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Sirens & Gavels

Possible witnesses named in Zehm case

Four Spokane Police Department employees have been named as possible witnesses in the federal trial of an officer charged in the death of Otto Zehm (right).

Senior Police Officer Robert Boothe, Patrol Offier Jason Uberuaga, Detective Scott Lesser and Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks are listed in a document filed this week in U.S. District Court.

Boothe is the lead defensive tactics instructor for the Spokane Police Department and trained Thompson on the use of force. The document says Boothe “is qualified” to testify on a number of issues, including that “the firing of a taser at Otto Zehm, who was actively resistant but not actively assaultive, was objectively unreasonable and is contrary to the Department’s defensive tactics training, and violated Spokane Police Department policies.”

Uberuaga can testify that, among other things, “Officer Thompson also did not “stop” at any time to give his claimed verbal commands to Otto Zehm,” according to the documents.

Lesser is the police department’s certified Taser instructor. He’ll be able to testify that policy calls for tasers to be used only if a suspect is “displaying assaultive behavior toward the officer or other subjects,” according to court documents.

Nicks may testify that “Based on the security video, Otto Zehm did not take a boxing stance and/or throw punches at Officer Thompson in the south aisle. The objective video evidence is inconsistent with Officer Thompson’s statement to SPD investigators,” according to the documents.

Prosecutors also filed a detailed list of possible expert witnesses outside the police department.

Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich filed a list of witnesses today, too. They include: D.P. Van Blaricom, Daniel Davis, M.D.; Mark DeBard, M.D; James Nania, M.D; Gary Stimac, M.D; and Allen Tencer, PhD.

No details of their expected testimony were included in the filings.

Read the documents:

Defense witnesses

Prosecution witnesses: police employees   

Prosecution witnesses: other experts


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