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City to consider Zehm memorial for Mission Park

Sat., July 7, 2012, 6:10 p.m.

The Spokane Park Board Monday will consider a memorial for Otto Zehm, as was called for in a settlement between the city and Zehm’s estate.

Mayor David Condon has recommended that a picnic shelter or similar facility in Mission Park be dedicated to Zehm, including a plaque that reads “In Memory of Otto Zehm.”

Zehm was beaten, shocked and hog-tied by Spokane police in a North Spokane Zip Trip in 2006 after he was wrongfully identified as a theft suspect. He died two days later.

The first officer to confront Zehm, Karl F. Thompson Jr., was found guilty in federal court last November of excessive force and lying to investigators.

Six months later, after years of denying any wrong-doing, the city of Spokane settled the lawsuit brought by Zehm’s family. Along with the memorial, the city agreed to pay $1.67 million to the Zehm family and its attorneys and formally apologize for Zehm’s death.

It also requires the police department to provide crisis-intervention training for all Spokane police officers who aren’t scheduled to retire within a year and provides $50,000 for a consultant to help the city implement changes to its use-of-force policy.

The memorial was initially envisioned for downtown, but Zehm’s mother, Ann Zehm, suggested the memorial be placed in Mission Park instead, saying Otto enjoyed spending time there.

The Zehm memorial is listed as a discussion item on the Park Board’s agenda.

The meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall conference room 5A.

This story has been edited to reflect that the Park Board is scheduled to discuss the Zehm memorial, but not take a vote on it, at Monday’s meeting.


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