Police release all documents related to Otto Zehm investigation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Police release all documents related to Otto Zehm investigation

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department on Friday released all the documents in its investigation of the Otto Zehm beating case - several hundred pages in all.

In those documents, the officer who first made contact with Zehm said Zehm had a two liter bottle in his hands.  He said he refused to put the bottle down, so he decided to make contact with Zehm.  Surveillance video shows Zehm walking to an end-cap display in the store, but it does not show whether he had a bottle in his hand.

The officer goes on to say that once he made contact with Zehm, it was like "having a tiger by its tail", and that he became afraid of Zehm.  The officer then used a taser in attempt to gain control over Zehm, but the taser did not work.  He said he contined hitting him with a baton to make surrender Zehm's only option.

According to the investigation, it took only 19 minutes from the time the officer first made contact with Zehm, to the time Zehm stopped breathing.  A firefighter who treated Zehm said he turned him onto his side and noticed he was purple.  A heart monitor connected to Zehm told him he was dead.  The firefighter thought that was odd due to the fact that people who suffer from cardiac failure usually decline slowly - not all at once.  The firefighter also said that nothing the police officers did to Zehm seemed "over the top".

Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession said on Friday he welcomes a full investigation into the incident.

"This is an unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of someone," said Hession.  "It's tragic for the family and for the officers involved.  But in terms of black eyes - I don't see that."

According to the documents, there was a difference of opinion about how to transport Zehm to the hospital after the incident.  One side wanted to take Zehm by ambulance.  Others wanted to take him in a police car.

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