‘We need to see changes’: Spokane protesters march through downtown ahead of Derek Chauvin trial

SPOKANE, Wash. – Activists in Spokane are standing behind George Floyd’s family, marching in solidarity just days before former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, stands trial for second degree murder.

On Monday, Chauvin will head to court as the jury selection process begins.

Just last May, the officer was seen kneeling on his neck, as he died minutes later. Protests sparked nationwide for weeks, and the weekend before his trial, people came together to do so again.

“No justice, no peace,” protesters chanted at Riverfront Park Saturday afternoon.

“My hopes this week are – we get an opportunity to allow George Floyd to rest in peace, and allow there to be some retribution for the violence we’ve been facing,” said Lacrecia Hill, a protester.

Protesters are also hoping for change for George Floyd, and others, who’ve been victims of police brutality. It’s not just happening in the nation, but in the Spokane community, too.

Debbie Novak went through that devastating situation. She lost her son, David, on January 7, 2019.

A Spokane police officer shot and killed him following a call from a neighbor who claimed David was shooting and yelling racial slurs. When police went to the scene, they tried to talk to him and asked him to stand down.

Officers said they originally thought David had a gun, but an investigation showed he didn’t.

The officer, who fired the shot, did not face charges.

“We need to see changes, we need to work somehow so our police departments become accountable for their actions,” said Novak.

With Chauvin’s trial starting Monday, protesters hope to see accountability. Following the trial and the verdict, they say it doesn’t stop there.

“We’re hoping to see accountability and justice and systemic change. It’s time, it’s been time and we don’t want to see any more lives lost to a problem that’s totally avoidable,” said Alexis Gallaway-Tonasket, with the Human Rights Activist Coterie of Spokane.

They want to see systemic change, so people won’t lose a loved one.

“There’s not much you can do once you’ve lost your loved one. They’re gone,” Novak said. “Hopefully it’ll make a change for another family.”