Nebraska ACLU Evaluates Police Complaint Process

The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a 15-page report Tuesday, investigating citizen complaints with police departments around the state.

MGN Online

The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a 15-page report Tuesday, investigating citizen complaints with police departments around the state.

The group looked at law enforcement agency websites and called some agencies. When it comes to handling citizen complaints, Omaha got some good marks, but there's at least one area of concern.

Back in May, WOWT 6 News told Tonya Ward's story. She says she was the third car in a four-car pileup and was at the hospital when police officers started pressuring her to sign some paperwork. She thought that was out-of-line and filed a complaint.

Ward filed her complaint in person- helped by activist Robert Wagner and his group in Omaha.

"The police were pretty cooperative. They sent down two of their two high-ranking officers to speak with us directly and take the complaint, so it was pretty smooth," Ward said.

To file a complaint with OPD, citizens can head down to the station at 15th & Jones, or pick up a form at the library. They're also available online.

The ACLU likes that aspect of the Omaha Police Department's process. But the group gives OPD low marks because it feels language on those forms is intimidating. The forms tell citizens that if they file false complaints, they'll be sent to the city prosecutor's office so criminal charges can be considered. The ACLU believes this could deter someone from filing a complaint.

OPD and Mayor Jean Stothert's office both declined to comment on the ACLU's report.

To view the Nebraska ACLU's full report, click here.


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