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Zachary Bearheels' mother suing city, Omaha Police officers

Posted at 12:38 AM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 01:48:58-04

The mother of a mentally ill man who died June 5, 2017, after being repeatedly tased by Omaha Police officers, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and several OPD officers.

Renia Chalepah, mother of Zachary Bearheels, alleges in the lawsuit that police failed to provide proper medical treatment for her son, and that he was illegally detained. 

The lawsuit also alleges the city failed to train officers to "de-escalate situations involving individuals experiencing psychotic episodes," and to avoid unnecessary uses of detention or force when interacting with mentally ill suspects. 

DOCUMENTS: Read the lawsuit

Bearheels was stranded in Omaha after he was kickedoff a bus traveling from South Dakota to Oklahoma, where he is from. Bearheels' mother contacted OPD after she discovered her son was let off the bus in Omaha, telling officers Bearheels' history of mental health issues and asking that he be taken to a crisis center or back to the bus station. 

RELATED: Omaha Police release in-custody taser death timeline

Two officers, Ryan McClarty and Scotty Payne, were charged with assault and fired from the department for their roles in Bearheels' death. Both are named in the lawsuit, as are Jennifer Strudl, Makyla Mead, and Sgt. Erik Forehead. 

The department also added Native American cultural sensitivity training for all officers in response to the in-custody death.