Arrow-right Camera

Sirens & Gavels Otto Zehm archive

TUESDAY, AUG. 2, 2016

FRIDAY, OCT. 31, 2014

FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014

Spokane looking for Police Ombudsman Commission volunteers

Spokane is looking for volunteers to serve on the new Police Ombudsman Commission. Applicants must undergo a background check and interviews. Application deadline is June 6 and city leaders want to have the five-member commission empaneled by mid-July. Application materials are available at spokanecity.org. The...

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013

Jailed Ridpath developer wants trial moved 

Spokane developer Greg Jeffreys, who is jailed on federal charges alleging that he defrauded investors of millions of dollars, has asked a judge for a change of venue for his trial, arguing that local media “has saturated the Spokane area with prejudicial and inflammatory remarks.”...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2, 2013

Report: SPD lacks certified instructors 14 

None of the Spokane Police Department's defensive tactics instructors are certified by the state and may have relied on a flawed legal interpretation while teaching officers when it's OK to use deadly force, the city's Use of Force Commission has found. "In fact, no officers...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, DEC. 24, 2012

Karl Thompson Jr. arrives at the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse for his sentencing in the Otto Zehm case on Thursday in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany)

Thompson being held at Phoenix security facility 58 

Authorities have transferred 65-year-old Karl F. Thompson from the Federal Detention Center Sea-Tac in Seattle to a medium security facility in Arizona, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. Though he's listed as being located at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, Thompson's release...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, NOV. 19, 2012

From left, Karl Thompson, Carl Oreskovich and Spokane police Officer John Gately on Nov. 2. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Thompson appeals Zehm conviction 

Just as he promised last week after the sentencing, the attorney for convicted Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. filed notice today that he intends to appeal several aspects of the case. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle sentenced Thompson last week to...

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 2012

Federal prosecutor says Spokane has good police force 

U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby, whose office handled the excessive force prosecution of former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson, took deliberate steps Thursday to praise the trustworthiness of the local police force overall. "That's not an indictment of our entire police department," Ormsby said just moments...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24, 2012

Jeff Harvey of the Spokane Police Department (Spokane Police Department)

Police guild "circled the wagons" after Zehm 14 

In addition to revelations that Spokane Police detectives were feeding information about the Zehm investigation to Officer Karl F. Thompson, Jr., the grand jury testimony of Detective Jeff Harvey had several other insights into how the Spokane Police handled the case. Harvey was a vice...

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 2012

Spokane police officer Karl Thompson waits to cross the street after leaving the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse in Yakima, Wash., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011.  Thompson was found guilty on two counts in the death of Otto Zehm. (Christopher Anderson / Spokesman-Review)

Thompson supporters invited to potluck 84 

UPDATE: Potluck for Thompson canceled. Officer John Gately just called Friday afternoon to say that the Nov. 3 event "An Evening with Karl" F. Thompson Jr. has been canceled. "It was never intended to offend anyone," Gately said. "It's canceled." HERE'S THE ORIGINAL POST: Most...

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 2012

From left, Karl Thompson, Carl Oreskovich and Spokane police Officer John Gately on Nov. 2. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Oreskovich gets another week to file 

The defense attorneys of former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. have blamed a faulty email program for missing the deadline last Friday to file any objections to the pre-sentence report that could become the last major legal battle prior to sentencing. Thompson was...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19, 2012

Now on to the penalty phase ... 

For nearly a year, former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. has avoided sentencing on his federal convictions for using excessive force in the beating of Otto Zehm and then lying to investigators about it. But with yesterday's refusal by U.S. District Judge Fred...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, AUG. 13, 2012

Encounter with jurors sparks debate

Buried in the transcripts unsealed last week of the secret jury hearings held by a federal judge in the Karl F. Thompson Jr. case, was an apparent chance encounter between the jury forewoman and the alternate juror. Jury Forewoman Diane Riley said she was having...

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, AUG. 9, 2012

Alternate juror blasts case against Thompson

New documents released Thursday show that the only person who raised issues about juror misconduct in the trial that convicted former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. was an alternate juror who was not privy to the final deliberations. U.S. District Court Judge Fred...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 8, 2012

Juror: Thompson lawyers twisted words

The forewoman of the jury that convicted former Spokane Police officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. of excessive force said in a letter to a federal judge that defense attorneys have twisted her words in their effort to force a new trial for the decorated officer....

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012

Feds oppose Thompson prison delay

Federal prosecutors appear to be growing frustrated with the ongoing delays that have kept convicted Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. out of prison. Eight months have passed since a jury convicted Thompson of using excessive force and lying to investigators in the 2006...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012

Zehm lawsuit settled for $1.67 million

A $1.67 million out-of-court settlement has been reached in the civil suit against Spokane police filed by relatives of Otto Zehm, the mentally ill janitor who died following a violent confrontation with officers after being mistakenly implicated in a possible theft. The deal also includes...

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Mediation set in Zehm police lawsuit

A federal judge has set a two-day mediation session to settle the $14.5 million civil suit filed against nine Spokane Police officers by the mother and estate of Otto Zehm. U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko issued an order directing the Zehm family attorneys, City...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012

Thompson sentencing delayed again 

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle agreed to another delay Friday in the sentencing of former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. Van Sickle agreed to a request by attorney Dutch Wetzel who is representing video forensic expert Grant Fredericks, who caused the delay...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012

Feds dispute Zehm trial defense claims

The forensic videographer whose allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have indefinitely stalled the sentencing of former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. is depicted in new court documents as an attention-seeking police apologist who lied to federal investigators. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed filed scores...

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2012

Use of force panel holds 1st meeting 

The interim Spokane police chief and a Gonzaga University Law School professor were among the presenters Wednesday at the first meeting of Spokane's commission on police use of force. Jason Gillmer, civil liberties expert, described the need for officers to be held to an "objective...

Continue reading this post »

SATURDAY, FEB. 11, 2012

Judge grants Thompson interview request

A federal judge Friday granted a request by the attorney for former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. to interview a government expert witness who claims that federal prosecutors mischaracterized his expected testimony. The move further delays the sentencing of Thompson, who was convicted...

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, FEB. 6, 2012

A look at Spokane police use of force 

To understand why the Spokane Police Department’s use-of-force training is under a microscope, consider this disconnect: Although the state’s top police trainer concluded that the fatal 2006 confrontation with unarmed janitor Otto Zehm was indefensible, the department’s own instructors and the city’s legal advisers have...

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, FEB. 3, 2012

Jury convicts man of threatening officer 11 

A jury has convicted a Spokane man of felony harassment for threatening to kill a Spokane police officer. Rudy Ray Cordova, 38, was acquitted of fourth-degree domestic assault, which is the suspected crime that brought him in contact with Officer Chris McMurtrey. Cordova's lawyer, Doug...

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, FEB. 2, 2012

Cop questioned over Thompson support 

A Spokane police officer who says he feared for his life after being threatened by a felon was asked in court Wednesday about supportive comments he posted on a Facebook page in support of another convicted felon – former Officer Karl Thompson. Defense lawyer Doug...

Continue reading this post »

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.