Omaha, Nebraska Police Brutality

According to, three arrests were made. The three were brothers that all lived in that house with their wheel-chair bound mom, who was taken to the hospital after police entering the home knocked her out of her chair. The situation began because police were towing vehicles and that guy that gets thrown to the ground in the video asked them what they were doing.

An anonymous submitter said, “I was copied on the email [below] from former police auditor (position eliminated) Tristan Bonn.”

From: Tristan Bonn
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 11:10 AM
To: [email protected]; [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; ‘[email protected]’; [email protected]; [email protected]; ‘Dan Welch’; ‘[email protected]’; [email protected]
Subject: Conduct of Omaha Police Department

Mayor and Chief,

I am attaching the You Tube video for you to see what will soon be a viral experience for viewers in Omaha and around the country, I am sure. What the video depicts can only be described as exactly the type of OPD abuse and excessive force that people in this city have complained about for years, and what people like me have reported for years. The fact that OPD and the past several city administrations, et. al. have covered this kind of conduct up, denied it, and attacked the people who have tried to expose this behavior only makes this matter worse. Had any responsible parties, Chiefs, Mayors, City Attorneys, the media, etc. done their jobs at any time in the past, we likely would not be viewing such an extreme video.

Perhaps the most outrageous behavior captured in this video is the ordinariness of OPD’s actions. The following list of SOP violations, constitutional abuses, and just plain incompetence and unprofessional-ism in no way appear unusual. To wit:

1) There was absolutely no resistance when the OPD officer “takes down” the suspect. It does not matter what might have happened before the video began (the customary OPD excuse). At the instant this force was used, it was excessive in relation to the suspect’s actions.

2) Upon take-down and handcuffing, hitting and piling on around the head continued. A knee to the back of the neck and sitting on the suspect’s backs ARE recipes for positional asphyxiation AS I HAVE COMPLAINED of since the Justin Watson in-custody death. Get the person off the ground once he is in cuffs, for crying out loud! What I see here is how people are killed and it is inexcusable.

3) There is NO violation when a witness watches, comments or videotapes police action. The man across the street DID NOTHING to warrant arrest.

4) Chasing him into the house and entering the house was an unlawful entry as was the entry of at least 10 officers who followed.

5) In addition, the arrest was unlawful and the taunting of the man on the street was, well inexplicable.

6) During the pileup of no less than 25 cops that I counted and 12 cruisers, I heard at least one officer complain about the “fucking dogs.” I am only surprised OPD did not shoot them.

7) These are just a few examples of clear violations and police conduct that can only be described as appalling.

8) If this is what you mean by community policing and improving police relations, it is no wonder your department and administration have had such abject failure in reducing crime. As you can see from the vantage point of the video recorder and the other neighbors watching, this type of policing was witnessed by everyone in the neighborhood.

9) Even though much of what I saw on the video matches much of what I heard from citizens while I was Auditor, it was still shocking to see this behavior by the Omaha Police Department. The swarming of 25 officers, 12 cruisers and the police helicopter over a physical contact THAT WAS COMPLETELY PRECIPITATED BY OPD makes it very difficult to support any increases of any officers or anything else to a department that acts in this manner.

10) In short, this behavior is appalling. It demands a complete and total public airing, review, after-action and explanation from both of you.

I await your response.

Tristan Bonn
Former Police Auditor

  • slappy

    There was a lot more going on then what this video shows or even what the author of this video says. This is a very poor attempt to try and make the officers look bad. The video starts right when the 1st guy was arrested. The PD didn’t just show up and throw some guy to the ground. The other guy was obviously making threats and then bolted for his house. Do you honestly think the LEOs are going to just stand there and let him bring out a weapon? This video is very poorly edited.

  • badgeabuse


    you can hear what the guy is saying…..HES YELLING

    I didn’t hear a threat….

    Get another JOB if you can’t handle yourself.

  • 1605

    I’m going to go ahead and edit some truth into a post from earlier.

    There was a lot more going on then what this video shows or even what the author of this video says. This is an accurate portrayal of the daily actions of these officers and others like them. The video starts right when the 1st guy was arrested. Who knows how much police abuse and agitation had occurred before the video starts? In most cases like this PD just shows up and throws some guy to the ground, smothering him and causing as much physical harm as possible. Look at how many of them just jumped out of their car and ran into the house without assessing the situation for themselves. The brave man with the video camera was obviously threatened by a thug in blue and bolted for the relative safety house. The LEOs are going to just pull out all the stops to harm innocent people and alter the story to make them look righteous whether there is a weapon or not, despite the fact that each one of them has a weapon and is more than willing to use it. This video is very poorly edited, there was a lot more police brutality and human rights violations that could have been included.

