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Spokane Group Demands Defunding Of Police Department

Spokane Community Against Racism/Facebook Live

On this Juneteenth remembrance day, members of the Spokane Community Against Racism issued a set of demands for reforming the Spokane Police Department.

Group members held a rally in the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place, next to Spokane Falls and City Hall. Member Jac Archer began reading the organization’s Platform for Change.

“We believe it is necessary to start fresh. Firstly, disband the police department and hire a smaller group of officers to carry out narrowly-defined law enforcement duties," Archer said. "In 2016, the Police Leadership Advisory Committee put together recommendations for hiring a new police chief. They were great recommendations and they could have revolutionized the culture of the SPD and they were ignored.”

Black Lens newspaper publisher Sandy Williams said it’s been seven years since Spokane voters approved a ballot measure authorizing civilian oversight of police. And they’re still waiting.

The group demanded that any labor contract with officers in Spokane state that the Office of Police Ombudsman will be fully empowered to investigate incidents of misconduct. They demanded that Spokane Public Schools remove all police officers from its schools. And there were others, including the money saved from disbanding the police department would instead be routed to an underfunded social safety network.

Rev. Walter Kendricks said the group is stating its desires as demands because it’s time to take bold action.

“I’m tired of asking. I demand my rights. It goes back to where I was. We the people. I’m one of those people," Kendricks said.

He says he demands the right to be treated fairly, to health care and a decent education and to be able to use financial institutions to access capital for a home or business.