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Spokane NAACP meets as jury deliberates Chauvin case: ‘You hope for the best, but you expect the worst’

UPDATED: Mon., April 19, 2021

Kiantha Duncan, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, will host a conversation on Sunday with Arthur McFarlane II, the great-grandson of W.E.B. DuBois sponsored by the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Kiantha Duncan, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, will host a conversation on Sunday with Arthur McFarlane II, the great-grandson of W.E.B. DuBois sponsored by the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Count the Spokane NAACP community among those waiting on pins and needles for the verdict in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Many expressed such feelings during the NAACP’s general membership meeting Monday night as they awaited the jury’s verdict in the death of George Floyd.

“You hope for the best, but you expect the worst,” said Cupid Alexander. “You don’t want to go either way,” he said.

Alexander was hired this year as the division director of neighborhoods, housing and human services for the city of Spokane.

NAACP President Kiantha Duncan looked to those in attendance Monday to enact change locally.

“We have to do this together and whatever you want to see for the city of Spokane, you can make it possible, we can make it possible,” Duncan said. “We can do it together, but it will require you to bring your voice and bring your resources.”

Duncan asked those in attendance Monday night on what the NAACP, as an organization, can do in the Spokane area. Some suggested pushing for varieties of police reform, such as greater accountability or methods of nonconfrontational law enforcement.

Floyd’s death in May 2020 sparked weeks of protesting throughout Spokane that were largely peaceful. After the largest protest and march on the Spokane County Courthouse, groups grew violent and looted the downtown Nike store. The incident led to Spokane Police and other law enforcement using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

During part of Monday’s meeting in Spokane, Duncan talked through social media messages shared in recent days from those in, or connected to, the Spokane community. The posts included phrases like “Prayers are not enough” and “We’ll stop protesting when you start protecting.”

“It keeps going on, and on, and on, and on, and on,” said the Rev. Betty Krafft.

“And it doesn’t seem like there is will within those of us who have the ability to make the changes to either face what’s going on or make the changes that are necessary.”

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