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Thompson quits SPD before disciplinary hearing

Convicted Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. is resigning from the Spokane Police Department one day before a scheduled interview for an internal investigation.

Thompson, 64, was convicted Nov. 2 of using excessive force and lying to investigators following the fatal beating of 36-year-old Otto Zehm.

In his letter to the city, Thompson simply stated: “It has been my honor and privilege to serve as a Spokane police officer for this city. I hereby submit my resignation effective Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.”

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Thompson had been scheduled to submit to what’s known as a Loudermill interview Friday. Under that interview, officers are bound to answer all questions posed to them.

Those interviews typically come after the completion of criminal investigations because officers cannot be prosecuted for information they reveal in Loudermill interviews.

Thompson was released on a previous $50,000 signature bond - which did not require that he post any money - by U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle on Nov. 7. After his release, officers escorted Thompson through the Public Safety Building as fellow officers greeted him.

“We would like the community to understand that Karl retrieved personal items from the building while being escorted by other police officers,” department spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe wrote in an e-mail response to questions. “Karl took a few moments to say goodbye to his co-workers, as well as thank them for their support.”

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