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Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shopper

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Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shopper

Postby diggerdick » Nov 19th, 2012, 2:21 pm

http://rt.com/usa/news/thompson-zehm-be ... okane-096/ Former police officer Karl Thompson Jr. will serve four years in prison after being sentenced last week for the death he caused of a mentally disabled man inside of a Spokane, Washington convenience store in 2006.

It isn’t likely to be the closing chapter in a six-year-old story that has become one of the biggest criminal cases out of the Pacific Northwest town in recent years, though. Defense attorneys for the disgraced officer say they plan on appealing the sentence and, according to KHQ News, Thompson will receive his pension while spending the next 51 month in prison.

In the meantime, though, it’s the most recent episode in a lengthy court battle to prosecute a police officer who not only assaulted and killed a man never questioned nor charged with a crime, but who also went out of his way to lie about his actions to try to stay out of prison.

According to trial testimony, the last words 36-year-old Otto Zehm ever said before being brutally beaten inside a Spokane shop was, "All I wanted was a Snickers bar.”

As crime reporter Linda Thomas writes, though, “This is a story of lies, none of them told by Zehm.”

As the tale goes, Zehm regularly went to the Spokane Zip Trip every night after picking up a few bucks in order to indulge on a routine feast of sugary snacks and soda. On March 18, 2006, things never made it that far. Zehm was taking out money from a nearby ATM when a group of teenagers phoned 911 and told a dispatcher that the mentally disabled janitor looked like he was trying to steal from the automated teller machine. The car followed him to Zip Trip, updating the dispatcher all the while, until Officer Thompson was the first cop on the scene and took matters into his own hands.

“Twice the officer ordered Zehm to ‘drop the pop,’” Thomas writes, but the bewildered convenience shopper wasn’t quite sure why he was being approached, a fact only made more clear by surveillance camera footage that caught most of that night’s events on tape. Also included on that footage is Thompson bludgeoning Zehm with his baton — seven times in eight seconds, at one point — then discharging his Taser gun on the victim and beating him some more.

Then Thompson hogties Zehm, on film. Along with other officers that eventually made it into the store, Thompson flipped the bleeding and bruised man onto his stomach and then strapped a plastic mask over his face. Investigators believe he stopped breathing around three minutes later, but it was two days before Zehm was declared dead. At that point, coroners concluded that he passed away from "lack of oxygen to the brain due to heart failure while being restrained on his stomach."

"This is a case where an innocent man died never understanding why he had been attacked,” US Attorney Victor Boutros said during last week’s sentencing.

Fellow prosecuting US attorney Tim Durkin told the court, "There is compelling medical evidence in this case that Mr. Zehm sustained serious bodily injury.” Thompson initially denied using his baton, though, saying at first that it would have constituted unjustifiable deadly force. Testimonies from witnesses and other evidence later brought out the truth, though, and, eventually another charge against the officer: making a false statement. When Thompson did come clean with the truth, he said his actions were justified since he was threatened by the plastic bottle of soda the Zehm was holding when he was first approached, Courthouse News Service reports.

Thompson was sentenced last week after being convicted a year earlier and has been quickly transferred to a federal holding facility while prison officials try to figure out the best place to put the officer to serve the rest of his barely four-year-long sentence. Meanwhile, his attorney intends to convince the court to cancel his client’s time behind bars.

Originally, defense attorney Carl Oreskovich asked the court to hand out a sentence of only zero to 16 months for Thompson, insisting that none of his client’s actions had contributed directly to Zehm’s death. Prosecutors were looking at 11 years.

"I did not intend to harm Mr. Zehm that night, and did not act in malice,” Thompson told the court.

Speaking outside the court room last week, Oreskovich said, “It’s been a hard fought case,” and that “there are issues upon issues that will go up on appeal, and the issues are substantial.” Just two months earlier, Oreskovich had unsuccessfully asked a judge for a retrial.

