Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today to announce his decision on possible criminal charges against four Omaha police officers fired as a result of controversial arrests near 33rd and Seward Streets.
The March 21 incident was captured on video and led to allegations that excessive force was used in Octavious Johnson's arrest. Questions also were raised about whether officers had grounds to enter the family's home after they chased 23-year-old Juaquez Johnson inside.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer asked the local FBI office to help review the investigation and consulted with the Douglas County Attorney's Office and the City Prosecutor's Office and legal department.
One of four Omaha police officers fired last month allegedly sought to destroy video footage of a controversial north Omaha arrest, while some other officers allegedly laid plans to cover up the incident. Kleine said the investigation into the allegations could lead to charges of evidence tampering and witness tampering.
The World-Herald learned that the fired officers are Sgt. Aaron P. Von Behren and Officers Bradley D. Canterbury, James T. Kinsella and Justin A. Reeve. Canterbury and Reeve have appealed their terminations to an independent labor arbitrator.
Appeal notices from the Omaha Police Officers' Association, which is assisting with the appeal, were sent to Omaha Human Resources Director Richard O'Gara, Schmaderer and the city labor relations director. The union, as part of the appeal, asks that both officers be reinstated and awarded back pay and benefits.
Von Behren, a supervisor, is accused of attempting to coordinate stories of the officers involved. Canterbury's actions were captured on camera (he never left the view of a videotape taken from a neighbor's house) as he took 28-year-old Octavious Johnson to the ground and appeared to strike him several times.
Kinsella is alleged to have removed a memory card from a camera used by one of Johnson's brothers to videotape officers' actions, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Details on Reeve's role were unavailable.
Also under investigation are Officers Dyea L. Rowland, Matthew C. Worm, John D. Payne and Joseph A. Koenig.
Kleine's investigation is separate from any federal investigation into whether any of the Johnsons' civil rights were violated, though investigators will no doubt share information, Kleine said.
• Other Omaha police firings
• Timeline: March 21 events at 33rd and Seward Streets
• May 1: Police sergeants to get extra training after excessive-force probe, officers' firings
• April 24: 2 fired Omaha police officers to fight for their jobs
• April 11: City prosecutor holding off on charges against 3 brothers in videotaped arrest
• April 8: Fired officers have avenues back to the force
• April 7: Rush of chaos as police entered Seward Street home
• April 7: 18-year-old has no regrets about recording arrests that led to police firings
• April 6: Cover-up by Omaha police officers alleged
• April 6: State Patrol serves search warrant in hunt for cellphone
• April 2: Police supervisor among 3 put on leave during probe of excessive violence allegations
• March 28: Experts say Omaha arrest video raises questions
• March 26: Omaha officer moved to paid leave during investigation of police brutality