When David Condon began to publicly criticize Mary Verner's handling of the Otto Zehm case, Verner said Condon's critique was further victimizing the Zehm family "by attempting to elevate himself."
The Inland Northwest Leadership Political Action Committee, which has spent about $25,000 on the mayoral race in support of Verner, has made similar allegations.
"Unfortunately, David Condon is now desperately trying to exploit this tragedy for political gain," says an article on the group's website.
But last week, Breean Beggs, who represents the Zehm family and has contributed money to the Verner campaign, said Zehm family members do not feel exploited or victimized by Condon or other city candidates who have discussed the case. Beggs said that's because they feel that police oversight, training, procedures and other issues surrounding the case are legitimate issues that should be considered by those seeking city office.
These were the official statements released by Verner and Condon last week after the verdict:
"The jury in the trial was in the best position to render a verdict in this case. And, we accept their decision. This verdict is only one step toward closure and healing for our community. I remain committed to completing a thorough internal and external review of all aspects of the case. Our citizens rightfully require their elected officials to acknowledge mistakes and problems and make changes to avoid them in the future. That’s what we’re going to do."
"I appreciate your ongoing support of our community, and I am pleased to serve you."
"This is a sad day for our city, a slow-motion train wreck … first the indictment, now the trial and verdict, and next the civil lawsuit which may cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is an indictment of the mayor and her legal team and of the police department, as well as of an individual officer. My heart goes out again to the family of Otto Zehm with the hope that this sad spectacle can soon be brought to a final conclusion."