In 2013 a rough arrest involving Omaha Police officers and an Omaha family at 33rd and Seward went viral on social media. Today the family was at City Council in hopes of learning how much the brawl amounted to.
The City Council has decided they need more time to look at all the legal options for everyone involved and delayed a decision for two weeks. The council members asked a lot of questions about what they are actually voting on with this $90,000 settlement that the city is offering the Johnson family. The City Attorney's office says this decision the council is making is if the settlement is in the city's best interest.
The Johnson family is not happy with the settlement and want to take their fight to court. But that raised even more questions for the council that could not be answered today. City Attorney Tom Mumgaard says that if the City Council votes no on this settlement then the matter will go to court."The city will offer no more money without a trial and them winning a trial, we will not make a second offer" Mumgaard said. The two week delay will give both sides more time to talk to the federal judge and figure out what options they have.
The Johnson family spoke with us right after that meeting. No one is sure if that can go to court following the events today because the council is moving into unprecedented territory. The family says they were not aware the federal mediation they agreed to was binding because they didn't sign off on anything. The Johnsons and the City Council want their questions answered. They went into mediation with a federal judge last month, but Sharee Johnson says they were unfamiliar and blindsided by the entire process. That's why they asked the City Council to delay today's vote. "They only considered Octavous. They didn't consider the families injuries. So, we would like that looked at . We want them to go back to mediation and consider the entire family, not just Octavous" Johnson said. This family does not know what happens next, but they say they will be back in two weeks to hear what the City Council decides.
The City Clerk stopped short of calling today's circumstances unprecedented, but says it has never happened in his time as clerk. The City of Omaha did pay out for another rough arrest a couple of years ago. In 2014, council members approved a $100,000 settlement with Robert Wagner. Video showed Omaha police officers assaulting and using a taser on Wagner outside of Creighton University Medical Center in 2011. The city denied any wrong-doing but agreed to pay Wagner $32,000 in damages and $68,000 in legal fees.