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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 22, 2009
Washington State Police Officer Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges

A two-count federal grand jury indictment returned against Karl F. Thompson Jr., a Spokane, Wash., police officer, was unsealed today.

The indictment charges Thompson, 61, with the deprivation of Otto Zehm’s civil rights on March 18, 2006, by repeatedly striking him with a baton and tasering him, resulting in bodily injury. The indictment also charges Thompson with making a false entry in a record in a matter investigated by a federal agency.

The civil rights charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, up to three years of court supervision after release and restitution. The falsification of records in a matter investigated by a federal agency carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of court supervision after release.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Victor Boutros and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin.

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