Spokane Police Officer Timothy Moses resigned today before pleading guilty to making a false statement to FBI investigators during the case that ultimately convicted his friend, Karl F. Thompson Jr, in connection with the fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm.
Dressed in a civilian sport coat, Moses said “guilty” in a hushed tone to Municipal Court Judge Mary Logan as part of a plea agreement drawn up by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Moses avoided a federal perjury charge in exchange for never again working in law enforcement.
“I believe I served this community well,” Moses said of his 15-year career in Spokane. “My integrity has never been negotiable.”
But Moses admitted that he first told a grand jury that Thompson relayed to him on the night of the incident that he struck Zehm in the head with a baton and that Zehm lunged, provoking the attack. Some 10 months later, after speaking to Thompson, Moses tried to change his testimony and then said he was intimidated into giving that version of events to the FBI.
Logan sentenced Moses to 12 months of probation and fined him $2,500. Logan noted his public service, which included eight years as a police officer in Georgia.
“I agree this has taken a very long time … with much loss on every one’s behalf,” Logan said. “You are precluded from doing that which you are most trained to do … by your own hand.”
Moses’ wife, who did not identify herself in court, said she’s been married to the officer for 26 years and they have two children.
“He is a loyal family man. Is he perfect? No. None of us are,” she said. “The entire unfortunate event has created hardships on many lives.”
She said her husband has been tortured by sleepless nights for the past six years as the investigation culminated with the trial in 2011 that convicted Thompson of using excessive force and lying to investigators about his March 18, 2006, confrontation with Zehm.
“He has been our rock,” she said. “I hope he can move on with his life.”
Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Brian O’Brien remained silent on sentencing and left it up to Logan to decide.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter