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Monday, February 17, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

D-Day, June 7, 1944

With D-Day underway, the S-R wrote an editorial, “The Battle for Victory Begins.”

“It’s on. The great climactic battle of the war begins. The mighty allied armies, so long gathering and preparing in England, are storming the north coast of France. They are pouring on the beaches from myriads of landing craft and cascading down from myriads of transport planes on to airfields and communication centers in the rear of the coastal forts in the most gigantic assault of all time.

“The tremendous power of men and guns, ships and planes, armament and explosives that America and Britain and her commonwealths have been building up for four years has been loosed at last. It has struck with terrifying force at the very center of the German defensive wall between La Havre and Cherbourg, directly across the channel from England.

“There is a magnificent audacity in directing the invasion at the strongest segment of the German Atlantic wall. It shows supreme confidence of the allied command in the irresistible striking power of their enormous forces. When breached in the center, the whole enemy system of defenses along the coasts of France will be nullified.”

It concluded: “The price in blood and tears will be awful. When it will end no one can tell. But it will end in a complete and crushing allied victory.”

Zehm videotape, June 4, 2006

An S-R editorial urged officials to release video of the encounter at the Zip-Trip mini-market between Otto Zehm and police officers.

“Law enforcement professionals will remind the rest of us, justifiably, that officers reacting to dangerous and volatile incidents must make on-the-spot decisions to restore order and preserve public safety. And that Zehm, who functioned well in society despite his impairment, had the same duty as any other citizen to recognize lawful authority.

“It’s easy to second-guess cops when you don’t have to do their job in real life. So, why not help the public understand what happened the night of March 18 by releasing the security video that captured it all?

“In the immediate aftermath, police said they were still trying to track down eyewitnesses and didn’t want their accounts to be tainted because they’d seen the tape. More than two months later, that excuse has expired.”

The editorial continued: “On Tuesday, after the medical examiner issued her report, acting police Chief Jim Nicks held a press conference to reiterate that police were not at fault. Almost concurrently, however, Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi was filing an order that released the tape to Zehm’s family but prevented them from doing what Nicks had just done – talk about the contents of the tape or other evidence.

“The Zehm case bears close public scrutiny, but that can’t happen without the broadest possible access to all relevant facts, not just one-sided pronouncements by police. Law enforcement has much to gain by demonstrating a commitment to the truth that merits public confidence. The public has even more.”

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