Update: Officer Found Guilty In Rough Arrest

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email
More Video...

 Click here to read more about the case.

Former OPD officer James Kinsella plead no contest Wednesday to 2 counts of obstructing government operations. The charges stem from a rough arrest at 33rd and Seward in March 2013.

Judge Peter Bataillon found Kinsella guilty of the misdemeanor charges.

The County Attorney's office told WOWT 6 News that Kinsella agreed not to contest to the revocation of his law enforcement certification. Without the certification, Kinsella can no longer serve as a Police Officer in Nebraska.

Each class 1 misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to a year in prison. The sentencing is August 28.

Kinsella was accused of removing and destroying a memory card from a camera which may have been used to record the arrest.

The other former OPD officer involved, Aaron Von Behren, was also in court. His hearing has been continued, because his Attorney was unable to appear.

Posted May 7, 2013

Two police officers charged in the rough arrest incident at 33rd and Seward faced a judge on Tuesday afternoon.

Police confirm Officer James Kinsella turned himself in at the Douglas County Jail around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The second officer facing charges, Sergeant Aaron Von Behren also turned himself in.

Von Behren was released on his own recognizance with a promise to appear at his next court date.

Kinsella's bond was set at $5,000. Kinsella's attorney, Mike Fabian said he cant say much because he hasn't yet seen the reports or who the witnesses are, but did say, "It was a chaotic situation that day on Seward Street."

Posted May 6, 2013

Criminal charges will be filed against two Omaha police officers who were involved in the rough arrest earlier this year at 33rd and Seward Street.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine made the decision to file criminal charges after investigators conducted 42 witness interviews, served 19 warrants and 36 subpeonas, and viewed several dozen videos of the incident.

According to Kleine, Officer James Kinsella saw one of the Johnson brothers holding a cell phone. He allegedly removed the phone's memory card and destroyed it. Kleine says Officer Kinsella then took steps to cover up his actions.

Kinsella will be charged with felony tampering with evidence, obstructing government operations, and theft by unlawful taking. Kleine said Kinsella will be allowed to turn himself in Tuesday.

The second person to be charged is Sergeant Aaron Von Behren. According to Kleine, Von Behren knew about Kinsella's activities. He will be charged with misdemeanor accessory to a felony and obstructing government operations and will be allowed to turn himself in Tuesday.

Kleine said the investigation is ongoing and did not rule out filing more charges.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer released a written statement following Kleine's news conference. He said, “This is a difficult day for the Omaha Police Department, but I support Don Kleine’s charging decision 100 percent. As I have said before, the actions by some officers at 33rd and Seward do not reflect the professionalism demonstrated by personnel of the Omaha Police Department on a daily basis.”

In early April, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer's fire four of the officers involved. Two of them, Officers Brad Canterbury and Justin Reeve, are appealing the decision.

Brad Canterbury -- the officer who first took down Octavius Johnson after a towing complaint -- wasn't charged criminally.
Investigators said they examined his actions -- especially the second set of punches. Use of force experts concluded that the officers actions were appropriate considering the suspect admitted he was trying to get up. Plus, a nearby tow truck driver said he thought his brother might be going into the house to get a weapon.

Justin Reeve, who was also fired but not charged, was inside the house, Kleine said. He said the former officer is cooperating with investigators.

Robert Wagner watched the news conference from a hallway in the courthouse. His high-profile arrest outside a hospital ER two years ago -- also captured on video - resulted in two firings. The officers got their jobs back, however, in arbitration. Neither faced criminal charges.

"If you take my case -- and you fast forward to today," said Wagner, "It's a ton of progress. And it started with Chief Schmaderer doing the right thing. I'm happy with the direction it's going."

The firings are in connection to the arrest of three brothers on March 21st. Officers were initially at 33rd and Seward to tow a vehicle for expired plates; however, tensions rose and a rough arrest was caught on camera. Family members of those arrested are accusing police of going too far. That includes 28-year-old Octavius Johnson, the owner of the cars.

In the police report -- officers said Johnson was "argumentative and aggressive."

His younger brother, Juaquez, who was recording the events on his cell phone camera, was told by an officer to get in the house.

Juaquez kept coming back, and two-and-a-half minutes after the take-down officers ran after him into the house.

Demetrius was also in the house. Kleine said the officers took his cellphone and memory card.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WOWT NBC Omaha 3501 Farnam Street Omaha, NE 68131 (402) 346-6666 sixonline@wowt.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 206271851 - wowt.com/a?a=206271851