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.


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  • Doug Clark: Ballad of a simple, luckless man

    As with most of my musical endeavors, the decision to write an original song about the death of Otto Zehm at the hands of Spokane police came while strumming a …


  • Zehm held pop bottle

    The pop bottle has appeared. A video released Thursday shows Otto Zehm had a 2-liter plastic bottle in his hands as he lay on his back in the initial stages …


  • Otto Zehm: a life on the margins

    Before the release of the convenience store surveillance tape, before the federal investigation and the bold headlines, before the debate over a pop bottle and missing fingerprints, Otto Zehm liked …


  • Expert quits police probes

    The outside investigation into the Spokane Police Department’s controversial handling of two high-profile cases will be conducted by a law enforcement service group from Olympia and a Kentucky-based consulting firm. …


  • Zehm’s prints not on bottle

    Otto Zehm’s fingerprints are not on the plastic soda bottle that police say he used to threaten an officer during the fatal March 18 struggle inside a Spokane convenience store, …


  • Detective’s report finds force justified

    The lead detective investigating the fatal encounter between seven police officers and mentally ill janitor Otto Zehm concluded that the first officer on the scene was justified in striking Zehm …


  • Mayor looks outside

    Bowing to public pressure, Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession said Monday he will hire an outside expert to examine the Police Department’s handling of two recent scandals that have sparked outrage …


  • Unfazed Sheriff’s Office stands by investigation

    The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office apparently couldn’t provide the “independent” review that Mayor Dennis Hession now believes is necessary to oversee the investigation into the death of Otto Zehm. The …


  • Timeline recounts statements by police officials in Zehm case

    A look at the statements Acting Spokane Police Chief Jim Nicks and department spokesman Cpl. Tom Lee made to The Spokesman-Review regarding the March 18 encounter with 36-year-old Otto Zehm …


  • Doug Clark: Acting chief failed to act responsibly

    I have no control over what happens once I turn in my column and it heads off to the press room. So there’s a chance that by the time you …


  • Chief still backs force

    Even though police have backed away from their earlier version of how the fatal struggle with a mentally ill janitor began, acting Chief Jim Nicks said Friday he still believes …


  • Zehm case déja vu

    A mentally ill man ends up dead after being suddenly approached by Spokane police officers who wrestle him to the ground, apply handcuffs and leave him on his stomach for …


  • Past Taser use recorded

    The Spokane police officers who used their stun guns three times in a fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm on March 18 have used their Tasers 10 other times since 2003, …


  • Transcript of 911 call on Zehm released

    Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a 911 call by a young-sounding woman who reported a suspicious man as she and a female friend used a drive-up ATM …


  • Video shows Zehm backed away

    Otto Zehm’s life played out violently in a grainy convenience store surveillance video kept from the public for months. The city of Spokane released copies to the media on Thursday, …


  • Police were initially told Zehm had stolen money

    The following is a time-compressed account of the police radio traffic on the Otto Zehm response:


  • Scandals discussed at forum

    The three out-of-town candidates for police chief all knew about the sex scandal in which two Spokane police officers, investigating an alleged rape, ordered the deletion of explicit photos of …


  • Oversight of police an issue

    Four finalists who want to be Spokane’s next police chief currently work at departments where civilian oversight is either defunct, under challenge or doesn’t exist at all. All four candidates …


  • Police clarify use of nonlethal force

    Spokane police unveiled on Monday a half-hour public presentation explaining the Police Department’s policy on use of nonlethal force, including the controversial Taser stun gun. Deputy Police Chief Al Odenthal …


  • Zehm files under gag order

    Hours before Acting Police Chief Jim Nicks held a press conference Tuesday to defend his officers by talking about portions of the investigation into the death of Otto Zehm, a …

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