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Tag: spokane

Extremism on the Rise in Northwest?

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is extremism on the rise in the Northwest part of the country? A  report from the Columbian newspaper out of Vancouver, Wash., seems to point to that.

One example: As a house in Washougal, Wash.,  burned to the ground recently a self-proclaimed white separatist shot at firefighters to keep them away, reports the Columbian, in one of several incidents in which “extremists of various kinds made news in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.”

A representative of the Montana Human Rights Network told the paper the reasons included a black president, growing distrust with the federal government, a bad economy and continuing growth among minority groups.

“All of this has created a perfect storm of anger, fear, and resentment that white supremacists are trying to tap into and capitalize upon,” Travis McAdam said.

To read more click here.

 

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.

 

 

FBI Agents Held Off For Hours Telling Suspect Why He Was Arrested

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge  was none to happy to hear that the FBI intentionally failed for several hours to tell a man suspected of planting a bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., why he had been arrested, the Associated Press reported. He was also not immediately read his Miranda warning.

AP reported that the FBI held off on telling suspect Kevin Harpham, 37, a white supremacist, to try and gain his trust. Harpham provided no confession during that time.

U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush indicated he would have barred prosecutors from using any statement at trial, slated for Aug. 22.

In court testimony, FBI agent Joseph Cleary said agents were trying to win the trust of Harpham.

“Agent Cleary acknowledged that with this procedure the agents hoped Harpham would give a statement and confess to an offense, which he did not,” court documents said, according to AP.

Agents taped a 10 minute conversation with Harmpham at Stevens County Sheriff’s Office without reading him his rights, the court records showed.

“No incriminating or inculpatory statements were made by Harpham during that time,” court documents said.

FBI Arrests Man in MLK Day Bomb Incident in Spokane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday announced the arrest of an ex-soldier with ties to White Supremacists in connection with a bomb that was placed along the parade route at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in Spokane, Wa., on Jan. 17.

Kevin William Harpham, age 36, of Colville, Wa. was arrested and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. The Spokesman Review reported that Harpham served from 1996 to 1999 as a fire support specialist with the Army’s 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.

The Spokesman Review reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed that Harpham in 2004 was a member of the White Supremacist group, the National Alliance.

“What to me this arrest suggests is that the Martin Luther King Day attack is what it always looked like: A terror-mass murder attempt directed at black people and their sympathizers,” Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project told the paper.

But Erich Gliebe, chairman of the National Alliance, based in Hillsboro, W.Va., told the paper that Harpham is not a member of the group.

“We have a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal activity and anyone committing those acts – even hinting or joking — would not be welcome in our organization,” Gliebe said.