Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Karl Thompson released from prison

Former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson has been released from federal prison after being convicted of using excessive force against developmentally disabled janitor Otto Zehm, who died two days after a confrontation with Thompson.

Video surveillance footage of the incident inside the Zip Trip at 1712 N. Division in March 2006 shows Zehm retreating from Thompson, who hit Zehm more than a dozen times with his baton and shocked him with a Taser. Police had been called by two women who thought Zehm was acting suspiciously.

Thompson was sent to Federal Detention Center SeaTac immediately after he was sentenced to 51 months in prison in November 2012, but he spent most of his time at a detention center in Safford, Arizona, where he was released Thursday.

Thompson, 68, was originally set to be released on July 24 but he was allowed to accumulate time off his sentence for good behavior.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email

You have been successfully subscribed!