A police officer was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison for using excessive force against a mentally disabled janitor who died after being erroneously suspected of stealing money from an ATM.
Six years ago, Zehm was beaten and stunned by Thompson in a convenience store. He was hog-tied and sat on by other officers until he passed out. The 36-year-old died two days later without regaining consciousness.
Zehm had committed no crime.
Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich argued for a sentence of zero to 16 months, saying there was no evidence presented that the actions of Thompson led directly to Zehm's death.
federal prosecutors noted that Thompson attacked Zehm without warning, and struck him repeatedly with a 30-inch baton and also stunned him.
"There were seven baton strikes in less than eight seconds," said Tim Durkin, an assistant U.S. attorney. "There is compelling medical evidence in this case that Mr. Zehm sustained serious bodily injury."
On March 18, 2006, police received a report that a man matching Zehm's description might have stolen money from people at an ATM. Surveillance video showed that Thompson found Zehm inside a convenience store and immediately struck him repeatedly with a baton and shocked him with a stun gun.
Other officers arrived and hogtied Zehm, put a rubber mask over his mouth, and sat on him. It was later determined that he had not committed any crime.
His last words were: "All I wanted was a Snickers bar,
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