Spokane Human Rights Commission urges calm, thoughtfulness as Derek Chauvin trial nears a verdict

Spokane Police Swat Team Downtown Protest

SPOKANE, Wash. — Derek Chauvin’s murder trial is in the hands of the jury tonight. Some big U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, are preparing for potential unrest, but no decision has been made to do the same here in Spokane.

4 News Now reached out to city’s Human Rights Commission about bracing for the verdict and what follows.

The Derek Chauvin trial is coming to a close and many people, especially communities of color, are hoping for closure.

That hasn’t happened in other cases — some verdicts have led to rioting.

The City of Spokane has not made a decision to increase police patrols or security, but the city’s Human Rights Commission says if it were to happen — it would be thoughtful, not threatening.

“I don’t think that an organization or a municipality preparing in advance is necessarily a sign that there’s already been a predetermined outcome,” said commissioner Lance Kissler, “what I think it shows is that they’re being thoughtful and attentive to the issues that are at hand, if we really want to help ensure that our community stays safe.”

At the same time, Kissler agrees the verdict, just like the trial itself, will take an emotional toll on members of our community.

He thinks we should be sensitive to that.

“What we’re really focusing in on or we want to encourage people to do is… take stock in whatever the outcome is, and to really be mindful, thoughtful and respectful of your peers, your friends, your neighbors, your loved ones,” said Kissler. “As you process, what the outcome is and whatever emotions come with that.”

We’ve seen those emotions lead to marches through downtown with people wanting their voices to be heard.

The Human Rights Commission supports those actions as long as they stay peaceful.

“If folks do want to express their concerns, they want to protest, they certainly can, but please do so in a manner that takes into account the safety of your friends relatives and loved ones and neighbors your fellow community members,” urged Kissler.

“I know that there can be emotions regardless of what the outcome is, no matter what your position is so my hope would be that we as a community come together and respond to it in a safe manner in a thoughtful manner and figure out how to move forward together,” said Kissler.