The Omaha Police Officers' Association condemned the decision made by Douglas County Attorney Doug Kleine to file charges against two OPD officers for their roles in the death of 29-year-old Zachary Bearheels.
The OPOA stated that Bearheels fought officers attempting to restrain him, did not gain compliance through command, was able to resist control by four or more officers and created a deadly weapon by physically pulling his hand out of a handcuff.
The OPOA claimed Kleine succumbed to outside pressure and that because the officers actions were not the proximate cause of death and caused no significant injuries, according to a certified forensic pathologist, they should not have been charged. They also called the charges "remarkable" and "unprecedented."
"The involved officers are entitled to know how they engaged in excessive force if that non-lethal TASER was not successfully deployed, where both probes were not firmly within suspects skin thereby ineffectively transferring an electrical charge (whether it be one or twelve attempts) sufficient to subdue and gain compliance of the suspect," an OPOA statement said. "The officers' action are not be judged by 20/20 hindsight but based upon reasonable perspective of an officer on the scene. These officers are entitled to a Grand Jury process and the ability to present a defense that includes all of the facts and evidence, not those cherry-picked for a press conference when the politics and pressure become too much to bear."