Thompson's friends & family ask judge for leniency


by & Ashley Korslien

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 7:21 PM

SPOKANE - More than 30 friends, colleagues and loved ones of former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson submitted character letters on his behalf, asking for the judge to be lenient and reasonable during Thursday’s sentencing.

Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. was convicted by a federal jury of using excessive force and then lying to investigators in a case that shook public confidence in the Spokane Police Department.

Sentencing is set for 9:00 a.m. Thursday at the Federal Court building in downtown Spokane.

The letters addressed to Hon. Fredrick L. Van Sickle, U.S. District Court, come from former colleagues, supervisors, friends and family members of Thompson.

John Zorn, one of Thompson’s former patrol supervisors wrote: "I have known no officer more honest, straight-forward or professional than Karl. He has been wholly dedicated to serving and protecting the public. I believe he remains the good man I have known for much of my life."

Robert Kramer, a former principal at Glover Middle School in Spokane, said he got to know Thompson when he worked as a school resource officer in 2000. He wrote:  "In my time as an educator I have worked with several members of law enforcement. Never in all my years did I work with a finer officer than Karl Thompson. He truly cared about our kids and they knew that."

Greg Orlando said he provided direct oversight to Thompson in the mid 1990’s as probation officer supervisor of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. He wrote:  "My personal knowledge and experience with Karl is that he is truly a good man. Lots of integrity, lots of heart. He has helped many. The incident before the court does not represent the man I know, and I hope that all considerations will be afforded for his and justice's sake."

Thompson’s former working partner Officer Ron Ryan wrote:  "I know after reading this you may think that I'm simply writing to help a friend. I am not. I am writing this because of all that people I have known in my 64 years, Karl Thompson is the most decent person I have ever known. He deserves the same compassion he has given to all others."

Thompson daughter Megan also wrote a letter to the judge describing how she is proud to stand next to her father. She wrote that she currently lives in the Washington D.C. area and works as a legislative aide for a U.S. senator focusing on health (including mental health), child welfare, and small business issues. Megan wrote:  "My father has always encouraged me, believed in me, and listened to me-but the most powerful lessons he has taught me are how to treat others and that the right things are worth fighting for, no matter how hard it might be."

Several weeks ago, Prosecutors submitted letters on behalf of Otto Zehm. Click here to read those comments.