June 5 marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Zachary Bearheels, a 29-year-old mentally ill man who who died after Omaha Police officers repeatedly punched and used a Taser on him at the Bucky's near 60th and Center.
Bearheels ended up at the Bucky's after he was kicked off a bus traveling from South Dakota to Oklahoma, where he is from. According to Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, Bearheels' mother contacted the department after she discovered her son was let off the bus in Omaha.
She told officers Bearheels' history of mental health issues and asked he be taken to a crisis center or back to the bus station.
Two officers, Ryan McClarty and Scotty Payne, were charged with assault and fired from the department for their roles in Bearheels' death.
Payne, who was charged with second-degree assault, which is a felony, will be on trial beginning in November. McClarty, who was charged with misdemeanor assault will be on trial in January.
Omaha Police said they are in the process of making some changes to their training following Bearheels' death:
New Native American cultural sensitivity training has been added for all officers, and has already been completed for trainees. Yesterday, officers started that same training, and OPD expects they can complete the training in roughly 2 to 3 months.