Arrow-right Camera

Otto Zehm

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.

Sue Lani Madsen: Time to discard outdated stereotypes about mental health

While the struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder is real, the stereotype of mental illness as the cause of violence is not. It’s a cringe-inducing link for those who know and love someone who lives with a mental health diagnosis. On Veterans Day, we honor all those who served and came back. Time to honor our veterans further by laying to rest a destructive stereotype, the myth of the veteran as a “ticking time bomb.”

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 a confrontation with Thompson.

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 Snyder resigned last month to take a job in state government. The seat represents south Spokane.

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 been criminally charged in state courts with the illegal use of deadly force on the job.

Audio


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Documents

Timelines