YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal jury in Yakima is deliberating in the trial of a Spokane police officer accused of using excessive force against a suspect who died.
The case against Office Karl Thompson went to the jury Monday. If convicted of violating civil rights and lying to investigators he could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors say he beat 36-year-old Otto Zehm who was mistakenly suspected of theft. Zehm stopped breathing and died after the 2006 encounter in a convenience store.
Thompson’s defense lawyer says he followed his training to respond to a perceived threat.