Police Chief Speaks to Allegations of Excessive Force
Omaha, NE -- "There is an internal investigation in full swing and the investigation will be conducted thoroughly, fairly and as swiftly as possible." said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer. This is the first time the department's leader publicly commented on Thursday's arrest at 33rd and Seward. Action 3 News discovered YouTube video of the arrest Thursday night and broke the story.
Cell phone video clearly shows Octavius Johnson thrown to the ground by an officer outside the family home. The Johnson family says the video, shot by a neighbor, shows Omaha Police used excessive force by throwing Ocatvius to the ground then punching him three times in the face.
The officer's report says Johnson became "argumentative and agressive and had to be taken down". Schmaderer says he's added more investigators to the case so he can get to the bottom of it fast. "I expect professional behavior and accountability from all my officers at all times and I will not tolerate any deviations from this." said Schmaderer.
Councilman Ben Gray says he's appalled by the video. He represents the North Omaha district and wants the matter to be resolved in a week. He says getting an answer to the public is imperative to restoring trust. "We're going to have to work on that." said Gray. "It took us a lot of years to get this distrustful and it's going to take some time to get that back."
Action 3 News contacted Mayor Jim Suttle's office Saturday. A spokesperson said the mayor won't comment on the matter until the investigation in done. Internal affairs investigators are expected to meet with the Johnson family on Monday.One officer involved in the incident has been reassigned.