Three of four Omaha police officers were reinstated on April 23rd, 2020 after being fired from their jobs over involvement in a June 2017 incident. The accused officers were involved in the brutal death of a 29 year old native American man, Zachary Bearheels. The three officers are going to be reinstated on varying conditions as per a three person arbitration panel.
Killed Man’s Mother in Tears
The panel ruled that Officers Ryan McClarty, Jennifer Strudl, and Makyla Mead should be reinstated. The panel upheld the termination of Officer Scotty Payne who was acquitted in December 2018 by the jury. Payne was involved in using his Taser on Bearheels 12 times during the June 2017 encounter.
Renita Chalepah, Bearheels mother, has expressed outrage over the panel’s decision to reinstate the officers. She told Indianz.Com that police brutality against natives was just as bad as against minorities. She also said that none of the officers deserved being reinstated after they watched her son being beat up and killed.
Bearheels was Mentally Ill
Chalepah has filed a lawsuit against the City of Omaha in federal court alleging that all four police officers illegally detained her son and denied him his basic human and civil rights. They also failed to get him medical treatment for his mental illness. The lawsuit claims that excessive force was used to detain Bearheels.
Don Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, dropped all assault charges against McClarty in March 2019. McClarty was accused of hitting Bearheels 13 times in the head.
Criminal charges were never filed against Officers Mead and Strudl. The arbitration panel has decided to reinstate both officers with full pay. The panel decided that McClarty should be penalized with a 20-day suspension and a one-year “last chance agreement.”
Constitutional Provisions against Police Brutality
Law enforcement agencies are trusted by the public to uphold, preserve, and protect the law. Unfortunately, some police officers violate the principles of justice, which they are sworn to defend. The rights of a police brutality victim are upheld by the US constitution. However, law enforcement agencies can make litigation difficult. It takes an experienced police misconduct lawyer to navigate the complexities of these cases.
Juries tend to believe that officers are permitted to break the law to apprehend a culprit just because the individual broke the law. However, the United States civil rights extend to all members of the public, including criminals. These civil rights are collectively called the Bill of Right. It’s crucial that victims should consult with skilled and knowledgeable police misconduct attorneys before taking any action.