“We think that the right decision would have been to grant us a new trial and we are optimistic that the court of appeals will agree,” Oreskovich told The Spokesman-Review in the weeks before his client’s sentencing. Now that Thompson has been transferred to federal custody, Oreskovich is already trying to tackle that issue and have his client released so that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can review the judge’s decision to detain Thompson immediately after last week’s sentencing.

Thompson’s full conviction was for use of excessive force and lying in the ensuing investigation. A separate probe is currently underway to determine if other officers with the Spokane Police Department attempted to cover-up the truth of the matter during the six years it took to bring Thompson to justice. Some other officers have already been reprimanded for their role, though: of the seven cops in all that were involved in detaining, beating and killing Zehm, three received one day of paid administrative leave. An attorney for Zehm’s estate in a civil case tied to the matter confirms to the Spokesman-Review that the defense’s counsel was comped by taxpayer funds and, according to the latest report out of KHQ News, the 60-year-old Thompson will receive his pension from behind bars — assuming Oreskovich fails with his attempts to have his sentence overturned.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby diggerdick » Nov 19th, 2012, 2:29 pm

of the seven cops in all that were involved in detaining, beating and killing Zehm, three received one day of paid administrative leave :eyeballspin:

Stuff like this is extremely hard to ignore especially when it happens only couple hundred miles away.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby rideforever » Nov 19th, 2012, 6:45 pm

Stuff like this affects how I view all cops, how I plan to respond if I see one in need of help and how I plan to vote if my vote would ever impact their wages/punishments. Some of them are the scum of society. The rest of them are letting the scum get away with it and are not worthy of the reasonably large wage they get.

It's also a good example of what to do when you think a crime is occurring but aren't sure. Remember you may be executing the potential criminal so you really should have a clue what's going on before you call in the sociopaths, do not call the cops 'just to be safe'.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby rideforever » Nov 19th, 2012, 6:46 pm

diggerdick wrote:of the seven cops in all that were involved in detaining, beating and killing Zehm, three received one day of paid administrative leave :eyeballspin:

Stuff like this is extremely hard to ignore especially when it happens only couple hundred miles away.


They should all be fired for letting an assault take place without arresting the perp, and double fired since the assault turned into murder.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby AllthatFunk » Nov 19th, 2012, 7:29 pm

rideforever wrote:Stuff like this affects how I view all cops, how I plan to respond if I see one in need of help and how I plan to vote if my vote would ever impact their wages/punishments. Some of them are the scum of society. The rest of them are letting the scum get away with it and are not worthy of the reasonably large wage they get.

It's also a good example of what to do when you think a crime is occurring but aren't sure. Remember you may be executing the potential criminal so you really should have a clue what's going on before you call in the sociopaths, do not call the cops 'just to be safe'.


Personally I hope this particular cop gets punished with the maximum sentence avaliable. He contributed to the death of an innocent man and for that he should be charged. They other officers that arrived on the scene after the altercation was already occuring, should also be held accountable for their part in the mans death.

However, rideforever, you're no better than the cop. He obviously painted the guy as a criminal, he clearly over reacted and could have cared less what the truth was. You paint all cops with the same brush. You say that some are the scum of society and the rest are basically useless? Wow. I hope you are never in a situation where you actually need a cop to respond. I also hope you never witness a possible crime in progress, because clearly you wouldn't call the cops.

A police officer responds to hundreds of calls each year. Many go smoothly but in some cases things turn bad. Innocent people can get hurt. But more often than not, criminals are caught and prosecuted. If a criminal gets off, its not the cops fault. Its the justice system. Its the public whining about their rights being infringed upon that cause the justice system to be so crappy.

As much as we all get frustrated with some incedents of police brutality, I believe that most police officers are trying to do the right thing. They aren't monsters that are trigger happy and just go around beating the crap out of people. I hope that when you're in the wrong place at the wrong time and someone is beating the crap out of you or stealing your stuff, the cops look the other way. Why should they help someone who has such a low opinion of them.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby rideforever » Nov 20th, 2012, 12:12 am

So, you think saying mean things about police is as bad as beating someone?

