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Spokane leaders outline proposed police reforms

Thu., Jan. 26, 2012, 4:19 p.m.

The Spokane City Council has unveiled its list of proposed police reforms, including body cameras for officers, restored independent investigative authority for the police ombudsman and posting internal affairs investigations on the Internet.

The resolution, released today, is scheduled for council testimony and debate Feb. 6.

“This is a first step in a long process of restoring trust in our officers,” Council President Stuckart said in prepared remarks.

The move comes after the federal conviction of a Spokane police officer in the 2006 beating and death of unarmed janitor Otto Zehm, who was mistakenly implicated as a potential thief. The police department and City Hall has continued to back the officer’s version of events despite video footage and witness statements contradicting it.

Mayor David Condon also is preparing a package of reforms.

The city’s handling of the Zehm case, including its continued insistence that officers did nothing wrong even after the assistant chief concluded otherwise, became a major issue in the November mayoral election. Many cite the community’s dissatisfaction with police oversight in propelling Condon over former Mayor Mary Verner after trailing her by nearly 30 percentage points in the August primary.

(This breaking news article will be updated as developments become available)

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