Judge: Officer can be free until sentencing



SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Spokane police officer can be free pending sentencing for his conviction for using excessive force against a mentally ill man in 2006. The man died.

Convicted last Wednesday, Karl Thompson was ordered jailed on Friday by a federal magistrate and left a Spokane courtroom in the custody of U.S. marshals. KREM reports that acting on a defense motion, U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle ordered Thompson released late Monday, pending sentencing set for Jan. 27.

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

Thompson was convicted on charges of violating Zehm’s civil rights by using excessive force against him, and of lying to cover up his actions. Zehm died two days after the March 18, 2006, beating.


Information from: KREM-TV, http://www.krem.com/