October 21, 2006 in City

Enhanced Zehm video released

Thomas Clouse Staff writer
 
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Background and the latest updates

The city of Spokane released the “enhanced” surveillance video Friday that Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker previously said he would use to help him decide whether to file charges against police officers involved in the fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm.

The Spokane Police Department paid $5,000 for video forensics expert Grant Fredericks to enhance the surveillance tape. But the new version shows virtually nothing new; it synchronizes the audio 911 tapes to the silent videos from an ATM at Ruby Street and Indiana Avenue and the Zip Trip at 1712 N. Division St., said Spokane Deputy Police Chief Al Odenthal.

“The video was telling in that (Fredericks) was able to isolate some things that were of interest in the case,” Odenthal said. “The enhanced video confirmed many parts of the officer and eyewitness accounts.”

Otherwise, the enhanced video did not provide any significant new insights into the confrontation between Zehm, a 36-year-old mentally ill janitor, and seven police officers on March 18.

Zehm stopped breathing while he was hogtied on his stomach and never regained consciousness. He died two days later. Medical Examiner Sally Aiken ruled that Zehm’s death was a homicide.

Tucker, who did not return a phone call Friday, has said that he will wait to make a decision on charges until after the Federal Bureau of Investigation completes its investigation to determine whether Zehm’s civil rights were violated.

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