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Family of bat-wielding victim in officer-involved shooting picket outside courthouse, seek answers

March 7, 2019 Updated Thu., March 7, 2019 at 10:10 p.m.

Garry Creel, left, stepfather of of David Novak,  with Novak’s mother, Debbie Novak, on Thursday outside the Spokane County Courthouse. Family and friends are seeking release of body-camera footage and the 911 call recording from the officer-involved shooting in which David Novak died. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)
Garry Creel, left, stepfather of of David Novak, with Novak’s mother, Debbie Novak, on Thursday outside the Spokane County Courthouse. Family and friends are seeking release of body-camera footage and the 911 call recording from the officer-involved shooting in which David Novak died. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)

The family of a man shot and killed by police in January picketed Thursday outside of the Spokane County Courthouse to raise awareness about what they call an unjust officer-involved killing.

David Novak died on Jan. 7 after police responded to a 911 caller who said Novak was wielding a gun in a north Spokane neighborhood. Police arrived and shot and killed Novak after hearing loud bangs, but only a baseball bat was found near him. One witness said Novak was holding the bat and slamming it into a truck, making a sound similar to a gunshot.

Novak’s mother, Debbie Novak, said she and friends and family are picketing the seventh day of each month until the Spokane Police Department gives them answers about the shooting. They began picketing last month.

“We still have gotten absolutely no explanation,” she said.

Debbie Novak is calling for the body-camera footage and the 911 recording to be released. She also said family members are considering filing a lawsuit.

The family also is upset at the 911 caller, neighbor Joylyn Maze, who said Novak was shouting racist slurs and holding a gun.

The family claims that was a false report he used to get police to more urgently respond to an argument between Novak and Maze the night Novak died.

Maze told The Spokesman-Review that Novak fired the gun at him, but police said they found no evidence of gunfire.

Maze is in the Spokane County Jail for a DUI conviction and was unable to be reached for comment.

Michele Anderson, a police department spokeswoman, said police can’t release information on the investigation and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office handles 911 recordings.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Mark Gregory said detectives are still investigating the shooting and cannot release footage or recordings until it is complete.

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