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Zachary Bear Heels remembered four years after his death

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jun 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-06 11:02:22-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Four years ago, 29-year-old Zachary Bear Heels died while in police custody after being punched and tased repeatedly.

Local justice organizations held a prayer walk and vigil in Bear Heels’ honor on Saturday.

The group met at 16th and Jackson and walked to Bucky's on 60th and Center.

Organizers say they walk in remembrance but also to continue to seek justice.

City of Omaha settles with Bear Heels' family

His family says it’s hurtful what the police did to their son.

“I still can’t believe this happened. We still can’t believe this took place,” said Renita Chalepah, Bear Heels’ mother. “But we’ve got memories and that’s all we got now, is to say his name, and to keep on living for him and be his voice and let the world know what happened to Zachary Bear Heels.”

The Bear Heels family traveled from Oklahoma to be at Saturday's walk. They say they want him to be remembered as a happy, loving son.

Four officers involved in the case were let go from the Omaha Police Department. But in April 2020, three of them were reinstated by an arbitration panel.

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