City Council unanimously approve Zehm settlement

Author: Colleen O'Brien, Reporter / Weekend Anchor, colleeno@kxly.com
Published On: May 21 2012 04:04:23 PM PDT   Updated On: May 22 2012 12:08:02 AM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Spokane City Council unanimously approved the proposed settlement between the family of Otto Zehm and the city at Monday night's council meeting.

Zehm died in 2006 after a confrontation with police at a convenience store. The ensuing investigation found Zehm had done nothing wrong and the family sued for $14.5 Million

Last week a tentative settlement has the city paying $1.6 Million. The deal also requires the city to apologize, erect a permanent structure in a city park in Otto's name and ensure training for police officers to deal with people who have mental health issues.

On Monday night the council voted 7-0 to approve the settlement. Every council member, except for Mike Fagan, spoke about the issue. Nancy McLaughlin, the only member who was part of the council when the confrontation happened in 2006 said, "As A mother of three children, my heart goes out to Mrs. Zehm."

The vote was easy for the seven members, but it's just the beginning.

"We have a lot of work to do on police reform. You know, we passed a resolution with 12 different items ;and as you heard ombudsman Tim Burns say tonight, you know, we're starting to publish the internal affairs reports, but we have a long ways to go. We have a lot of heavy lifting to do," said council president Ben Stuckart.