According to the Associated Press, a federal judge has vacated sentencing for Spokane police officer Karl F. Thompson, which allows Thompson’s defense team until January 24th to file a motion for a new trial. Law enforcement officer Thompson had been convicted of using excessive force against Otto Zehm in 2006, resulting in Zehm’s death. Zehm was described as a schizophrenic who had gone into a convenience store for a candy bar. Surveillance video showed Thompson rushing up to Zehm with little or no warning, knocking him down and beating him repeatedly with a police baton. Other cops hogtied Zehm and sat on him. A medical examiner determined Zehm died from lack of oxygen to the brain due to heart failure while being restrained on his stomach.
U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle called off Thompson’s sentencing, citing “unusual” circumstances surrounding a forensic video analyst’s allegations. Thompson was scheduled to be sentenced January 27th.
Spokane County officials had declined to press charges against Thompson, which prompted federal authorities to intervene. This case was a factor in the recent defeat of Mayor Mary Verner and the resignation of police chief Anne Kirkpatrick, according to the Associate Press article.
Below is a video from the original trial against police officer Karl Thompson: