Thompson excessive force trial on hold
Prosecutors in the Thompson excessive force trial have received a 60-day continuance so they can appeal a judge?s ruling that they could not reveal information that showed Otto Zehm?s innocence.
Jury selection in the Karl Thompson excessive force case, scheduled to start at 11 a.m., was put on hold after Judge Fred Van Sickle ruled Monday morning that prosecutors could not bring up Otto Zehm?s innocence to the jury. Van Sickle added that they could only discuss what Spokane Police officers knew at the time of their response to a North Division Zip Trip convenience store in 2006.
Prosecuting attorneys asked for an hour to confer with US Attorney Jim McDevitt to decide whether or not they would appeal Judge Van Sickle?s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That hour was extended after the meeting as prosecutors needed time to confer with the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
The case has now been put on an indefinite hold as prosecutors prepare their appeal to the 9th Circuit and wait for a verdict.
Thompson was among the officers responding to the Zip Trip after two women called 911 claiming Zehm may have taken their money from an ATM, which was later proven to be incorrect. Surveillance video of the incident shows Thompson entering the Zip Trip, where he struck Zehm with a baton multiple times and them tased him.
Zehm was physically restrained, placed on his stomach and subsequently stopped breathing. He died two days later on March 20, 2006 in a Spokane hospital.
The Spokane Police Department cleared Thompson of wrongdoing.
The trial, once it does get underway, is expected to last up to a month. If convicted Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison.
He faces up to 20 years in prison. The trial is expected to last at least a month.