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Officer Karl Thompson indicted in Otto Zehm case

Good afternoon, Netizens…


Office Karl Thompson has been indicted for various charges, including making false statements in the Otto Zehm case it was announced at 3:00 PM today by US Attorney Jim McDevitt. Details to follow.


City wants Zehm case kicked; CFJ calls it ‘blame the victim’

Creates a legal pleading

Otto Zehm is responsible for the events that led up to his death while in police custody, the City of Spokane said Friday as it asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Zehm’s mother.

A 56-page response to the civil rights claim by Ann Zehm offers previously unreleased – and, according to her lawyer irrelevant – information about a 1990 altercation between Otto Zehm and a county sheriff’s deputy. It also includes a description that Zehm was “on something” which was not in the transcript of the tape of the 911 call released by the city in 2006.

“Otto Zehm knew or should have know that he was being detained by a peace officer and had the duty to refrain from using force to resist such detention,” the city contends in its response, prepared by assistant city attorney Rocco Treppeidi and private attorney Carl Oreskovich, who is under contract with the city for assistance on the Zehm case and represents one of the officers named in the suit. “Any injury or damage suffered by Mr. Zehm was caused solely by reason of his conduct and willful resistance.”

Breean Beggs of the Center for Justice, who is representing Ann Zehm, said the court filing is typical of the city’s overall response on the Zehm case: “They’re doing the classic ‘blame the victim’ tactic.”

Otto Zehm Died for our sins…

Good afternoon Netizens…

By now most of you reading this already have heard the City of Spokane asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the family of Otto Zehm over his death in police custody in March 2006, saying the developmentally disabled janitor, not police, is responsible for his own death. Does this come as a surprise to anyone?

After all, when you have the likes of Rocco Treppeidi arguing for the City of Spokane against the Zehm estate, I’m frankly astounded Treppeidi didn’t already file a lawsuit against Otto Zehm’s estate, as if there was anything to take.

Which farce would you like? We have the farce where sworn police officers referred to a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi in Otto Zehm’s hands as a “legal weapon”. Yeah, sure. Got a permit for your Pepsi?

We have the farce of the circumstances themselves, where when confronted by officers at the Zip Trip, Zehm refused their orders to stop and to drop the two-liter bottle of soda he was holding. When he refused officers’ orders, he was struck with a baton, jolted with a Taser, handcuffed and hog-tied. Oh yes, and then, the ultimate farce, when he was choked to death by a mask that did not have an airway.

This sordid affair smacks of BS, a pile of crap and it is time for the City of Spokane Police Department to admit their culpability and make amends, not file for dismissal.

Do you believe, for a minute, that Otto Zehm was responsible for his own death?


Man in coma after Seattle Police tackle…

Good morning, Netizens…

In a Seattle police case gone tragically wrong on May 10, Christopher Harris, a 29 year-old restaurant worker still is in a coma in Seattle after police mistakenly pushed him head-first into a wall outside a theater. The entire event was caught on video http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/video/seattletimesvideo.html?bcpid=1543292770&bclid=21520189001&bctid=23971026001 but now police state Harris’ life-threatening injuries do not seem to be criminal in nature.

Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Paul, 26, gave Harris a “hard shove” that apparently fell within legal boundaries, knocking him head-first into a concrete wall Sgt. John Urquhart of the Sheriff’s Department stated, “”We look at this as a tragic accident; nothing more than that…”

Attorney Sim Osborne, hired by Harris’ family, characterized the incident in various other ways, calling it, “… a bone-crushing hit,” Osborn said, likening it to a linebacker’s hit on a football field. He called the deputy’s action “horribly brutal” at best and potentially a criminal assault. Osborne goes on to add there was conflicting testimony whether the police officers involved in the chase identified themselves, as they were both wearing black tactical uniforms under dark conditions.

Urquhart said investigators don’t know why Harris ran, but they noted that four witnesses, including the woman who misidentified Harris, said they heard the deputies repeatedly yell “stop, police” or “police officers.”

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people,” Urquhart said. “That’s what happened in this case.”

Harris, who grew up in Seattle and Olympia and attended the Seattle Art Institute, was married about a year ago, according to his stepfather. Harris worked as a server at Arnies Restaurant in Edmonds.

Although Sheriff’s Deputy Paul has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, he could be returned to active duty any time.

[Portions from Seattle Times]


The Zehm lawsuit

Good afternoon Netizens…

It has taken me awhile to figure out how to upload this PDF copy of the Zehm lawsuit, then to make it accessible, but it does appear I was successful.


 This represents justice for Otto, the first justice he has had since he was killed.


Otto Zehm case draws to a close?

Good morning, Netizens…

Otto Zehm died for our sins. At least the cherubic-faced janitor died for something, of that we can be certain. But did he die unlawfully, due to excessive use of force at the hands of the Spokane City Police Department? After nearly 3 years of contention, discussion and rumors of litigation, we do not seem to be any closer to closure in the case of Otto Zehm than we were, and yet are we?

The Spokesman-Review’s Bill Morlin takes a long look at this case here http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/01/otto-zehm-case-at-crossroads/ and discusses the various legal aspects of this case, which has so divided our community.

What remains to be seen is why it has taken this long to bring this case to a close. There are rumors that civil action is about to take place, and other rumors that criminal action may take place. It all depends upon who you believe, who you trust. The facts are that on March 18, 2006 Otto Zehm died at the hands of the Spokane Police Department. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, resigned on December 19, 2006. Can you call this a coincidence?

Were it not for the Center for Justice (http://cforjustice.org/) we probably would never reach any resolution in the Otto Zehm case. Were the fate of Otto Zehm left in the hands of the Spokane Police Department, nothing would have been done, for they are not in search of the truth.

It is time for the case of Otto Zehm to reach closure NOW.