Posts tagged: Yakima
A federal judge in Yakima ordered Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. taken into custody this morning following his conviction on charges of using excessive force and lying to investigators. Some three dozen Spokane Police officers and other supporters stood when someone yeled “Present Arms” and saluted Thompson as he was led away, without being handcuffed, after being convicted of using excessive force on Otto Zehm and later lying to cover up his actions. As the crowd saluted in unison, Jeffry Finer turned and apologized to Zehm’s family, whom Finer is representing in a companion civil suit. “The salute was meant to be respectful,” Finer said. “But it seemed to be given with no thought of the victim’s family seated inches away”/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here. (Dan Pelle SR file photo — of Karl Thompson)
Question: Should Karl Thompson have been taken into custody so soon after the verdict?
Spokane police officer Karl Thompson, right, waits to cross the street after leaving the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse in Yakima, Wash. Wednesday. A federal court jury on Wednesday convicted Thompson of using excessive force on a mentally ill man who died in 2006 after being struck and Tasered at a convenience store. Story here. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Christopher Anderson)
It takes a lot to get to a guy like me. Many journalists hide behind a shield of cynicism, and I’ve had 37 years of practice. But I’ll admit it. I choked up Wednesday afternoon when my Mom called to relay the bombshell she’d just heard on TV. The jurors I had watched so intently the other day during my visit to a Yakima federal courtroom had delivered a courageous verdict. They convicted Karl Thompson, the Spokane thug cop who beat Otto Zehm like a dog five years ago in a North Division convenience store. They found Thompson guilty for all those cruel, unwarranted baton strikes and Taser shocks that robbed the mentally ill man of his dignity and ultimately his life. And guilty for all the lies Thompson told afterward to cover his sorry ass/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Were you surprised by the guilty verdicts in the Karl Thompson case?
A jury has convicted Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. of needlessly beating Otto Zehm and then lying about it to cover up his actions. The verdict comes five years and seven months since Zehm’s life ended and growing questions of police accountability began. Prosecutors are expected to seek a prison term of six to eight years, arguing that Thompson was in a position of trust and that Zehm, who was schizophrenic, was particularly vulnerable. … Despite the criminal conviction, Thompson, 64, was allowed to remain free pending a follow up hearing before a magistrate in Spokane to argue continued release conditions. He posted a $50,000 signature bond following the criminal indictment in 2009/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.
Reaction to verdict?
The verdict is in. Anyone desiring to watch the upcoming federal trial of Karl Thompson Jr. – the Spokane cop whose deadly encounter with Otto Zehm earned him an excessive force charge – must fill up the tank and travel 200 miles to Yakima. Apparently we wags of the local media are to blame for potentially tainting the jury pool with our blather. Yakima? I can’t recall the last time I was in Yakima, but I think it had something to do with mad cow disease. There’s no use whining. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle has made up his mind, sort of. The judge, according to our news account, conceded he wasn’t convinced that Zehm-related coverage by local media created “actual” or “perceived” bias against Thompson. Not about to be swayed by the soundness of his logic, however, the judge moved the trial anyway/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Come to think of it, I've never been to Yakima, Wash. Have you? Good experience?