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Community Comment

Tue., May 22, 2012, 2:38 a.m.

The City and the Zehm family settle…

Good morning, Netizens...


At least viewing from the outside, the Otto Zehm debacle is over after last night's City Council meeting, when the Council unanimously ratified a $1.67 million dollar settlement with the Zehm family. Aside from the money, the Zehm family will receive a letter of apology from the city of Spokane and a promise to require further crisis intervention training for police officers. The deal also includes a recommendation for crisis intervention training for all police officers within the next two years, up to $50,000 for a consultant to advise the City on its use-of-force policies, and a recommendation for the Spokane Park Board to name a pavilion in Zehm's honor. These additional agreements bring the estimated value of the settlement to $2 million.


I also believe that all the police officers who stood and saluted Karl Thompson should individually and collectively write letter(s) of apology to Ann Zehm for their unconscionable behavior on behalf of the City of Spokane and the Police Guild.


What is somewhat disheartening to me are the number of people online who still feel that former police officer Karl Thompson, who was found guilty of beating Otto Zehm and zapping him with a taser should receive a new trial. In watching the videotape of the beating of Otto Zehm, does anyone have a clear sense of why police beat Zehm so savagely? He was, according to court testimony, armed with a plastic Pepsi bottle, which police testimony attempted to portray as a “lethal weapon”.


I am glad the City and the Zehm family were able to reach this agreement, and that after nearly six long years, the Zehm family will receive a letter of apology as part of the agreement. I am also glad that Attorney Rocky Treppiedi is no longer involved with the Spokane Police Department or City Hall. There are a lot of things I am glad about, the least of which is the Otto Zehm affair appears to finally be over.



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