SPOKANE, WA. --- On the fourth day of the criminal trial for Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, the prosecution called human factors expert Dr. Richard Gill to the stand to analyze the confrontation that led to the death of 36 year old Otto Zehm. On March 18, 2006 Thompson entered a Zip Trip, at 1712 N. Division St., with information that Zehm, a disabled man, may have robbed two women in a car using a nearby ATM. That information later proved to be false. Federal prosecutors say Zehm entered the convenience store, which he routinely visited, to buy a soft drink and fast food.
Dr. Gill said he analyzed the security footage, looked at scale drawings of the Zip Trip and went to the gas station several times to view it for himself. He says he spoke with the I. T. guys that maintain the Zip Trip cameras to obtain needed technical information and reviewed police statements from Officer Thompson and others.
In court on Tuesday Gill broke down the security footage up to the second. He analyzed the behaviors, mannerisms and walking speed as the confrontation progressed. Gill said Zehm's behaviors never changed as Thompson entered the store. He testified that Officer Thompson's decision to use his baton was made before his entrance.
Also Tuesday morning Judge Van Sickel asked the jury to disregard the testimony from Leroy Colvin on Tuesday when he referred to the situation as a "possible robbery." Colvin was the Zip Trip cashier at the time of the incident.
Stay with KHQ Local News all day long for updates in the Karl Thompson trial as they happen. At some point on Tuesday the prosecution is expected to call Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks to the stand. Following the incident in 2006, Nicks initially said that Officer Thompson used baton strikes and a taser because Zehm refused to obey commands.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:25:07 GMT
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