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Family of Otto Zehm feels justice was served

By Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Nov 16 2012 12:10:22 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 16 2012 12:29:22 PM CST
Dale Zehm Otto cousin
SPOKANE, Wash. -

With former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson now behind bars, Otto Zehm's family hopes for closure and healing.

On Thursday, Karl Thompson was sentenced to 51 months in prison for violating Zehm's civil rights by using excessive force and lying to investigators.

"Well, I'm pleased with the judge's decision," Dale Zehm said.

 "I am just glad that somebody is finally accountable for my cousin's death," he added.

 Dale and Sandy Zehm addressed a packed courtroom before Judge Fred Van Sickle announced his decision.

 "It was, it was very tragic so and he never had a chance, never given a chance to know what was happening to him," Sandy Zehm said.

 Soon after Thompson was sentenced, his defense team quickly argued to keep him out of jail pending an appeal.  After a tense debate between the defense and prosecution, Thompson left in handcuffs. 

 "I think the community ought to take faith and confidence that the rules are applied to all of us the same way.  And I think that it is very, very important and I think that's one of the most important decisions the judge made today and we wholeheartedly agree with," U.S.  Attorney general Mike Ormsby said.

 "It's time for all of us to move forward and I am hopeful we'll be able to do just that," he said.

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