Zehm family relieved with settlement
It's been six years since Otto Zehm died following a confrontation with Spokane Polic and now his family finally has some closure.
Tuesday night the City of Spokane announced a settlement with Zehm's family. Through mediation the city agreed to pay $1.6 Million, apologize to the family and provide additional training to police.
Otto's cousin Dale Zehm said the family is satisfied with the settlement and very relieved that they finally have some closure. Dale was involved in the mediation sessions this week; while he doesn't want to go into detail about what happened in those closed door meetings he says the family is happy to finally be at this point.
"The settlement was reached that is acceptable to our family; it was never about a financial settlement and the money. No amount of money can replace Otto's life," he said.
In addition to the $1.6 Million settlement the Spokane Police Department will give crisis intervention training to patrol officers and the city will give a written apology to Otto's mom.
"There is a lot of relief for the family, yeah definitely, especially for my aunt," Zehm said.
Also part of the settlement is a request to the park board to name a pavilion in Otto's honor. The family says it would be nice to have that pavilion here at Mission Park.
"He grew up around this area and he did come here," Zehm said.
While Wednesday is a happy one for the family they say that it's not over yet. Former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson was convicted last fall but still hasn't been sentenced.
"It is half of our closure and we are waiting for those other final things to happen," Zehm said.
The civil settlement needs to be approved by the city council and it's expected to be presented to them at their Monday meeting. The Spokane Police Department says they'll comment on the settlement once it's approved by the council.
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