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Charged and presumed guilty?

Karl F. Thompson, Jr., Spokane Police Officer charged with Otto Zehm's death. (The Spokesman-Review)
Karl F. Thompson, Jr., Spokane Police Officer charged with Otto Zehm's death. (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

Right or wrong, Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson, Jr. is going to be placed on desk duty, pending the outcome of his federal trial in connection with the 2006 death of Otto Zehm. This highly-charge decision came down late yesterday, according to City Officialdom, and the usual cast of characters are already banging their kettles with their spoons.

After the federal charges were filed June 19, a three-member committee – including one employee from the city’s Human Resources Department, one from the Police Department and one from the police union – reviewed the charges and recommended changing Thompson’s duties, city mouthpiece Marlene Feist said in a news release. Thompson will be moved out of the department’s patrol division and placed into a civilian police planning and analysis position. According to Police Department spokespersons, this will allow “the department to continue to use Thompson's experience and training.” (Spokesman-Review)

Liz Moore, the director of the Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS) is also quoted by the Spokesman as saying this decision is, ““repugnant and incredibly disappointing.”

She might be right. However, at least for the present, Thompson has been only charged with a crime, but not convicted. That implies under our set of laws that Thompson is innocent. The Spokane Police have their laws; our nation has laws of their own. Which takes precedence? That is an interesting question, one that requires one puts aside their personal beliefs and opinions.

I can state I believe Thompson is guilty as all get-out, and probably shouldn't be on the streets as a policeman. That, along with Liz Moore's statement, is an opinion. It should not be enforceable upon a man who, in the eyes of the law, has not been convicted of anything yet.



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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.