An Omaha man whose violent arrest led to the firing of two police officers pleaded no contest Wednesday to attempted assault of a police officer.
Robert A. Wagner, 36, pleaded to the reduced charge less than two weeks after a judge declared a mistrial in the felony case against him.
Wagner originally was charged with assault of an officer, but a jury failed to return a verdict. By entering a no-contest plea, Wagner does not deny the truth of the misdemeanor charge. Wagner faces up to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both when he is sentenced next month.
“I think he’s relieved not to be exposed to a felony charge,” said Wagner’s lawyer, Glenn Shapiro.
The charge grew out of an incident last May when Wagner was at Creighton University Medical Center to visit a cousin who was dying of a gunshot wound.
Prosecutors said Wagner swung his fist at an officer. A videotape captured the ensuing arrest of Wagner.
Jurors repeatedly saw the hospital surveillance video of Wagner being punched, kicked and shocked with a Taser by police officers. But they weren’t allowed to hear a jailhouse phone call in which Wagner told a female friend, “I got mad and swung.”
Deputy Douglas County Attorney Jim Masteller said the reduced charge was offered after it was approved by the officer Wagner is accused of hitting. Wagner has never publicly admitted to striking the officer.
Shapiro said his client does not deserve incarceration, and is hopeful the judge will choose probation over jail.
Arrest of Robert Wagner