YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Spokane, Wash., police officer of using excessive force on a mentally ill man who died in 2006 after being struck and Tasered at a convenience store.
Officer Karl Thompson was accused of brutally beating 36-year-old Otto Zehm during the encounter, and of lying afterward to investigators. Zehm died two days later.
Prosecutors say Thompson disgraced his badge. But the defense maintains the veteran officer used his training and experience to make a split-second decision to protect himself and the public.
Thompson wasn’t charged with killing Zehm. Federal jurors instead found him guilty of violating Zehm’s civil rights by use of excessive force.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.