As reported by the Omaha World-Herald Four Omaha Police Officers involved in the incident have been fired following allegations they used excessive force, punching a subdued subject, all while being secretly recorded. One of the four police officers fired on Friday allegedly sought to destroy video footage of the arrest, while some other officers are reported to have made plans to cover up the incident.
Three other officers have been placed on leave, and another officer was reassigned, according to Police Chief Todd Schmaderer. However, Schmaderer declined to name the officers, stating the departments personnel policy prevents him from doing so until the investigation has been concluded.
Schmaderer was appointed to Omaha Police Chief by Mayor Jim Suttle in August of 2012.
“Many of the police actions that took place that day are in violation of our policies and do not represent how I want our officers to conduct themselves,” Schmaderer said.
Mayor Jim Suttle stands beside the Chiefs actions, “The Police Department has polices and procedures that must be adhered to all times, especially when dealing with the public,” Suttle stated. “Chief Schmaderer’s determination to uphold the department’s professional standards is admirable.”
D’Shawn Cunningham, a write in Omaha City Council candidate who has been vocal about police abuses, praised Schmaderer’s investigation and firing of the 4 police officers, but said the city needs to reinstate an independent police auditor, such as in San Jose, CA. The city of Omaha has not had a public safety auditor since the last one was fired in 2006.
“These kinds of police abuses happen all the time, but there’s rarely video of it to prove what happened,” Cunningham stated. “We still end up in the dark on a lot of these things.”
Public outcry over the youtube video led to fresh calls for police oversight. Schmaderer has spoken with community leaders in this event’s aftermath.
Contact Mayor Jim Suttle – (402) 444-5000
Contact Chief of Police Todd Schmaderer – (402) 444-5600
It has come to light that the fired officers are Sgt. Aaron P. Von Behren and Officers Bradley D. Canterbury, James T. Kinsella and Justin A. Reeve:
Sgt. Aaron Von Behren, is accused of attempting to coordinate stories of the officers involved.
Officer Bradlley Canterbury’s actions were captured on camera as he took 28-year-old Octavious Johnson to the ground and appeared to strike him several times.
Officer James Kinsella is alleged to have removed a memory card from a camera used by one of Johnson’s brothers to videotape officers’ actions.
No details on on Officer Justin Reeve were available.
Still under investigation are Officers Joseph A. Koenig, John D. Payne, Dyea L. Rowland, and Matthew C. Worm.
Those fired are entitled to a hearing with the city’s Human Resources Department before any discipline is effective. The Police labor contract also allows officers to appeal disciplined to appeal to a city board or independent labor arbitrator.
Sgt. John Wells, head of the city’s police union, described the firings as “severe”, stating he would review the facts of the case but also that he trusted Schmaderer’s judgement.