Former Spokane Police Officer Sentenced In Federal Court

Nov 15, 2012

Thursday marks the beginning of the end in a six-year-long court case involving a former Spokane police officer and the death of a Spokane man. Karl F. Thompson faces sentencing Thursday morning in Spokane’s federal court. Paige Browning reports from Spokane.

In 2006, Otto Zehm was wrongly suspected of theft at a convenience store, and Thompson was the first of seven officers to arrive to investigate. The group tied Zehm up, beat him, and stunned him with a Taser gun. Zehm died two days later.

Thompson remains the only officer convicted in the case, a federal jury convicted him of two felonies: using excessive force, and giving false records to investigators.

This year, federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle to sentence Thompson to ten years in prison. Defense lawyers ask that the 65-year-old receive no prison time. Thompson served in law enforcement for 40 years, and once ran for sheriff in Idaho’s Kootenai County.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio