Saturday June 17, 1pm-2pm
The Spokane Minister’s Fellowship, Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), and Spokane NAACP have organized a March for Racial Justice, being held in conjunction with Spokane’s annual Juneteenth celebration, to highlight the community’s displeasure with the verdict in last month’s Bushnell trial, to address ongoing racial disparities, and to demand justice and racial equity within Spokane’s criminal justice system.
On May 11, 2017, a jury rejected first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges for the 2015 shooting of William Poindexter and instead ruled that it was self-defense for Edward Bushnell to shoot William Poindexter twice in the back as he was walking away. The Spokane Minister’s Fellowship and SCAR believe that the Bushnell verdict was not an isolated event, but one that happened within, and as a result of, a criminal justice system that is broken and riddled with racial disparities.
A snapshot of Spokane’s racial disparities:
- Racial Disparities in Police Use of Force (Spokane Police Department Annual Use of Force Report, 2016)
~33% of Use of Force Incidents in 2016 were African American, Native American, and Hispanic
- Racial Disparities in Officer Stops, Searches and Arrests (Officer Contacts with Civilians and Race in the City of Spokane, Edward Byrnes & Brad Arleth, March 2017)
~African Americans, Native Americans, Middle Easterners, and Pacific Islanders were substantially overrepresented in their proportion of contacts.
~At the City of Spokane level, African Americans and Native Americans were significantly more likely to experience officer-initiated contacts, and to be searched or arrested, in comparison to other racial groups. Native Americans were also more likely to experience a use of force incident.
- Racial Disparities in Jail Confinement Rates (W. Haywood Burns Institute SCLJC Presentation, July 2016)
~In Spokane County for every White adult detained: 7 Blacks and 6 Native Americans were detained (2014)
~In Spokane County for every 1,000 White adults in the population: 18 Whites were detained, 130 Blacks were detained, 30 Latinos were detained (2014)
- Racial Disparities in School Arrests (Spokane Public Schools 2016-2017, as of February)
~52% of Spokane Public School arrests were children of color
In addition to marching, PJALS has been asked to bring our Peacekeeper Team. If you’ve completed our Peacekeeper Training, you can sign up to be part of the team on Saturday at this link.