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Sirens & Gavels

What will happen to Karl Thompson?

Federal prosecutors are expected to ask U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle to immediately detain Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. if the jury convicts him of using unreasonable force.

The detention request is mandatory for all violent crimes. However, defense attorney Carl Oreskovich is expected to ask Van Sickle to keep Thompson out of jail until sentencing.

If the jury acquits Thompson, his status with Spokane Police Department remains up to administrators. Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks already has told federal authorities he believes Thompson violated several departmental use-of-force policies but the judge ruled his conclusions inadmissable at Thompson's criminal trial. Additionally, Thompson acknowledged on the witness stand that he made errors in his statement to detectives four days after the March 18, 2006, confrontation with Otto Zehm.

Either way, though, Oreskovich said during his closing argument that at 64 now, Thompson's law enforcement career is over.

If the jury hangs, federal prosecutors must decide whether to attempt another trial after attorneys spent years preparing for this and have worked nights averaging about four hours of sleep.


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