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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

City Council approves payment in $4 million settlement with family of man killed by police

Oct. 25, 2022 Updated Tue., Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:11 p.m.

Debbie Novak, center, and her daughter, Crystal Jenkins, stand outside the courtroom and talk to media while holding a photo that includes Novak’s son, David, on Thursday at the Spokane County Courthouse.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Debbie Novak, center, and her daughter, Crystal Jenkins, stand outside the courtroom and talk to media while holding a photo that includes Novak’s son, David, on Thursday at the Spokane County Courthouse. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The Spokane City Council on Monday approved payment to the family of a man killed by police in 2019. The family had settled its lawsuit against the city for $4 million last month.

David Novak, 35, was shot and killed the night of Jan. 7, 2019, after neighbors reported he was drunk, shouting racial slurs at them and shooting a gun toward their home.

But Novak didn’t have a gun. The noises that sounded like gunshots turned out to be Novak slamming a baseball bat against his own truck.

In September, his family settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $4 million.

The city has to pay $1.5 million of the settlement before their insurers step in to pay the rest.

Family friend of the Novaks and police accountability activist Anwar Peace spoke in favor of the settlement at Monday’s meeting.

“The city has now finally admitted the death of David Novak should never have happened,” Peace said. “And that this large settlement can start to give David’s family some sense of peace of mind and some justice over the loss of their loved one at the hands of police.”

The city did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. The council unanimously voted to approve the payment.

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