Otto Zehm, a Spokane man with schizophrenia who worked as a janitor, died after a confrontation with police at a North Side Zip Trip store in March 2006.
Latest from The Spokesman-Review
SUNDAY, AUG. 21, 2016, 4 A.M.
Craig Meidl faces political, salute-related challenges in bid for chief job
Craig Meidl will have to overcome a City Council that is at odds with the mayor over hiring authority and some members of the public still furious about his involvement …
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 3, 2016, 10:27 A.M.
Doug Clark: Condon’s police chief pick is beyond a blunder – it’s egregious
Craig Meidl, Spokane Mayor David Condon’s ambush appointment for police chief, is now really, really sorry for being one of the four dozen SPD goons who, in 2011, saluted convicted …
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2016, 6 P.M.
Doug Clark: Zehm didn’t die in obscurity, thanks to unsung heroes
With the 10th anniversary of the beating of Otto Zehm upon us, it’s time to thank some of the unsung heroes who kept him from dying in obscurity.
THURSDAY, FEB. 25, 2016, 2:27 P.M.
Karl Thompson released from prison
Former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson has been released from federal prison after being convicted of using excessive force against developmentally disabled janitor Otto Zehm, who died two days after …
MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2016, 7 P.M.
Breean Beggs picked to fill vacancy on Spokane City Council
Breean Beggs, a civil rights attorney, will fill the vacancy on the Spokane City Council. The council picked Beggs to take the seat that was left open when Councilman Jon …
THURSDAY, OCT. 15, 2015, 10:29 P.M.
For Spokane School Board, voters can choose experience or new outlook
Rocky Treppiedi wants one more term on the Spokane Public Schools board. Jerrall Haynes, Treppiedi’s 26-year-old challenger, thinks it’s time for a new perspective.
UPDATED: THURSDAY, OCT. 15, 2015, 5:34 P.M.
Shawn Vestal: Otto Zehm case still a stain on culture of Spokane’s police department
Two Spokane police officers – a long-serving captain and a long-serving lieutenant – took a stand last year for honesty and credibility in the department. Or maybe that should be …
SUNDAY, SEPT. 27, 2015
Police use-of-force cases shielded by strict Washington law
Killings by police in the line of duty have surged in Washington over the past decade, according to a Seattle Times analysis. During that period, only one police officer has …
FRIDAY, AUG. 7, 2015
Shawn Vestal: Video expert from Zehm case was wrong pick for review of bike incident
When police officers investigating the death of a teenager killed in an encounter with a speeding Spokane County deputy needed an expert to analyze video footage, they made an unusual …
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2015
Condon, Straub lead Spokane delegation to White House to highlight police reforms
Efforts to reform the police department and enhance community involvement have made Spokane a national model, said Mayor David Condon and police Chief Frank Straub, who were at the White …
TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2015
Doug Clark: First-time author underscores the importance of the Otto Zehm case
I received a vitriolic voice mail message when I last brought that name up in a column. “Otto Zehm,” the caller scoffed. “Nobody cares about Otto Zehm anymore.”
THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015
Three members of police oversight panel, including Rachel Dolezal, asked to resign
Spokane’s independent police oversight panel is in turmoil. Three of its five members, including former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, likely will be removed by the City Council if they …
SATURDAY, FEB. 14, 2015
Spokane Use of Force Commission wraps up with praise for police progress
In its final meeting before it disbands, the city’s Use of Force Commission lauded the improvements made by the Spokane Police Department in the last two years. But members also …
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear ex-police officer’s appeal of Zehm case conviction
Former Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson Jr.’s legal battle to overturn his conviction in the 2006 death of Otto Zehm ended at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The nation’s …
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2014
Doug Clark: Thompson verdict is the gift that keeps on taking
Think of the post-conviction phase of Karl Thompson as a big, colorful piñata that his Scheme Team defenders get to whack and whack at until it finally bursts open and …
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014
Karl Thompson’s conviction upheld in Otto Zehm death
A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld the conviction of former Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson. The three judges denied claims by Thompson’s attorneys that courtroom errors following the …
UPDATED: TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014, 12:46 P.M.
