Spokane police and firefighters are preparing for riots in connection with the trial of Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, KXLY reported last night.
Thompson is accused of violating Otto Zehm's civil rights the night he beat him at a Zip Trip in 2006. He's also charged with lying to investigators looking into the incident, which led to Zehm's death.
The trial wrapped up Monday, but the jury is still deliberating.
"Spokane police train for riots and out-of-control crowds. It's practice they hope they never have to use," reported Erik Loney. "But they are well-aware communities have reacted violently to a jury's verdict before."
Then he mentions the Rodney King riots in 1992. Yikes.
"We would rather be prepared for nothing," says police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe, "than not prepared for something big."
Loney says that the police department wouldn't share how it was preparing for the potential "civil unrest."
"Hopefully it won't occur," Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer told KXLY. "But hope isn't the greatest strategy."
But during their daily roll call, officers have been told not to let anyone engage them in an argument over the Thompson trial. The piece ends by saying that there has been no indication that a riot or any civil unrest will occur. Regardless, the police department is prepared.
For complete coverage of the Zehm trial, visit Inlander.com/ottozehm