On the heels of a controversial acquittal in the Spokane murder trial of a white man accused of shooting a black man in the back, a coalition of historically black churches and community groups will march in Spokane Saturday to demand racial equity in Spokane’s criminal justice system.
The March for Racial Justice was spurred by a not guilty verdict for Edward Bushnell, who shot Walter Poindexter in the back after trying to stop Poindexter from beating his girlfriend. But it hopes to arrest larger inequities in the criminal justice system, including the higher rates of incarceration and police stops for people of color in Spokane.
Organizers include the Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship, the Spokane NAACP and the Spokane Community Against Racism.
Bushnell was charged with murder, but a jury determined he acted in self-defense. According to court documents, witnesses said Poindexter was about 30 feet from Bushnell and walking away when Bushnell shot him.
Both the verdict and media coverage of it, which largely left the races of the men unmentioned, led to a community meeting with discussion of a possible march later.
At that event, the Rev. Walter Kendricks, president of the Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship, said it concerned him that 12 people decided shooting a man in the back was OK.
“We have to start, honestly, looking at ourselves,” he said. “That verdict did not come in a vacuum.”
The march will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Park in East Central Neighborhood and head to the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Altamont Street, where Poindexter was killed.
At 2 p.m. marchers will return to Liberty Park for the Juneteenth barbecue, which celebrates the freeing of African-American slaves following the Civil War on June 19, 1865.
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