Prosecutors recommending Thompson get nine year sentence

Published On: Nov 06 2012 03:51:11 PM PST   Updated On: Nov 06 2012 04:00:20 PM PST
Karl Thompson

In court documents released Monday, federal prosecutors outlined the reasons why they want former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson to spend at least nine years in prison for using excessive force and violating Otto Zehm's civil rights.

Thompson's attorneys want no jail time at all, but what the court documents show is that prosecutors plan to use more than just the facts of the crime to put Thompson behind bars.

Prosecutors say Thompson used a dangerous weapon, obstructed justice and abused his position of power that night in March of 2005, when Thompson met Zehm at a Zip Trip convenience store on North Division.

They also describe Thompson's actions as a "violent, preemptive assault."

Prosecutors want Judge Fred Van Sickle to consider the broader implications of this case on our community.

The erosion of public trust, specifically saying that the election of Mayor David Condon proves the city wanted significant change in police oversight.

They cite the fact Thompson was, at the time, a candidate for the open police chief position and they want the judge to consider what this has cost the city financially, including a $2 Million settlement with the Zehm family and the $500,000 the city spent for Thompson's defense.

Prosecutors also say this case, and Zehm's treatment, have had a devastating effect on the mentally ill in our community, making them fearful of our police department.

Whether or not those factors are considered is up to Judge Van Sickle at Thompson's sentencing on November 15.