Mayor apologizes for Zehm death


by Katie Utehs &

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:22 AM

SPOKANE-- Spokane Mayor David Condon met with Ann Zehm, the mother of Otto Zehm, last week to deliver a letter of apology. Zehm died after a violent confrontation in 2006 with Spokane police officer Karl Thompson. It was later revealed Zehm was falsely accused of theft.

The apology is one of the final steps the city has to make to complete a settled agreement.

KREM 2 is told the meeting between Zehm and Mayor Condon was heartfelt and intimate. It’s one piece of closure that she’s asked for since the beginning of this legal battle.

The case divided the city for years, but a recent civil settlement may bring closure.

The handwritten letter from the mayor to Zehm was part of the agreement. In it, Condon writes, “You and our community waited far too long for a resolution in this matter. For me, the blame was clearly misplaced in hits case, and I fear that compounded the pain for you and many others.”

We’re told the mayor and Ann Zehm met in private with other members of the Zehm family, and Mrs. Zehm accepted the apology graciously.

The city also agreed to a financial settlement of $1.67 million. The mayor delivered a check for the city’s portion of $720,000 in the same visit. The city’s insurance will cover the rest.

Additional training or the Spokane Police Department is still in the works. The city has two years to enforce it.

Also not yet finalized is a plaque in Otto Zehm’s honor. It will be placed a local city park. The Parks Department is working with the Zehm family to decide where the plaque should be placed.

While the settlement is almost complete, what remains to be settled is Thomson’s future. Thompson was convicted last November of excessive force and lying to investigators. Two other officers may also face federal indictments. Officers Tim Moses and Sandra McIntyre have received target letters from federal investigators for their role in the Thompson criminal case and alleged cover-up.

The judge has not yet set any hearing dates for Thompson. He’s been living at home since his conviction.

To read the letter, click here.