Ferguson Turmoil Through an Omaha Man's Eyes

By: Jacki Ochoa Email
By: Jacki Ochoa Email

Protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri. Frustration still remains after an unarmed teen was shot and killed by a police officer. One heartland man just got back from the small town and shared his impressions with us.

During the day people carry signs, hold their hands up and march in the street. They are protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown and the police handling of the aftermath.

Robert Wagner shared video with us. He lives in Omaha but says he went to Ferguson to help.

“We were able to feed about a hundred people and they, everyone got in line, they were courteous. They said ‘please,’ they said ‘thank you.’ I mean there was no, what you see on TV is a far stretch from what really goes on.”

What he saw was a community grieving.

“I mean, there was no anger amongst the crowd. There were no talks towards the police. There was nothing. And that's what really got my attention to make me think what Omaha would be like if we had that type of unity.”

Wagner was struck by the two different sides he saw: what happened during the day and what happened at night. NBC News reports that a a few agitators are causing the street protests to escalate to violence. Wagner sees it differently.

He said, “In my opinion, driving off as we were leaving, I just felt the police just provoked the people because when they are allowed to assemble and grieve there's no problems but when the police show up with armor and rifles pointing at citizens, that just causes the tension to go sky high.”

We spoke with the Omaha Police Union President who said he believes the Ferguson police didn't handle the situation the best way possible but he said without being there for a firsthand view he wasn't comfortable analyzing their tactics.

Robert Wagner's own encounter with police made headlines three years ago. A forceful arrest ended with him pleading No Contest to a misdemeanor and the city approving a $100,000 settlement in an excessive force lawsuit.

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