Several Omaha groups have collectively filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Members say police policies enable police misconduct in the city of Omaha.
Omahans for Justice Alliance is a coalition of community groups that include the ACLU, the NAACP, and Nebraskans for Peace.
Member Sam Walker said Tuesday, “It’s a civil action, not a criminal action. Nobody is going to be prosecuted. It’s not a torte action, so there’s no damage that is going to be paid to any individual.”
Group members are seeking an investigation through the federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It quotes the Justice Department’s website which explains the federal law this way: The act “prohibits law enforcement agencies from regularly violating existing constitutional protections against police misconduct, such as excessive force, false arrests, unreasonable searches or seizures, and intentional racial or ethnic discrimination.”
OJA says the city has not followed its own law by hiring a new Public Safety Auditor. The alliance also complained that the city has not responded to allegations of evidence planting in 2010. The group also points to a 2011 incident where Robert Wagner was allegedly beaten outside Creighton University Medical Center.
Omaha Police responded to the complaint with the following statement:
In the past, the Department of Justice has had a chance to review Omaha Police Department case files and investigate use of force incidents. These reviews are normal business practices in many law enforcement agencies across the country and provide another system of checks and balances in policing.
We strive to be a transparent agency and if a citizen group feels the need for the Department of Justice to review these events, we welcome the review. Some of the noted cases have previously been reviewed or are in the process of being reviewed by the Department of Justice through the local FBI Office.
We are constantly reviewing policies and procedures making adjustments to reflect new laws and changes in current laws. We have internal policies and procedures in place, such as internal affairs, early warning tracking system and review boards, to address policy and procedural violations. Departmental training and/or discipline will continue for policy violations. We will continue our mandatory annual training to address procedural changes and any other prevailing training issues.