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Doug Clark: Head-Crackin Karl can hum his own theme song

One thing has been missing in our ongoing coverage of the conviction of police officer Karl Thompson Jr.

That’s right, a parody song.

A number of you readers asked if I planned to add to my parody repertoire by giving ol’ Head-Crackin’ Karl a musical sendoff similar to my treatment of past local scandals.

The fall of Mayor Jim “I Did it Biway” West, say, and Larry “Tap Three Times” Craig.

It’s a fabulous idea.

Karl, who was found guilty for his 2006 beat-down of Otto Zehm in a Spokane convenience store, well deserves to be immortalized satirically. Though Karl’s lawyers will undoubtedly conjure up enough nonsense to file a hopeless appeal soon, the disgraced cop is scheduled to be sentenced and bound for the hoosegow late next month.

But the real question remains …

What song?

Joe Brasch, my amigo and fellow musical renegade, provided the answer seconds after I pitched the idea to him.

“Jailhouse Rock,” he said, “could be Jailhouse Cop.”


The 1957 Elvis classic, with its boogie-woogie beat, is one of the most infectious rock songs ever written.

And so I spent the last week penning new lyrics with a bit of help, here and there, from Brasch.

(The “Spokane hood” part is his. I love it.)

So on Friday morning, we met in the secretly located Big Bubba Studios. After we jawed a bit, I faced the microphone and sang to a pre-recorded track while Brasch twisted the dials in the control room.

You can hear what we came up with online at Otherwise, feel free to channel your inner Elvis and sing along to the famous melody, which begins with one of the most memorable two-chord riffs in all of rockdom.


“Bah-dah …”

Jailhouse Cop

Karl Thompson Jr.’s headed to the can.

End of the line for a po-liceman.

But Karl had it comin’ cuz he would not stop.

Beatin’ that man who was holdin’ the pop.

Bop! Bop!

Karl’s baton, it went …

Bop! Bop!

All the convicts are lickin’ their chops.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop.

Judge Freddy moved the trial for Karl’s own good.

Said ya can’t trust a jury in the Spokane hood.

Court was called to order in Yakima town.

Four weeks later the hammer come down.

Went: Bop! Bop!

Right on Karl, it went …

Bop! Bop!

There’s a job in the license plate shop.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop.

Juror number seven said to Juror number eight.

Are you seein’ what I’m seein’ on the videotape?

Karl treated Otto so savagely.

Wouldn’t want that mad dog wailin’ on me.

Bop! Bop!

Karl’s baton, it went …

Bop! Bop!

Warden’s got a bucket and a mop.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop.

Otto had it comin’ the shysters wailed.

Poor old Karl, he can’t be jailed.

But justice had come, it was hard to believe.

Spokane was rockin’ like New Year’s Eve.

Bop! Bop!

Karl’s baton, it went …

Bop! Bop!

Chow line serving up slop.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop.

Karl’s cop buddies gnashed their teeth in dispute.

Then they gave a big “Sieg Heil!” salute.

The whole rotten bunch seems to neglect.

That wearin’ a badge means Serve and Protect.

Bop! Bop!

Karl’s baton, it went …

Bop! Bop!

Showers where the soap gets dropped.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop.

Waitin’ for the Jailhouse Cop …

Listen to Doug Clark perform the song.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at