CREATED Apr. 5, 2013
Omaha, NE -- The North Omaha community is reacting to Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer's decision to fire four officers after an excessive force investigation.
Community members agreed that Friday's announcement is a positive step toward repairing the relationship between North Omaha and the police department.
They also said there is still work to be done.
Robert Wagner was the subject of a rough arrest nearly two years ago.
On Friday, he said he was shocked by Schmaderer's announcement.
"The commanding officer was let go, and he sought County Attorney Don Kleine's help, which is one thing we were asking for," said Wagner when asked what surprised him the most. "The FBI is now involved so, to me, it sounds like there may be some criminal charges."
In 2011, then-chief Alex Hayes fired two officers after the rough arrest of Wagner.
Months ago, an independent arbiter said those officers should not have been fired. They've since been reinstated.
Wagner said he thinks Chief Schmaderer did the right thing by firing some of the officers involved in the most recent event.
"It's showing me that Chief Schamaderer is going in the right direction with the investigation," said Wagner. "He's not being biased. He's saying, 'Hey, we are professionals. If you're not going to act professional, then you can't be employed here.'"
Others in the community are pleased with the actions announced on Friday.
"This is something unprecedented in these matters," said D'Shawn Cunningham, a concerned citizen. "I think it's a good sign that Schmaderer has taken the actions he has so far."
Other citizens are concerned the officers could eventually get their jobs back.
"In the other incident, those people were fired and got their jobs back because they brought in an arbitrator," said Marvin McClarty, a concerned citizen. "In this community, we think it's going to happen again. The union will say it's too severe and give them their job back."
On Friday afternoon, pastors in the North Omaha area gathered to let the community know they support Chief Schamaderer's decision.