Protesters gather ahead of City Council’s vote on Spokane Police Guild contract
SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of people gathered outside of Spokane City Hall Monday afternoon to protest the proposed Police Guild contract.
The council is set to vote on the contract on Monday evening.
The $6.2 million contract, which has come under scrutiny since it was announced in early June, hopes to address many grievances regarding police accountability – especially with police reform on the radar of protesters nationwide.
Some argue the contract would allow for less oversight for the police department. Much of the controversy is directly related to what kind of power the Office of the Police Ombudsman has; the ombudsman investigates claims of police mistreatment.
“Our system is not being called to reform. It’s not being called to reconstruct. It’s being called to transform. That is the real message behind all of this. Even the people within the system get that. They’re just not sure in what they want to sacrifice in getting there,” said Kurtis Robinson, president of NAACP Spokane.
Protesters were outside Spokane City Hall making their voices heard Monday afternoon. They want Spokane City Council to know that the Police Guild contract does not cut it.
“Nobody is against police officers. They are our brothers, they are our sisters. We need to look at how we educate our police officers. We need to teach them tactics that promote peace and safety,” said Dustin Jolly, Occupy Spokane.
Protesters said the Police Guild contract needs to provide solutions to the issues they’ve been fighting for, including de-escalation training for officers.
“I expect more out of our police department. I expect more out of our police department,” said Debbie Novak, mother of David Novak.
Debbie Novak was protesting Monday on behalf of her son, David.
“My son David Novak was murdered in his front yard, as he was entering his house on January 7, 2019. He was shot in the back by officer Brandon Ranken and he was unarmed,” Novak said.
She said Spokane Police have not been disclosing information in her son’s case in a timely manner.
Novak is protesting for police transparency.
“Don’t try and tell me that you’re being transparent, Chief Meidl, when it takes you seven-and-a-half months to to respond back to a family that you have murdered one of their children. That’s ridiculous,” Novak said.
These people said they only want one answer from council Monday and that’s no. If they approve it, protesters said they’ll continue making their voices heard.
“That’s just going to be, you know – I mean, you thought you saw marches before. Right? I’m just going to let that speak on its own,” Robinson said.
The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane argues the proposed contract will make officers less accountable by weakening the power of the ombudsman.
Meantime, Mayor Nadine Woodward, who was endorsed by the police guild during her campaign, says reform has to come after a deal is reached. Her office approved the contract several weeks ago.
The Police Ombudsman argued that he would not be able to carry out independent investigations and would only be allowed to participate in the police’s internal investigations. He would also not be able to discipline officers, as that duty falls in the purview of the Police Chief.
The vote is set to happen during the council’s 6 p.m. meeting. 4 News Now will be in attendance.
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