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Fed Jury Convicts Cop in Fatal Beating of Man Whose Last Words Were “All I wanted was a Snickers”

 By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Call it one of the low points in policing in Spokane, Wash.

A federal jury on Wednesday  convicted a Spokane, Wash., police officer  on civil rights and obstruction charges in the beating death of an unarmed man, the Justice Department announced.

Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., 64, was convicted on charges stemming from a March 18, 2006 beating of an unarmed citizen and subsequent cover-up. Officer Thompson had claimed he felt threatened by a plastic bottle of soda the victim was holding, which justified the fatal beating.

But video evidence presented at trial established that on that day, while Zehm went to purchase soda and snacks at a Zip Trip convenience store, Thompson ran into the store, drew his baton and charged at a completely unaware Zehm, according to the Justice Department.

As the victim turned into a candy aisle he saw the officer charging at him, and within 2.5 seconds Thompson had delivered two overhand baton blows to the victim’s head, dropping him to the ground. With Zehm lying in the fetal position, Thomas then delivered taser blasts to Zehm’s chest. Zehm never stood up again.

Thompson remained standing above Zehm, delivering baton blows, “including a final flurry of seven baton strikes in eight seconds.” The incident was caught on the store’s security cameras.

The Justice Department said Thompson had responded to a vague and uncertain report earlier that night. Two teenagers said a man matching Zehm’s description had lingered around them at an ATM machine, making them feel uncomfortable. Driving away, the kids were uncertain if they had canceled their transaction and reported seeing the man walk up to the ATM and walk away with what looked like money in his hand.

“Prior to Thompson’s first strike, dispatchers made clear that the complainants were not sure whether the man at the ATM had taken any of their money,” said the FBI. “One of the women at the ATM who called 911 that night testified at trial that she was horrified by Thompson’s rapid series of overhand baton blows to the victim.”

Witnesses testified to hearing Zehm’s last words: “All I wanted was a Snickers,” he said from the floor of the Zip Trip convenience store. The man’s paycheck was found in his pocket.

Thompson later denied hitting Zehm over the head in his report of the incidence. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

 

 


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