Prosecutors: WA officer used badge to abuse power

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a police officer in Washington state used his badge as a license to brutally beat an unarmed citizen who posed no threat.

Prosecutor Victor Boutros said during closing arguments Monday that Officer Karl Thompson also disgraced his badge by constructing a web of lies to cover his actions. Thompson has pleaded not guilty to using excessive force in the death of a 36-year-old schizophrenic man.

Otto Zehm died two days after the encounter in 2006 in a convenience store. Thompson is charged with violating his civil rights by using excessive force and lying to investigators.

Defense attorneys are to deliver their closing arguments later Monday. They say Zehm fought with Thompson.

The case has sparked rage in the community, causing the trial to be moved to Yakima.