Trial opens for Spokane officer accused in beating




YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Opening statements are scheduled Thursday in the trial of a Spokane police officer accused of using unreasonable force in an encounter that ended with the death of a mentally ill man.

Officer Karl Thompson also is charged with lying to investigators about the March 18, 2006, encounter with Otto Zehm, a 36-year-old schizophrenic janitor who died two days after the arrest. Court records say Zehm was beaten with a baton, hogtied and sat on by officers.

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle moved the trial from Spokane to Yakima due to extensive pretrial news coverage. A jury was seated Wednesday.