Did a former Omaha police officer threaten a motorist who was following him? Did the officer point his gun at the man?
Those questions are at the heart of a trial that began Thursday in Sarpy County District Court.
Lance Harrison, 44, is charged with making terroristic threats and using a firearm to commit a felony.
On May 24, 2010, Bellevue police were called to U.S. Highway 75 at Capehart Road to investigate a reckless driver. Jonah Zook of Bellevue had called 911 to report a reckless driver and had stayed on the line as he followed the driver.
Zook then told the 911 operator that the other driver stopped and got out of his vehicle, walked back to Zook's vehicle, pulled a gun and demanded to know why he was following him.
The driver left before police arrived, but the 911 caller gave his license plate number to Bellevue police. Officers went to Harrison's Bellevue home and began the investigation.
Harrison was fired from OPD after an internal investigation of the incident.
Defense attorney William Gallup told the jury Thursday that his client had just finished a harrowing work shift and was rushing home to check on his family, fearful when phone calls to the home were not answered and worried his wife was suicidal.
Gallup said Harrison never made a terroristic threat and never pointed the gun at Zook. Instead, Gallup said, Harrison identified himself as a police officer and warned Zook that he could get hurt following him through traffic.
In her opening statement, Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Jennifer Miralles told the jury that Harrison clearly threatened Zook. Miralles said Harrison held a gun two inches from Zook's head as he yelled at the man.
Zook is to testify and tapes of his call to 911 also will be played. The trial is expected to wrap up Friday.
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