Spokane leaders decry officers’ actions at hearing



SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane’s mayor and police chief are denouncing the actions of some law enforcement officers who attended a court hearing for a fellow officer convicted of using excessive force in the 2006 death of a mentally ill man.

Officer Karl F. Thompson was ordered to be immediately jailed Friday, two days after he was convicted.

As the 64-year-old Thompson left the courtroom in the custody of U.S. marshals, fellow officers stood and saluted him.

Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick later issued a joint statement saying the officers’ behavior was insensitive to the friends and family of the victim, Otto Zehm.

They say the demonstration, “though protected as free speech, does not reflect the values we stand for.”

Investigators say Zehm was beaten and died at the hands of Thompson and other officers in a convenience store in 2006. Zehm had committed no crime.