Friday, November 18, 2011

Verner's letter to the justice department cites Zehm case

Posted on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Earlier this week, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said that she would be asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the entire police department.

When she announced this, she had already consulted with U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby about such an investigation, and he recommended contacting Thomas Perez, in the justice department's civil rights division. So she did just that.

In her letter to Perez, she asked the department to take a "specific look into compliance and accountability surrounding our policies and procedures." She also wrote that the recent conviction of Karl Thompson on charges stemming from the death of Otto Zehm "causes me to ask that the Division also examine how we retain evidence and work product in Spokane Police Department investigations." Thompson faces years in prison for using excessive force and lying to investigators, but is currently not incarcerated. 

In related news, Officer Tim Moses resigned from his post as a police spokesman yesterday after his lawyer reportedly advised him to. The Spokesman recently reported that the forewoman of the jury that convicted Thompson said it was Moses' testimony that sealed the conviction for the jurors.

"We were all on the fence until Tim Moses took the stand. That man gave everything away," the forewoman, Diane Riley, told the paper. “You could tell by his attitude and how he presented himself. You don’t get that way unless you are guilty of something or hiding something. It was just a gut instinct that this man was covering something up. His attitude in general turned us off."

Here's a copy of Verner's letter (pdf).

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