Spokane City Council approves payment for defense against a civil lawsuit brought by the family of a man who was shot dead by police in 2019
Spokane police shot dead 35-year-old David Novak who they believed was armed with a gun. It was later discovered that his weapon was a metal bat and not a firearm.
SPOKANE, Washington – Spokane City Council received $ 100,000 to pay for legal defense for civil lawsuit filed against the city.
David Novak’s family filed the lawsuit in January this year after he died in January 2019 outside his home with a police officer he shot at. Novak’s family believe the Spokane police wrongly shot and killed him.
At this point, police assume he had a gun based on 911 calls. However, they later found out that it was just a metal baseball bat.
Seven months after his death, the Spokane County attorney ruled that lethal violence was warranted.
Authorities said the 911 operator said Novak was drunk walking to see three men in front of a house. During the interview, the complainant said that Novak had started using racist slurs against the three men and, according to the authorities, had stated several times that he was a member of the “KKK”.
Police say Novak went back to his house. He called the three men back and threatened to kill / shoot the men who, according to authorities, called 911 shortly after the encounter.
RELATED: Novak Family Attorney Says SPD Body Cam Video “Creates Serious Doubts”
Outraged by this decision, the Novak family filed a civil lawsuit to bring the police to justice. They filed a lawsuit for damages against the city of Spokane in the Spokane County Court in January 2021.
The complaint specifically lists former Mayor David Condon, SPD leader Craig Meidl, the official who shot Novak Brandon Rankin, the county of Spokane and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
The lawsuit alleges the city used unnecessary force, excessive force and assault and assault against Novak. His family also alleges that the SPD did not inform them in time of David’s death or did not properly train officials in the use of force.
Two months later, city lawyers responded to the compliance and dismissed almost all of the claims in the lawsuit. To be clear, this civil case is pending which means Spokane City and Police are unable to comment on it at this time.
RELATED: Spokane Man Who Was Killed By Police Said He Was A Member Of ‘KKK’
Novak’s mother, Debbie, told Amanda Roley of KREM 2 that this pending lawsuit is making it difficult to graduate.
“We really don’t have a closure and the more time goes by and more things come to light, the less closure we have,” said Debbie.
She said there was no dollar that would make up for David’s death. What she wants most from the suit is to see the cop who shot and killed her son to face the consequences.
“My ultimate goal is that Officer Rankin is held accountable for his actions,” said Debbie.
She also hopes this case will create a policy for the police to notify families in good time if their loved ones are killed by the police.
“We are not notified, we do not get any cooperation from the police – and from day one,” said Debbie. “The way I and my family have been treated is so disrespectful. You just feel powerless.”
The civil case is due to be heard in June next year.