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Omaha Police Department: Force justified on 12-year-old in June incident

Posted at 6:40 PM, Aug 12, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha Police Department on Friday exonerated an officer who was placed on leave after the circulation of bystander video of force being used in the arrest of a juvenile on June 21.

Officer Tyler Hansen, a 14-year veteran of OPD, was put on paid administrative leave 51 days ago.

"The distanced citizen’s video brought questions of excessive use of force," Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said in a statement. "However, after a complete review, it was determined the officer’s up close body-worn-camera video portrayed a more detailed account of why the officer took the measures he did. I find the officer to be exonerated in this matter."

The bystander video shows an officer restraining a young male on the ground before another officer arrives, picks the young male off the ground, and guides him to the police cruiser. The young male briefly lunges away before the officer puts him against the car and appears to place his hand or upper arm on the back of the 12-year-old's head or neck and shove it into the side of the car.

That causes a bystander near the recording camera to gasp, and another to say, "Dude, it's a f***ing 12-year-old."

See the recording of the incident below. 3 News Now protected the identity of the 12-year-old boy by blurring his image.

Omaha Police Department launches use of force internal investigation after video circulates on social media

OPD gives the following account of the incident, which the department said followed calls to 911 that said a group of juveniles was trespassing at Atlas Apartments, then acting "aggressive" near 33rd and Burt Streets.

As they were dispersing, another male juvenile walked up and began to entice the group. The male juvenile aggressively approached the Officer, yelling, “f*** the police,” and “you can’t do anything to me.” The Officer warned the juvenile that his aggressive behavior was disorderly and instructed him to leave. The male juvenile refused to leave and started inciting the other juveniles to yell profanity at the Officer. The male juvenile began encircling the Officer from behind and, at one point, lunged toward the Officer. The Officer pushed the male juvenile away from him. The male juvenile again lunged at the Officer. The Officer physically forced the male to the ground, placing him in handcuffs. The male juvenile pulled away and attempted to fight the Officer, at some point hitting the Officer, causing a laceration above the Officer’s eye.

Officer Hansen arrived to assist with placing the juvenile into a marked police cruiser. His Body-Worn-Camera (BWC) captured the event. The BWC captured the male juvenile continuously cursing as he repeatedly pulled away from Officer Hansen. Officer Hansen pushed the male juvenile against a police cruiser to gain control of him and used his body weight as leverage as the juvenile tensed his body and pulled away. The BWC captured the male juvenile as he maneuvered his arms towards his right side onto the cruiser door, which he used as leverage to push himself back into Officer Hansen. Officer Hansen was able to place the male juvenile in the cruiser. Once inside the cruiser, the juvenile continued using profanity, telling Officer Hansen he would “lose” his job. The juvenile then placed his feet in the door jamb to prevent the door from closing. The juvenile spat at Officer Hansen as he was closing the cruiser door. Officer Hansen gave loud verbal commands during his entire contact with the male juvenile to ‘stop fighting.'

An OPD spokesperson said the department would not release the body camera video referenced in its statement after a 3 News Now request Friday afternoon.

"I also understand the importance of transparency," the spokesperson said. "However, there are legal personnel reasons as to why we cannot release the video. In addition, there is a legal and ethical interest to not highlight the identity and behavior of the 12 year-old that may cause unnecessary harm."

3 News Now also submitted an official public records request for body cam video of the incident in June, which was denied in July on under an exemption to Nebraska's public records law related to investigations.

Below is the police report associated with the incident.

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