That's the attitude that drives me up the wall. I think that's what causes so many of these problems. This attitude that most cops are heros, and doing what they do out of the kindness of their hearts and anyone who doesn't always suck up to them must be a bad person. It's like they forget that they're being paid to do it, they even ask why should they help people who don't suck up.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby JayByrd » Nov 20th, 2012, 8:26 am

It doesn't sound like this affected your view of cops at all, rideforever. I think you already had your mind made up. Sort of like Mr. Thompson already had his mind up about what was going on, and flew off the handle in response. Neither of you are being fair, and with remarks like "call in the sociopaths", no one is going to trust your objectivity. Maybe you care about that, maybe you don't.

Regular citizens commit many heinous crimes too, so I hope you make the same assumptions about them.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby ukcanuck » Nov 20th, 2012, 8:35 am

rideforever wrote:So, you think saying mean things about police is as bad as beating someone?

That's the attitude that drives me up the wall. I think that's what causes so many of these problems. This attitude that most cops are heros, and doing what they do out of the kindness of their hearts and anyone who doesn't always suck up to them must be a bad person. It's like they forget that they're being paid to do it, they even ask why should they help people who don't suck up.

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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby theyeti » Nov 20th, 2012, 8:43 am

this has pretty well happened to me as well . i lived but it was close ..

i was also innocent that day .

this is typical police work
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby WhatThe » Nov 20th, 2012, 9:45 am

AllthatFunk wrote:Its the public whining about their rights being infringed upon that cause the justice system to be so crappy.

Actually, not having ones rights unduly infringed is the point of our justice system.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby Captain Awesome » Nov 20th, 2012, 9:48 am

The guy should stay in jail for much longer. Or psych unit.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby ukcanuck » Nov 20th, 2012, 11:02 am

allthatfunk wrote: ]Its the public whining about their rights being infringed upon that cause the justice system to be so crappy.


Wow that's quite a sentence to read on a thread about a challenged guy who was beaten with a night stick, tasered, hog tied and suffocated with a plastic mask by four cops while trying to buy a snickers bar...

If the guy were still alive I think he could be excused for whining about his rights being slightly abused. :137:
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby AllthatFunk » Nov 20th, 2012, 7:37 pm

rideforever wrote:So, you think saying mean things about police is as bad as beating someone?

That's the attitude that drives me up the wall. I think that's what causes so many of these problems. This attitude that most cops are heros, and doing what they do out of the kindness of their hearts and anyone who doesn't always suck up to them must be a bad person. It's like they forget that they're being paid to do it, they even ask why should they help people who don't suck up.


I was referring to the false judgement that he placed on the guy. He just assumed that the guy was a criminal...just as you are assuming that all cops are a-holes.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby AllthatFunk » Nov 20th, 2012, 7:53 pm

ukcanuck wrote:
allthatfunk wrote: ]Its the public whining about their rights being infringed upon that cause t justice system to be so crappy.


Wow that's quite a sentence to read on a thread about a challenged guy who was beaten with a night stick, tasered, hog tied and suffocated with a plastic mask by four cops while trying to buy a snickers bar...

If the guy were still alive I think he could be excused for whining about his rights being slightly abused. :137:


As I stated, that cop should be charged. I also did not even remotely suggest that this fellow was whining. That part of my comment was in reference to people, who are criminals, crying foul when they perceive mistreatment by police or the justice system. I am sick of criminals getting treated better, in prison, than most of us that contribute to society in a positive manner.
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Re: Cop gets four years for brutal murder of innocent shoppe

Postby FreeRights » Nov 21st, 2012, 11:10 am

I cannot comment on the other seven police officers, but this Thompson should be in jail for a very long time, and should never don a government uniform ever again.
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