SPOKANE, Wash. - One day before former Spokane Police officer Karl Thompson's sentencing, Spokane County prosecutor Steve Tucker sat down with KHQ to talk about the controversial case.
"It took way too long," Tucker said. Thompson confronted Otto Zehm in the North Division Zip Trip six years ago. Zehm died two days later. The case wound its way through the federal courts until Thompson was tried in a federal courtroom in Yakima last year. But it's been more than a year since Thompson was convicted of using excessive force and lying to investigators. Tucker believes Thompson received special treatment. "He got special treatment cause he's a police officer and got moved out of the county for trial. Not special good or special bad, one way or another, but he was treated differently than a normal citizen would have been."
Thompson will be sentenced Thursday.
It's been six years since Tucker had his eyes on the case. As Spokane County Prosecutor, he was the first to receive Karl Thompson's case about two weeks after the confrontation inside the North Division Zip Trip. But before he could make a decision on whether his office would decide to prosecute Thompson, Tucker said, the Feds swooped in and took it over.
To that end, Tucker said, he had no regrets about not prosecuting Thompson.
"I was still getting police reports in when the Federal people took over so I didn't get to the decision point of what I was doing — and then I was told that some of the information was withheld from me even then — but the feds got all the information and I didn't ever find out what information had been withheld from me really. But I really do hope this does bring some closure to it."
Stay with KHQ Local New for the latest updates on the Thompson sentencing.