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Omaha police conclude internal investigation following incident that was caught on camera

Posted at 1:01 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 18:09:20-04

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

The Omaha Police Department (OPD) says it concluded an internal investigation into the arrest of a woman on May 1, which was caught on camera by a passerby. An officer involved in the incident will receive "remedial training" as a result of the investigation.

The woman, who was identified by OPD as Jennifer Carter, was arrested near 30th and Ellison Streets.

A witness, who did not want to be identified at the time, told 3 News Now that she was driving down North 30th Street when she allegedly saw Carter "slammed" to the ground. At the time, the witness said she parked by the curb and started recording video of the arrest.

OPD says that Chief Todd Schmaderer authorized an internal investigation and 16-year OPD veteran, Officer Dave Stewart, was identified as the officer seen stepping on Ms. Carter's leg in the video.

In an email on Tuesday OPD said: "The Internal Affairs Unit has determined that his actions were not in accordance with the Omaha Police Policy and Procedures Manual."

The email continued to explain the disciplinary action that was taken by the police department.

"As outlined in the Omaha Police Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Chief of Police can issue disciplinary action ranging from a Job Performance Interview to a twenty (20) day suspension without pay, and termination. Chief Schmaderer has issued Officer Stewart discipline, to include remedial training.

Per the Omaha Police Collective Bargaining Agreement, the exact details of Officer Stewart's discipline cannot be discussed, due to personnel rights. Officer Stewart is afforded due process through an appeal to either an arbitrator or the personnel board."

The email from OPD on Tuesday also explained the nature of Carter's arrest.

On May 1, she was cited for criminal mischief and told not to return to a property after allegedly damaging an apartment door. Later that day, a 911 caller said Carter returned to the property and that she was allegedly attempting to destroy his property again.

At that point, OPD says, "The officers saw Ms. Carter walking toward the property, but she turned to walk in the opposite direction when she saw them. The officers contacted Ms. Carter and attempted to place her in police custody. Ms. Carter resisted the officer's attempts to place her into custody, and a use of force occurred."

The Omaha Police Officers' Association, the union that represents OPD officers, released a statement on Tuesday in response to the police department's announcement that disciplinary actions would be taken against Stewart.

The statement read, in part: "As noted in the press release from the Omaha Police Department, Officer Stewart is afforded due process and has the right to appeal any disciplinary action via the Personnel Board or an independent arbitrator unbound by the political sensitivities surrounding this incident."

The union went on to provide its perspective on Stewart's actions including that the suspect was "known to police."

The statement continued, "While video recordings of the use of force by professionals in a uniform will always appear troubling without context, we ask the public to reserve judgment until an independent entity reviews each case."

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