YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The defense attorney for Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson says the officer’s use of force was appropriate in the 2006 death of a man in convenience store.
Thompson is accused of using unreasonable force and lying to investigators in the death of Otto Zehm, a 36-year-old schizophrenic man. He has pleaded not guilty.
Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich says Thompson didn’t know if Zehm was armed when he approached him and made a split-second decision to protect the public.
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.