The young man who shot the video capturing Omaha police conduct that led to the firing of four officers said he's delighted with the action he took.
“I wouldn't feel right if I just watched and did nothing while all of this went down,” Michael Lynch II, 18, said Saturday in an email interview.
Lynch shot the video from an upstairs window across the street from the house at 33rd and Seward Streets that was the focus of much of the police activity March 21. Lynch described himself as a friend of the three men who were arrested that day.
The 6-minute, 11-second video on YouTube had received a whopping 342,000 views. By comparison, a YouTube video of Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez's remarkable 76-yard touchdown run in the Big Ten title game last fall has received close to 140,000 views.
Lynch said Saturday that he preferred to communicate by email rather than in person, though he didn't explain why. He contacted a World-Herald reporter by email after the reporter left a business card at the house in an effort to speak with him.
The video captures a frenzied scene in which one brother, Octavious Johnson, is thrown to the street from behind and another brother, Juaquez Johnson, is chased by officers into a house. At least 12 police cruisers drove to the scene and at least 10 officers ran or strode into the house after Juaquez fled there.
Lynch said he grew up in the house from which he shot the video. He said he is working construction and restoration with his father.
He said the third brother, Demetrius, “told me I saved the day with my video.” Lynch says he is “to the fullest degree happy with what I did ...”
Lynch said he had finished playing pool that day and his mother dropped him off at the house.
Then she called her son when she had trouble getting out of the neighborhood because vehicles were being towed. He said he heard a commotion outside. He looked out and saw Juaquez Johnson asking officers why a tow truck was picking up cars.
Lynch said he then saw Octavious Johnson drive up. “I just got this gut instinct to start recording,” Lynch wrote in his email.
He said the more exposure the video gets, the better the chances that police departments everywhere “might just change the way they operate.”
Lynch, who was interviewed by the Police Department's internal affairs unit, said he has regrets in his life. This, he said, isn't one of them.
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