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Spokane Sheriff, NAACP Agree To Study Racial Arrest Disparities

Spokane Sheriff's Department

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Department and Spokane chapter of the NAACP have announced their agreement to study racial disparities in arrests in the county.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane NAACP President Kurtis Robinson and Spokane NAACP Vice President Kiantha Duncan explained the project at a news conference on Wednesday.

According to the agreement, these are the three action items:

1) Conduct an internal cultural inventory using an outside source, incorporating community accountability mechanisms, to evaluate the Department’s racial inclusion and race equity-based competence;

2) Develop a race equity strategic plan; implemented in a long-term, sustainable fashion.

3) Generate a commission report on stops, arrests, and use of force that includes a breakdown by race, gender and areas/districts.

Knezovich says the partners will begin working on item 1 immediately, hoping to begin the audit of the sheriff’s department in September. He acknowledged county arrest statistics show African Americans and Native Americans are arrested at higher rates than their demographic percentage.