Click here to watch Police Chief Todd Schmaderer's Saturday press conference regarding the incident near 33rd and Seward Streets.
Omaha's police chief promised Saturday to oversee a thorough investigation of alleged brutality and intimidation in an incident near 33rd and Seward Streets.
Two more officers were reassigned until the probe concludes; one officer had been shifted to a new post on Friday. A police spokeswoman has declined to identify them, and their new assignments were not clear.
Video of a segment of the incident taken by a neighbor shows a police officer throwing a man to the street. While on the ground the man, Octavious Johnson, 28, appears to take at least three punches from an officer.
Johnson and his two brothers, Juaquez Johnson, 23, and Demetrius Johnson, 22, were arrested in the Thursday incident.
The aunt of the men, Sharon Johnson, said officers chased Juaquez into the house to get video he had taken of Octavious Johnson's takedown. She said she got tipped over in her wheelchair in the fracas.
Warning: This video contains obscene language.
“As chief of police, I will get to the bottom of this,” Chief Todd Schmaderer said. “If I determine the manner in which the OPD operates needs changing, I will not hesitate to do so.”
Earlier Saturday, City Councilman Ben Gray said the incident threatened to destroy gains police have made in earning cooperation from the north Omaha community. Gray said he was “appalled” by the conduct he witnessed on the video.
“The evidence is clear on that tape,” he said. “What occurred ought to be disturbing to everyone.”
Gray said he was confident Schmaderer would manage a sound investigation.
Schmaderer said he had added internal investigators to the case and that the examination had begun. Witnesses will be interviewed, video evidence from police cruisers will be watched and officers will be questioned, he said.
Schmaderer said “the public's trust is paramount” to the police force. The public bestows considerable power on the department, he said.
“It is my responsibility as chief to ensure that we wield that power appropriately.”
Meanwhile, Sam Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said Saturday night he has emailed the video of the incident to a unit at the U.S. Justice Department that investigates police departments.
World-Herald staff writer Emerson Clarridge contributed to this report.
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