rankin’s vehicle as he rushed to the scene.

Officer Rankin was about two houses down while he and other officers ordered Novak to drop what they believed was a firearm in his hands. Officers said he wasn’t listening and that’s when Rankin shot Novak one time.

Officers later said they couldn’t see Novak after Rankin fired. So, they called in an armored vehicle for backup so they could get closer.

Capt. Arleth said about 18 minutes passed between when Novak was shot and officers were able to get close to him and start life-saving efforts. When 4 News Now asked if it usually takes that long for an armored vehicle to get on scene, Arleth called that a “pretty fast” response.

Novak’s family has claimed that footage doesn’t tell the entire story. They’ve called on the department to release all the video from that night.

Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl explained that the video and audio released Friday morning was among “the most relevant to the case.” He said it takes months to go through all the body camera video and redact personal information. The remaining footage will be released eventually.

Meantime, the Novak’s attorney, Rondi Thorp, released a statement on behalf of the Novak family.

Here is a screenshot from that letter (1/2). The Novak family said earlier today the police department isn’t keeping them updated on when they plan to share info publicly.

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) September 27, 2019

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