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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Everything slips past city’s finest

Cpl. Clark returns to address your concerns about cops, courts and crime.

Q: Every time I pick up the newspaper I see something about excited delirium. What the heck is it?

Cpl. Clark: Think of excited delirium syndrome as WD-40 for law enforcement.

Q: You’re jerking my chain, aren’t you?

Cpl. Clark: Not in the least. Just like with WD-40, cops use excited delirium to make sure nothing sticks.

Q: How’s that work?

Cpl. Clark: Well, say an unfortunate citizen winds up succumbing after, shall we say, a questionable encounter with John Law.

Q: OK. So?

Cpl. Clark: Claiming the deceased had excited delirium keeps the ol’ accusations slip-sliding away.

Q: Why not just call it “blame the dead guy” syndrome?

Cpl. Clark: Hmm. Point taken.

Q: But where did excited delirium come from?

Cpl. Clark: Nobody knows. Like my carpenter ants, it just showed up one day.

Q: But why is Spokane County paying a $50,000 settlement in the 2007 death of a man who fought with police and supposedly had this excited delirium?

Cpl. Clark: Sometimes money is the best lubricant of all.

Q: Hey, did you catch the latest gripe being hurled at the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office?

Cpl. Clark: You mean how the office creates a “significant roadblock” to swift justice by routinely failing to file formal charges against suspects within 72 hours.

Q: Yeah, what gives?

Cpl. Clark: For years the prosecutor’s office has been hampered by a bad case of CT. I’m guessing this is just one of the many unpleasant side effects.

Q: CT?

Cpl. Clark: Yes. That’s just the medical abbreviation for the fungal infection Creeping Tuckeritis.

Q: As in Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker?

Cpl. Clark: Bazinga!

Q: What are the symptoms?

Cpl. Clark: Sloth. Inability to focus. Weakening of the spine. And the overpowering urge to ditch work for a round of golf.

Q: Will we ever find a cure?

Cpl. Clark: Hopefully by the next election.

Q: Hey, did you see that Spokane County sheriff’s detectives broke up a local crime ring?

Cpl. Clark: What? They arrested those rate-raising pickpockets over at Avista?

Q: No, the criminals I’m talking about have been linked to hard drugs and something like 100 burglaries.

Cpl. Clark: Sounds like these detectives should be commended for their excellent police work.

Q: Shut my mouth wide open! Did I actually hear you complimenting the police?

Cpl. Clark: Cpl. Clark has no grudge against the many fine officers who take seriously their oath to protect and serve. Cpl. Clark only wants to run the badge-defiling weasels out on a rail.

Q: You’re referring again to the sad 2006 death of Otto Zehm, aren’t you?

Cpl. Clark: You must’ve read my mind.

Q: Then I’m guessing you saw that front-page story the other day, didn’t you?

Cpl. Clark: Yes. A city-paid lawyer now claims the mentally ill and innocent janitor had excited delirium before being clubbed, shocked, hogtied, etc., by police.

Q: Can it get any more disgusting?

Cpl. Clark: When lawyers are involved it can always get more disgusting. You just wait. Some creative shyster is bound to argue that poor Otto was already dead before he ever set foot in that Zip Trip convenience store.

Q: Makes you want to puke, huh Cpl. Clark?

Cpl. Clark: Or just sit down and cry.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or
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