    And why is the cop so upset about being called sir? Isn’t that the kind of submission they like? Strange animals these cops are.

  • Ray

    sappy: It does not appear that the video was edited at all. It looks like an uncut shot from beginning to end. Perhaps the editing you refer to would be that you’d prefer that the extra-judicial beating at 3:00 after the man was restrained be edited out? Good job Tristan. I can only hope your neighbors are shooting video when the thugs back to retaliate against you. Watch how you park.

  • courtofpublicopinion

    slappy the parrot squawks again with the same old tired excuse, did’nt see what happened before the video well a REAL police auditor had problems with what he saw and the plaintiff atty will have plenty of ammo for his lawsuit hope he forwards a copy to the doj keep flooding them with your concerns

  • Common Sense

    Thank God it wasn’t the Souix Falls County Sheriff, they’re thugs.

  • certain

    slappy the troll rides again

  • t.

    Where was the brutality again? The hard fake down at the very beginning? Unfortunately we miss all the build up to that moment and can’t hear what is being said. You can see that when the officer goes to (apparently) handcuff the big guy in the blue that he pushes back off of the truck hood. Without a little more I’m kinda of in the middle about the take down itself. Without more or hearing the exchange it’s really hard to tell. Maybe good / maybe bad.

    Once on the ground the officer hits him twice in the back of the arm…as if maybe trying to collapse it. After that they handcuff him and keep him on the ground. All the nonsense the guy on the sidewalk says clearly is t accurate or true as nothing is happening and no one is hitting anyone and there is no abuse.

    It’s really unfortunate that the camera person pans left just at 2:15 as the other unit roles up and the mouthy guy just takes off running. There must have been something right the. That the camera doesn’t get as he takes off and so do multiple officers.

    Those couple of little glitches make it hard to determine exactly what happened and why.

    Moral of the story, watch where you park

  • Buford T. Justice

    Tristan- you gotta get some glasses dude…nothing wrong with what happened in the video.

  • RLH

    At 2:57 seconds I count three blows to the head upon the first man who was taken down. He seems to be in cuffs. Hmmmmm….

  • BJ

    There goes t. again, seeing what he wants to see or in this case not see.

    The police brutality occurred at roughly the 2:58 mark when a lone officer punches a prone, handcuffed suspect. The suspect is apparently under the control of the officer as all his buddies left him to chase that dangerous cameraman. I can only speculate that the officer took out his frustrations of not being able to chase the imminent threat of a man armed with a camera with a few well placed blows to the suspect he already had in custody.

    Once a suspect is handcuffed and in custody, that should be the end of it.

  • RLH

    Buford T. Justice,

    You are sooooo correct. If OPD would download the video at it’s highest resolution (720p) and do a screen capture the image it may be cleaned up in any 1999 or later version of Photoshop There are at least a dozen noise reducing plug-ins available. I used one then enlarged 2x. Clearly his head is pointing towards the officer and his feet the other direction. So his head was being pummeled @ 2:57. If you double check known proportions of an adult male human torso verus the OPD cruiser and other items nearby there is parity with the background. Noise reduction programs cancel noise and tend to only flatten images. If the FBI had a soul, they could take the image to Quantico and do far better than I; unfortunately, they are worse than OPD. I know because I live here. Mr. Mueller and AG Holder, do your friggin jobs! The gavel drops……..

  • RLH

    Correction that was BJ and not Buford T. Justice I agree with.

  • RLH

    FYI……. Tristan Bonn is an attorney and female.

  • S. Rafiner

    If you don’t see anything wrong with this video you are sick. . . I’ve witness police brutality and couldn’t do anything about it. I’m glad people are speaking up about it. The police must have did something inorder for a neighbor to start recording it, because I don’t they were recording to show a job well done. For the people who see nothing with this haven’t experienced the pain most people go through for no reason in North Omaha. So the guy standing on the side walk doesn’t have the freedom of speech?? Who wouldn’t run if somebody started running towards them?? I’m not naive or blind I see something needs to be done about the OPD.

  • Radical Dude

    It looks like the guy across the street is recording video too?
    Would be very interested to watch the video he was shooting.

  • Radical Dude

    slappy says:
    March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am
    “The other guy was obviously making threats and then bolted for his house”

    Really? I don’t think there are any facts to indicate that he was “obviously making threats”. Do you have any facts to support your allegation, or is it a baseless opinion? If you can’t articulate specific facts to support your statement, then I take it you acquiesce that there, in fact, no facts to support your opinion that he was “obviously making threats”. And if you say there are facts to support your claim that he was “obviously making threats”, then what are those facts, and what are the specific “threats” you are alleging?

