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Valley officer breaks hand in scuffle with panhandler

Sat., Feb. 12, 2011, 6:03 p.m.

A Spokane Valley Police officer suffered a broken hand while arresting an unruly panhandler today near Sprague Avenue and Robie Road.

Officer Jerad Kiehn was injured after he and other officers were dispatched to the area for several complaints about an aggressive panhandler. The suspect, Matthew Zimmerman, 29, was resisting arrest, when he ended up face down on the ground with his hands under his torso, police said. Kiehn broke a bone in his hand while trying to remove Zimmerman’s hands.

Zimmerman was booked into Spokane County Jail on two counts of harassment and one count of resisting arrest. Police said that this was the third time in recent weeks they have encountered Zimmerman violating the no panhandling ordinance in recent weeks. One person reported Zimmerman had reached inside his vehicle and punched his dog.

Kiehn was released from duty after the arrest and advised to seek treatment from his doctor.

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