City Council approves Zehm settlement
The Spokane City Council tonight finalized the $1.7 million settlement with the family of Otto Zehm.
The council voted unanimously to the deal, which was reached in mediation last week.
The city will pay $720,000 of the settlement. The rest will be paid by the city’s insurance carrier, AIG.
“This is one step in a healing process,” said Councilwoman Amber Waldref. “While tonight is a really important step that we’re taking, we all know it’s just one and there are many more that we need to take.”
The deal also requires the city to write a formal apology, a recommendation to name a permanent structure in a city park in honor of Zehm, crisis intervention training for all Spokane police officers who have not received it and $50,000 for a consultant to advise the city about updates to its use-of-force policy.
Zehm was beaten, shocked and hogtied in a North Spokane Zip Trip March 18, 2006 after he was erroneously accused of theft. He died two days later. The first responding officer, Karl F. Thompson Jr., was convicted by a federal jury in November of using excessive force and lying to investigators about the incident.
“It’s up to us as a council and new administration to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” said Councilman Mike Allen.