  • t.

    BJ: Wow you can see things in this tape but not others. Amazing. You (we) have no idea what was happening. Your assumptions are just that….your ASSumptions. And we’ve already seen for you like bend space, time, and physics.

  • BJ

    Sure we(obviously not you) do. What is happening is one officer’s misconduct. We see see that officer pummeling a proned out handcuffed man once his buddies chased off what he thought was the only camera in the area. No one has to assume anything.

    Here’s my challenge which I don’t expect you to take. Please explain how the officer was in fear of his life and how the totality of the situation merited punching a man already in custody; and if you somehow manage that, how all the other officers that arrived on scene after he was already in custody and left the one officer to deal with such a dangerous situation alone aren’t some of the most poorly trained officers in America.

  • courtofpublicopinion

    sorry t but everything i saw and heard on the video was out of control cops they look really stupid actually thought i was watching one of those old b/w movies of the keystone cops he NEVER threatened them he kept asking them to stop hitting his brother he told them to get their knee off his back he tried to stop an illegal assault with words and not violence he tried to film the act only to have it deleted after an armed home invasion they had no just cause to enter someones home just to chase down damming evidence against them i agree with the real legal expert tristan since she seems to know what the law really says and not the i’ll make it up as i go along to fit what i need mentality cops work under now

  • courtofpublicopinion

    and as for your knee jerk reaction to argue the point i guess we will have to wait and see,, i bet some heads WILL roll, i do hope the people in the house that shot the video have hired armed security they are probably going to need them when the armed thugs show up to demand they take down the video

  • Ron

    Regardless, the point is the man has a right to film the police and the officer (when his buddies arrived) took off running (to get his fellow officers to follow) acted inappropriately.

    I have seen many GOOD cops politely tell the person filming to please stay back for his safety. This cop did not like to be filmed and he did ask for the camera! He was ONLY after the evidence demonstrating his brutality.

  • George A. Johnson

    What I am surprised by this incident in that it is racial. How many Black cops are own the watch here? There are a group of white police officers who dislike black people, and we are not going to claim it in this video. If the people were white, would this happen in West Omaha?

  • George A. Johnson

    What I am surprised by this incident in that it is racial. How many Black cops are on the watch here? There are a group of white police officers who dislike black people, and we are not going to claim it in this video. If the people were white, would this happen in West Omaha?

  • courtofpublicopinion

    here is a tip for cops, if you are’nt doing anything WRONG ignore the fool ACROSS the street hopping and hollaring even tho he is armed with a camera once again if you are doing your job the right way what are you worried about any and all video would show just that, and the fool filming would look like a fool BUT if you have something to FEAR then of course you are going to go running after the THREAT to your job and future reputation if you do enjoy your 15 mins of fame on you tube. as for the smart person who filmed the crime from the safety of their home in silence kudos to you, you ARE a hero you have shown the way all citizens should react when confronted with this type of situation

  • RLH

    3:33 sec “Shoot that f_cking dog!” Why?????? The dog was defending his territory as a stranger ran across his turf. Note 3 people passed past right after him and the dog(s) walked away. This is just so wrong.

  • Omahan

    There is no misconduct. You can barely see what happened at the bottom of the screen as the person handling the camer/phone is paying more attention the the load mouth trying to distract the police officers. What made the officer take the 1st guy down to the ground you obviously see him shrug off the cop. That alone would get u slammed to the ground. Since he already tried to revisit arrest and you can’t see what is going on who’s not to say he was resisting??

    Onto the loud mouth that was distraction the police. Even though he was probably told many times to get back on the side walk. You see that each time the police officer approached him he ran away. Then when other officers arrived he ran. The officers didn’t start the chase first. He ran. Who knows what he was gonna do. Run to get a gun or hide behind his handicapped mother. Who was probably trying to protect her child from being arrested for interference. He ran officers gave chase. At that time the officers don’t need a warrant to enter. The loud mouth deserve to be arrested and charged IMO. Also if the mother was injured because police officer ran after her son, because he ran from the cops why ain’t anyone blaming him??? He put his mother that situation that cause her to get hurt because he was evading arrest.

    I think it is very easy for some to place blame elsewhere instead accepting it. Accept your own actions and the troubles that come with them.

  • t.

    BJ: To answer….

