OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha Police on Friday released body-worn camera video footage from an officer's November shooting of 35-year-old Kenneth Jones.
They did so a day after reporters and regular folks got their first look, and days after local media organizations, including 3 News Now, filed formal public records requests with the city.
The video the city released to the public on Friday did not contain all of the videos 3 News Now and other reporters reviewed on Thursday. It runs from the start of the traffic stop to when officers tried to revive Jones after the shooting.
Police said in a statement that they would not release the video sooner under a state law that allows law enforcement agencies to withhold information that’s part of an investigation.
They said another state law makes their body camera footage part of grand jury evidence, which is kept secret until a grand jury makes its decision.
The grand jury investigating Jones’ death returned no indictment in his death. Reporters who formally requested to view the videos and exhibits had to wait for final transcripts to view it.
The city argued that once the grand jury exhibits and videos had been accessed by reporters and/or members of the public, the city had to release it to records requests.
“The intent of the grand jury law is for the public to see the evidence,” Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said. “It is unfortunate a ‘review format’ was used.”
Lawyers and legal experts have said that their read of Nebraska law is that the city didn’t have to wait, that police had the ability to release the video any time after the shooting.
3 News Now watched the video on Thursday. Body camera footage from OPD Officer Daniel Faulkner, who fired the fatal shots, shows Jones ignoring repeated orders to raise his hands.
Three other people in the car complied with officers’ commands. Jones looked around and kept fumbling for something out of view of the officer’s camera from outside of the car.
The video shows Jones resisting orders to unlock and open the car door, as well as to exit his car. Toxicology results later showed that he had a hallucinogenic drug in his system.
Police reports shared with the grand jury also allege that Jones’ mom, who lived near the traffic stop at 27th and Harrison Streets, lived in the territory of a rival gang.
A second officer at the scene, Richard Martier, eventually broke out the rear passenger window of the 2019 Dodge Charger and pulled Jones from the car.
Faulkner, in interviews after the shooting, said he felt a gun on Jones’ body when he rushed over to help. And that he felt Jones’ hand on it. Faulker said he pushed him away from them.
That’s when four shots rang out. Jones could not be revived.
See the video for yourself, please be aware that the content may be disturbing:
OPD cruiser camera
Ofc. Martier body-worn camera
Ofc. Faulker body-worn camera