Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer released the results of an internal investigation regarding a videotaped arrest of a student at Millard South. Video of the arrest made the rounds on social media. It showed an Omaha Police Officer punching a student.
A statement from Chief Schmaderer reads, "Omaha Police School Resource Officer (SRO), Nick Caniglia, is exonerated in this matter. The Use of Force was within OPD Policy and is deemed justified. Officer Caniglia will return to work as the Millard South SRO, effective on Friday, January 8th, 2016."
The Omaha Police Department says it is able to discuss the details of the events because the video was published publicly.
The fight happened on December 17th in the hall of Millard South High School.
The police department interviewed witnesses. The 17-year-old boy who was arrested and appears handcuffed in the video would not come in for an interview according to police.
Police say there was a verbal and physical altercation among teens before the videotaped fight.
According to police, School District Security Officer Timothy Kimpson got punched in the head while he was trying to break up the fight.
That's when they say Officer Caniglia got involved. They say he was also punched in the head. Police say, "shortly after the event occurred, the student admitted to hitting the officer by apologizing to the officer saying he was sorry and he didn't know who he was hitting. This apology was also overheard by the school administrator."
The report says that Officer Caniglia responded to the level of resistance he faced. He then put the 17-year-old in handcuffs. Police say he was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. According to police, "Officer Canglia did not arrest the student with 'Assault on an Officer' because of the student's statement after the incident, indicating he did not know it was an officer he was hitting when he threw the punch."
The Chief, Senior Command Personnel and two separate OPD Use of Force experts evaluated the officer's use of force. They found that he punched only after he had been punched. It found that he was using that force to end the conflict and prevent further injury.
"In a perfect world a School Resource Officer would never have to use force on a student; however, in this instance, the 17 year old student's behavior precipitated the officer's actions," Chief Schmaderer said.