An Omaha police officer was arrested in connection with a domestic dispute two weeks ago and the Douglas County Attorney’s Office is determining whether to file charges.
Officer Timothy Comstock, 36, was booked into the Douglas County Jail about 4 a.m. July 28 on suspicion of third-degree domestic assault, disturbing the peace and obstruction of a peace officer — all misdemeanors.
A little more than six hours later, he posted $10,000 — 10% of his $100,000 bail — to be released.
Charges still are pending. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Friday that he expects to make a decision sometime next week.
In a statement, the Omaha Police Department said officials couldn’t comment on the specific allegations but said domestic violence accusations are “very serious and will be investigated fully.”
Comstock was placed on paid administrative leave “immediately” upon his release from jail and is still on leave, said Lt. Sherie Thomas, a police spokeswoman. An internal investigation is ongoing to determine whether Comstock violated any of the department’s rules of conduct.
A man who answered Comstock’s cellphone Friday afternoon hung up when asked to comment on the case. A message to Anthony Conner, the president of the Omaha Police Officers Association, was not returned Friday.
Early on July 28, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy went to a home near 168th and State Streets after the mother of Comstock’s wife’s called 911 about a domestic disturbance. The wife told a deputy that she and Comstock were having an argument and then she separated herself and was talking to her mother for at least 45 minutes.
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The woman said she locked herself in the master bathroom and “hid in the shower” from Comstock while continuing to talk to her mother about 12:30 a.m., according to an incident report.
The woman said Comstock then kicked the bathroom door open, which scared the woman, and he turned on the shower, dousing her. She told her mother that she was going to call 911 and Comstock left the bathroom.
At some point, according to the report, the woman left the bathroom while Comstock was yelling at her not to hit him. She went to a bedroom, put her phone on the bed and began to change out of her wet clothes when Comstock took her phone away and hid it, the report said.
Comstock’s wife declined to comment when reached by phone Friday.
Kleine said there was no physical contact reported between Comstock and his wife. There was, however, some sort of scuffle between a sheriff’s deputy and Comstock when he was being placed under arrest.
The deputy was kicked and Comstock suffered a black eye and possibly a fracture, Kleine said. Kleine said the arrest was not a case of excessive force on the deputy’s part.
“They’re doing their job in trying to get control of a situation that obviously they’re concerned about,” Kleine said.
Douglas County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Wheeler said the sergeant on duty contacted Omaha police early on the day the incident was reported to inform them that an Omaha officer had been taken into custody. Thomas said Omaha Deputy Police Chief Scott Gray was notified the same day as Comstock’s arrest and booking.
“We wanted to let them know that we made an arrest,” Wheeler said. “It’s not in our policy manual to do that, but we did make the call.”
Third-degree domestic assault can be defined as causing bodily injury to an intimate partner, threatening a partner with imminent bodily injury or threatening a partner in a menacing manner, according to state statute.
Comstock’s wife was not ticketed or arrested in connection with the incident.
Comstock has been with the department since 2008 and recently had been assigned to the uniform patrol bureau in the northeast precinct.
In the Police Department’s 16-page rules of conduct, it states that any officer who is “charged, bound over, indicted or held to answer for a serious criminal matter ... will be subject to disciplinary action.” The manual does not specifically mention domestic violence but has a general “conduct unbecoming of an officer” section that says “any act or omission that is not in accord with the general and accepted code of moral or ethical conduct is covered by this regulation.”
“Police officers and employees should always bear in mind their actions, and conduct, are subject to close and constant scrutiny by the public,” the section states. “Any type of behavior that is open to criticism results in disrepute and criticism to the entire Police Department, not just to the individual officer or employee involved.”
Last year, Omaha Police Officer Gregory Lemons was removed from street patrol after he allegedly had a sexual encounter with a woman two days after he ticketed her in a DUI case. The Douglas County Attorney’s Office said there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and declined to file charges.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer recommended the firing of Lemons in May 2018. A third-party arbitrator gave Lemons a “lesser form of discipline and reinstated him,” Schmaderer said in a statement Friday.
Lemons completed remedial training required by Police Department officials and is an officer in the uniform patrol bureau.