    I have no idea. But where did you get “in fear for his life”? Did he shoot him? Bash him in the head with his flashlight or a brick? No. Dumb statement by you.
    There could be many reason for striking him. The video doesn’t show much of whats going on or hardly anything of the suspect and officers infection. There could be many reasons. Your jumping to conclusions is somewhat baffling as in the video with the deputy and the out of control motorist…you want to suspend reality as to what’s on the tape. Here, we can’t clearly see a lot of what’s happening at all but yet you want to think its brutality for the sake of brutality.

  • BJ

    t. says:
    “I have no idea. But where did you get “in fear for his life”? Did he shoot him? Bash him in the head with his flashlight or a brick? No. Dumb statement by you.”

    Nope, it wasn’t a dumb statement. I was simply trying to help you out in explaining/excusing the police brutality by offering one of law enforcement’s most used excuses. Which leads us to a second most used excuse, the totality of the circumstances. How exactly would you apply that excuse this situation where a suspect is handcuffed and lying prone on the ground and all the other officers on scene and the Keystone Cops that followed felt comfortable enough that the situation was under control that they left the officer alone with the suspect. Surely you can’t justify beating the snot out of the suspect at that point can you?

    t. says:
    “Here, we can’t clearly see a lot of what’s happening at all but yet you want to think its brutality for the sake of brutality.”

    Unlike you, I call ’em like I see ’em and I always hate to see police brutality.

  • George A. Johnson

    I would like to see the police officers taken to court and sued. If they lost a few of those overpaid dollars it would stop this kind of behavior. Also, some of them should be sent to jail for beating up a person. We got to stop the negative behaviors from the Omaha Police Department. This city is 33 percent minority, and we can’t have white cops beating up black citizens as if we are in 1955 Jim Crow. This is not the Deep South!

  • RLH

    Interesting point of view….

  • Chris

    Typical, One hundred COPS to handle two people. You COPS are all FUCKING PUSSIES!!! And a waste of tax payer dollars…

  • George A. Johnson

    Many of these police officers are trained in the criminal justice department of the Klan. We know that there is a secret society that made a pledge to beat up 10 minorities during the course of the year. It is similar to other gangs. What many people do not know is these guys make the plans over their cell phones when they are sitting in the parks.

  • t.

    BJ says:

    “the totallity of he circumstances. How exactly would you apply that excuse to this situation”. Easy, I didn’t say anything about that. I said that you want to suspend reality by suggesting that the officer was mad because he couldn’t chase the other idiot. ? ? ?

    I am not, nor have I ever condoned brutality by anyone, the police or not. But this clearly isn’t evidence of that. The limited information available just doesn’t show that. You simply can’t see what’s going on. Clearly something happened as the officer went from basically kneeling there to striking the suspect. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any reason for it.

  • BJ

    @ t.

    I gave you the excuses: “I was in fear of my life”, “the totality of the circumstances” and even speculated that the officer lost his cool when he realized he was missing out on chasing that dangerous camera wielder and astonishingly you haven’t used any of them in excusing an officer punching the snot out of a suspect who was proned out, handcuffed and no danger to the officer judging by how all his buddies and the ones that came after left him alone. So we’re left with: “I didn’t see nuthin’ ” (which I’ve been saying all along with you – you only see what you want to see) and “the suspect (victim) must of done something”.

    What I’m saying is that once the handcuffs are on and a suspect is in custody that should be the end of it. If you can offer any credible reasons for abusing a suspect once they’re in custody, there are a lot of disciplined officers who would be all ears.

  • RLH


    There are “credible” allegations that the Omaha Police Union have “insiders” STRONGLY pressuring both the Douglas County Attorney’s office and the Omaha FBI for an exculpatory judgment of the entire matter.

    This could get interesting!

  • courtofpublicopinion

    update 4 officers fired, 3 on suspension 1 resigned 8 out of 12 not bad way to do the right thing chief

  • courtofpublicopinion
  • RLH

    The criminal investigation is where this gets interesting….

  • RLH
  • Art Clark

    Hey Slappy, Omahan, and t,


  • government ethics is an oxymoron

    The officer with the suspect on the ground is by himself and is plainly heard telling the suspect to quit moving as he strikes him…I want to know what happened that caused the officer to chase the other guy into the house. The officer went into his car and next thing the other guy is running and that officer leaves his vehicle. Their cars were being towed for being unregistered, they both come out of the house to “inquire” why their vehicles are being towed…and the brother has to be escorted to the sidewalk and away from the arrest twice…two officers trying to handcuff the bigger brother appear to have difficulty getting the cuffs on him…clearly resisting…but still don’t know what triggered the other brother to run from the officer in the vehicle…was a threat made? we don’t know…if there was a video taken from inside that house, and it disappeared that is clearly wrongdoing, would love to see that video, maybe get a second look of what was happening.