Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. Sentenced In Death Of Man With Mental Disabilities

Dec 8, 2004
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#1


Otto Zehm

Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. has been sentenced to four years and three months in prison in the 2006 beating death of Otto Zehm.

A police officer was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison for using excessive force against a mentally disabled janitor who died after being erroneously suspected of stealing money from an ATM.

Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., 65, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle to four years and three months for his role in the 2006 death of Otto Zehm.

Van Sickle said he hoped the sentence would begin to bring closure to Zehm's family and to the Spokane community, which has been at odds with the police department as a result of this case and others.

"This had a significant impact on the community and how it viewed its police department," Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle also ordered that Thompson be taken into custody immediately, over the objections of defense lawyers, who wanted him to remain free while the verdict is appealed.

Thompson was convicted last year by a federal jury of violating Zehm's civil rights by using excessive force and then lying to investigators in the case.

Six years ago, Zehm was beaten and stunned by Thompson in a convenience store. He was hog-tied and sat on by other officers until he passed out. The 36-year-old died two days later without regaining consciousness.

Zehm had committed no crime.

Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich argued for a sentence of zero to 16 months, saying there was no evidence presented that the actions of Thompson led directly to Zehm's death.

Thompson addressed the court, apologizing to Zehm's mother. "I did not intend to harm Mr. Zehm that night, and did not act in malice," he said. "I have dedicated my life to protection of the public."

Thompson is a Vietnam veteran and a decorated 40-year veteran of law enforcement in Los Angeles, northern Idaho and Spokane, Oreskovich said. "This man before you is not a villain," Oreskovich told the judge.

But federal prosecutors noted that Thompson attacked Zehm without warning, and struck him repeatedly with a 30-inch baton and also stunned him.

"There were seven baton strikes in less than eight seconds," said Tim Durkin, an assistant U.S. attorney.

"There is compelling medical evidence in this case that Mr. Zehm sustained serious bodily injury."

Prosecutors sought a sentence of nine to 11 years because of the seriousness of the attack on Zehm, and its impact on the community.

"When officers abuse their power and lie to cover it up, it fundamentally undermines" their position of trust in the community, said Victor Boutros, a Justice Department attorney who helped prosecute the case.

On March 18, 2006, police received a report that a man matching Zehm's description might have stolen money from people at an ATM. Surveillance video showed that Thompson found Zehm inside a convenience store and immediately struck him repeatedly with a baton and shocked him with a stun gun.

Other officers arrived and hogtied Zehm, put a rubber mask over his mouth, and sat on him. It was later determined that he had not committed any crime.

His last words were: "All I wanted was a Snickers bar," according to trial testimony.

Anger boiled in the community over the death, but the Spokane County prosecutor's office declined to bring charges against any officers. Amid demands for justice, federal prosecutors eventually charged

Thompson with violating Zehm's civil rights through use of excessive force and then lying to investigators.

Prosecutors also alleged the case involved an extensive cover-up by police. That investigation is ongoing.
Boutros said it was important to remember that Zehm, a mentally ill janitor, had committed no crime.

"He was just going in as he always did to buy his soda and his candy," Boutros said. Thompson's actions warranted prison time, he said.

"A badge cannot equate to a free pass," Boutros said.

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mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
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#2

That picture says three things.

1. He's retarded
2. He's crying
3. He's crying because he's retarded
 

Creasy Bear

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#3
The cop wasn't awarded a medal and promoted? Kirk is going to be shocked and disappointed.
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,444
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#4
Gather he liked being a cop...

Thompson is a Vietnam veteran and a decorated 40-year veteran of law enforcement in Los Angeles, northern Idaho and Spokane, Oreskovich said

 

mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
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#5
I gather there's not much else to do in northern Idaho and Spokane other than be a fascist dickhead copper or a retard.
 

Bluestreak

This space intentionally left blank.
Sep 27, 2007
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#6
His last words were: "All I wanted was a Snickers bar"
 

LiddyRules

I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot In The Whole Galaxy
Jun 1, 2005
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#7
Shit really went bad for him after the D stopped doing his open mic.
 

SpokaneFlyer

Registered User
Jan 24, 2009
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#11
The cop wasn't awarded a medal and promoted? Kirk is going to be shocked and disappointed.
There is a reason this case has taken 6 years. The cops here seem to be allowed a lot of latitude. The amount of officer involved shootings here is a little disturbing. Maybe it is because of this case that they just decided to shoot first and ask questions later.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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21,269
693
Maine
#12
Well he sounds kinda like a cop we used to know one town over... he was prob in his late 50's and had worked at several other departments before ending up on the town department.

Couple of Fun Facts:

The local supermarket pharmacy was robbed of Oxi's at gun point... it was his son.

He liked to drink at the local brew pub diet cokes and rum and used to like flinging Goldfish crackers down the bartenders cleavage. We used to eat there occasionally and would talk to him etc (prob at least on 5 or 6 different occasions)

I saw him at the local metal recyclers turning in a car (that his son totaled) he didn't know me from Adam.

Oh at the same said brew pug they had a comedian guess he got liquored up and punched someone. He got charged... but charges were dropped and he resigned. He prob moved a couple towns up and it working at some other local town PD.

Oh well.

And yep I know... cool story bro.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#14
What kind of maroon robs a store in the same small town they live in?
thats why they steal shit, they are maroons i know a few local nipple heads that are so fucking stupid they rob the restaurants they worked for
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,444
21,269
693
Maine
#17
What kind of maroon robs a store in the same small town they live in?
Actually him and his son live a couple of towns over from the grocery store... and he got away on a bicycle... the staties even brought their helicopter down...

Oh here is the master criminal doing the job...



Oh he got caught and got sentenced to 2 1/2 years... oh and his younger brother got arrested for stealing oxi's from a Wallgreens up state north of Portland...

Oh here's his brother...



The mother who was charged in connection...



And the older brother... he was the wheel man for the younger brother at the second robbery.

 
Dec 8, 2004
49,444
21,269
693
Maine
#20
Oh and the father...



Totally forgot he ran for town council... hoping people would forget his shenanigans at the brew pub.
 

Creasy Bear

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Mar 10, 2006
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#25
There was a guy I knew when I worked for GE on Long Island. He worked for GE too... one of the field techs.

The stoopit bastid got caught stealing endoscopes(diagnostic cameras they shove up yer arse) from one of our contracted hospitals. The scopes are frighteningly expensive, and there is a ton of money to be made in taking them apart and selling the parts as repair parts... and that's just what the dope was doing.

The real stupidity came in how they caught him... they got him redhanded on security camera walking right out of the room where the units were stored carrying a bag in his hand that wasn't in his hand when he walked into the storeroom.

Here's the bigger stupidity... he knew the security cameras were there... BECAUSE HE INSTALLED THEM! He was a tech for the alarm company that installed the camera system before he went to work for GE as a hospital equipment fixer guy.

Fucking dummy figured they wouldn't bother reviewing the security footage over a mere kerfuffle of 40 thousand dollars worth of missing medical equipment.

I just checked the NYS inmate lookup... dumbass got out of the clink after doing 3 years for grand larceny and possession of stolen property for the great ass camera heist. According to the databanks... he breathed the fresh air for less than a year, and now he's back upstate. Popped him for burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and parole violations this time... earliest possible release date: 5/21/2015.

Jesus... what a fucking blockhead.