Appeals court upholds Karl Thompson’s conviction in death of Otto Zehm
A federal appeals court panel has upheld the conviction of former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson. The three judges ruled that Thompson doesn’t deserve a new trial in the 2006 …
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
Karl Thompson appeal argued in court
Attorneys for imprisoned former Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson argued Monday that prosecutors did not turn over important evidence before trial. Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich told the 9th U.S. Circuit …
TUESDAY, FEB. 11, 2014
City Council approves new Spokane police contract, oversight law
Three more months of public debate, news conferences and negotiations have led to the Spokane City Council’s approval of a new police oversight law and union contract. After unanimously rejecting …
THURSDAY, DEC. 12, 2013
Spokane police course focuses on mental health crisis
A man with a history of mental illness is allegedly breaking into his neighbor’s apartment at all hours of the day, stealing items and causing a headache for the landlord. …
Redacted Zehm 911 call
A redacted copy of the 911 call in the Otto Zehm incident released by Spokane police to the news media in July 2006.
Mary Verner: Otto Zehm
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner reacts to the federal grand jury indictment of Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., the first of several officers to confront Otto Zehm, a 36-year-old Spokane man who died after that interaction with police.
Officer Karl F. Thompson indictment 01
U.S. Attorney James McDevitt prefaces and reads the first count of the grand jury indictment against Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson in Otto Zehm’s injury while in police custody in 2006. Zehm later died from his injuries.
Officer Karl F. Thompson indictment 02
U.S. Attorney James McDevitt reads the second count of the grand jury indictment against Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson in Otto Zehm’s injury while in police custody in 2006. Zehm later died from his injuries.
Bob Apple on Zehm case indictments
Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple talks Monday, June 22, 2009, about police Officer Karl Thompson’s indictment in the injuries to Otto Zehm while in police custody in 2006.
Ballad of Otto Zehm
Doug Clark’s “The Ballad of Otto Zehm”
Otto Zehm case / Jack Lynch
Deputy Mayor Jack Lynch on Don Pierce’s departure from Boise police
TUESDAY, AUG. 2, 2016, 5:27 P.M.
SPD Chief Craig Meidl’s full answer about the Karl Thompson salute
Newly-appointed Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl offered an apology for the hurt caused by his salute of former officer Karl Thompson following Thompson’s conviction for violating civil rights in the …
FRIDAY, OCT. 31, 2014, 3:47 P.M.
Thompson appeals Zehm verdict to U.S. Supreme Court
Former Spokane Police officer and current federal prison inmate Karl Thompson earlier this month filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of his excessive force conviction in the March …
FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014, 1:49 P.M.
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 …
FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013, 2:12 P.M.
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 …
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2, 2013, 2:45 P.M.
Report: SPD lacks certified instructors
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 …
MONDAY, DEC. 24, 2012, 2:40 P.M.
Thompson being held at Phoenix security facility
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. …
MONDAY, NOV. 19, 2012, 5:29 P.M.
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 …
MONDAY, NOV. 19, 2012, 8:21 A.M.
Clark: Otto Zehm Finally Gets Justice
It’s a good day, Spokane. There’s no snow in the potholes, the river’s still running and Karl Thompson Jr. is already ensconced in a federal lockup on the other side …
FRIDAY, NOV. 16, 2012, 8:24 A.M.
Thompson Gets 4 Years, 3 Months
Originally posted 5:08 p.m. Thursday Updated: After being handed a sentence Thursday of more than four years in federal prison – the culmination of six years of investigations, legal action …
FRIDAY, NOV. 16, 2012, 5:16 A.M.
Is this the closure we have been promised?
Good morning, Netizens… Paraphrasing one of those woefully-hackneyed movies you often encounter on various Western TV channels once said, “Yesterday was a good day for a hanging.” That’s because Karl …
THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 2012, 7:51 P.M.
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 …
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24, 2012, 11:08 A.M.
Police guild “circled the wagons” after Zehm
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 …
FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 2012, 4:22 P.M.
Thompson supporters invited to potluck
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 …
THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 2012, 8 A.M.
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 …
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19, 2012, 12:21 P.M.
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 …
TUESDAY, SEPT. 18, 2012, 1:13 P.M.
Judge Denies New Trial For Thompson
A federal judge has denied the motion for a new trial for convicted former Spokane Police officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. (pictured). Thompson’s lawyer Carl Oreskovich argued on Aug. 31 …
MONDAY, AUG. 13, 2012, 6 A.M.
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 …
THURSDAY, AUG. 9, 2012, 8 A.M.
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 …
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 8, 2012, 6 A.M.
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 …
TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012, 2 P.M.
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 …
Department of Justice audit of Spokane Police Department
The report delivered by the Department of Justice on Dec. 19, 2014, that is an audit of the Spokane Police Department.
Zehm settlement between City of Spokane and its insurance company
This settlement in the Zehm lawsuit was a separate agreement between the City of Spokane and its insurance company, the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania.
Settlement agreement to Zehm civil suit
Settlement between the City of Spokane and Otto Zehm Estate agreed to in May 2012.
Ruling: Thompson doesn’t owe restitution
U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle ruled March 11, 2013 that former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson will not have to pay restitution to the family of Otto Zehm.
Condon letter to Spokane Park Board
Spokane Mayor David Condon wrote this letter dated June 18, 2012 to the Spokane Park Board requesting that the board dedicate the picnic shelter at Mission Park in honor of Otto Zehm.
Juror letter to Judge VanSickle
A redacted copy of a letter sent by a juror on the Karl Thompson trial to the federal judge overseeing the case was unsealed on Aug. 7, 2012.
Condon letter to Ann Zehm
In this letter to Ann Zehm from June 4, 2012, Spokane Mayor David Condon apologizes for the death of her son, Otto Zehm. City officials agreed to send Ann Zehm an apology as part of a legal s
The Spokane City Council on Monday, May 21, 2012, voted 7-0 in favor of this settlement with the family and estate of Otto Zehm.
Justice Department counsel Aine Ahmed’s response to Grant Fredericks’ allegations that prosecutors withheld information from defense, and request to waive confidentiality agreement.
Order denying request to talk to Thompson jurors
A judge has denied a request by former Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson’s attorney’s to interview the jurors who convicted him last month of two felonies in connection with the 2006 death of Otto Zehm.
U.S. Attorney’s Office asks for stay in civil case (includes correspondence requesting to meet with mayor)
U.S. Attorney’s Office filing from September 2009 requesting a stay in the civil case involving the death of Otto Zehm. Includes email correspondence in which Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin requests to meet with Mayor Mary Verner, City Council President Joe Shogan and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. “We were concerned that the subject of a serious criminal investigation was being provided confidential information at public taxpayer expense,” Durkins writes in one email.
Declaration about Zehm’s cause of death
Declaration by Dr. Daniel Davis about Otto Zehm’s cause of death filed Aug. 12, 2011. Includes a timeline of the video.
Declaration of Assistant Police Chief Nicks
Declaration of Jim Nicks, assistant chief of the Spokane Police Department.
Brief for Thompson seeking to exclude evidence
Prosecutor’s brief in response to request to exclude evidence
Replying to a brief filed by Karl F. Thompson Jr.’s attorney in response to a government filing seeking to include evidence in Thompson’s excessive force case.
ACLU letter to Spokane
A letter from Michael Kipling, an attorney representing the American Civil Liberties Union, to the Spokane city attorney’s office questioning Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi’s letter advising Breean Beggs to cease contact with City Council members about police oversight.
Breann Beggs letter to Mike Piccolo
A letter from Breann Beggs, attorney for the estate of Otto Zehm, to Mike Piccolo, assigned attorney for City Council members. The letter is in response to an order from an attorney for the city of Spokane ordering Beggs to stop communicating with City Council members without counsel for the city present. Included is an article printed from the Washington State Bar Association regarding communicating with a represented governmental client.
Argument to expedite Zehm trial
The argument filed July 2, 2010, by attorney Jeffry Finer seeking a federal judge to set an earlier trial date for Karl F. Thompson Jr. in the Otto Zehm case.
Defense witness and evidence list for Thompson trial
Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich’s exhibit list for the trial of Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson, who is facing criminal charges stemming from the March 2006 fatal police confrontation with Otto Zehm.
Prosecution exhibit list for Thompson trial
Prosecutors’ exhibit list for the trial of Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson, who is facing criminal charges stemming from the March 2006 fatal police confrontation with Otto Zehm.