Ex-Spokane cop won’t have to pay restitution in death
A federal judge says an imprisoned ex-police officer from Spokane cannot be required to pay $825,000 restitution in the death of an unarmed janitor whose family received a $1.67 million settlement from the city of Spokane.
A federal judge rejected demands that former Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson Jr. pay $825,000 in restitution to taxpayers and the family of Otto Zehm.
Thompson is imprisoned in Safford, Ariz.
A jury convicted him of using excessive force and lying to investigators about the death of Zehm, an unarmed janitor.
U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle ruled the city of Spokane already accepted responsibility for its failure to adequately train and supervise the police force.
The city paid Zehm’s family $1.67 million to settle a civil lawsuit.
Federal prosecutors wanted Thompson to pay for Zehm’s medical expenses, attorney fees, lost wages, Zehm’s cremation and for the memorial plaque the city installed in Mission Park.
Although Thompson provoked the behavior that led to Zehm’s death and bears the financial liability, Van Sickle decided this week that Zehm’s mother, Ann Zehm, already has been paid through the city’s settlement of the family’s suit against the city. She is not entitled “to recover twice for the same losses,” Van Sickle said.
Van Sickle rejected a request from prosecutors to require Thompson to reimburse the city, ruling that Zehm’s injuries were not solely Thompson’s fault.