SPD officer indicted in Otto Zehm death - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

INSIDE>> Court Documents: Indictment of Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson

SPD officer indicted in Otto Zehm death

Posted: Updated: June 22, 2009 04:05 PM PDT
A federal grand jury has indicted Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson A federal grand jury has indicted Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson

Thomas Clouse
The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. - Just days after city officials essentially blamed Otto Zehm for his own death, a federal grand jury has indicted the first officer who responded to the confrontation that resulted in Zehm's death and sparked a cry for citizen police oversight.

More information from

- SPD officer indicted in Otto Zehm death

www.spokesman.com

U.S. Attorney James McDevitt announced that the grand jury has indicted veteran Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, who was the first of seven officers to confront Zehm, a 36-year-old janitor who had schizophrenia. Zehm died two days after he was beaten with a baton, shocked multiple times with a Taser and hogtied inside the Zip Trip at 1712 N. Division St.

Spokane Police officials initially claimed that Zehm attacked Thompson, but later recanted that claim after video surveillance tapes showed Zehm retreating and only holding 2-liter soda bottle in front of his face while Thompson struck him with a baton.

On Friday, city officials essentially blamed Zehm for the encounter, saying that "Zehm knew or should have known that he was being detained by a peace officer and had the duty to refrain from using force to resist such detention."

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