Omaha Woman Alleges Police Mistreatment

An Omaha woman claims she was illegally arrested after she refused to sign a traffic citation while she lay injured in the hospital. The complaint could become the first test for the mayor’s Citizen Review Board.

Tonya Ward told the media Wednesday that she was the third car in a four-car pileup back in March. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was followed into the emergency room by two police officers she claims harassed her while she was injured.

Ward said, “I can’t see. I can’t read. Everything was fuzzy. I had dots and birdies flying and I couldn’t see. The black cop kept telling me, ‘You need to sign this. You have to sign this or I'm taking you to jail.’”

Ward did not sign the citation and about a month later the two officers showed up at her home to arrest her. Ward said did not receive any notice from police until after she had been arrested.

“My mailman hands me this letter and it’s from the Omaha Police dated 22nd, the day after I suffered in jail. This letter's dated April 22nd telling me that I need to report to the police headquarters... failure to comply with this notice will result in my physical arrest. And I couldn’t believe what I was reading.”

Ward took the complaint to the Omaha Police and the process has started.

OPD Captain Tom Shaffer said, “We'll bring it upstairs, take a look at it, assign it to an investigator. She'll be contacted by that investigator at a later time and be brought down for a second interview where we'll tape record it and she'll sign in front of us to attest that everything's true and accurate.”

If the investigation finds no wrongdoing by police, this could be the first case for the mayor’s newly appointed Citizens Review Board.

The board begins training later this month. Tonya Ward said she did not cause the accident but admits to driving without insurance and without her registration in the vehicle.

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