Decision on Officer Misconduct Coming Soon
Fired OPD officers await their chance in front of the City of Omaha's Human Resources Director. Others are calling for charges sooner than later, and Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine expects a decision in about one week.
At least 2 of the 4 officers fired from the alleged misconduct at 33rd and Seward on March 21st will have a hearing about their job status on Monday. KMTV Action 3 News was first to air the video of a police officer throwing down and striking Octavius Johnson, and another chasing his brother Juaquez Johnson inside his home for apparently recording the incident. A group that's been rallying for change wanted Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine would file criminal charges against the officers, before the termination hearings would start.
"We were hoping it would be filed today so that when they go for their hearing Monday, they would have charges that would block them from being rehired," said Robert Wagner, a police oversight advocate.
In the past, an OPD Chief's decision to fire officers has usually been upheld by the city's Human Resources Director. But there have been cases where an arbitrator overturned the ruling. Kleine says he's not concerned about the HR hearings, but instead putting together the evidence to see where it leads.
"I think there are 12 or 13 officers working on that fulltime just interviewing witnesses, getting records, and any evidence that we need," Kleine described.
He says the investigators have worked almost continuously since being handed the possible criminal case with allegations of Evidence Tampering, Witness Tampering, Conspiracy, and 3rd Degree Assault.
"So I'm hoping that in the next week or so we'll be able to finish up and see where we stand,” Kleine explained. "Of course we want to get this resolved as soon as we can and let the people know what happened."
Troopers did serve a search warrant at the Johnson home last Saturday, and seized a cell phone. They said they were looking for evidence against the officers, not the Johnsons.