Omaha police displayed an unbridled street gang brazenness when they chased a man who was video recording them abusing his brother into a private home, confiscating his phone and arresting him to ensure their actions would never see the light of day.
However, another citizen captured the entire incident on video from a second-floor window, ensuring at least the façade of an internal investigation.
Police also arrested a third brother inside the home they entered without a warrant, not to mention they knocked over a woman in a wheelchair.
Police claim the woman in the wheelchair was knocked over by Juaquez as he ran from officers.
Regardless of who knocked her over, police had no right to chase Juaquez into the homewithout a warrant when all he was doing was video recording them from across the street.
He was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing police. No mention of his video is made in any of the local news stories of the incident.
His brother, Octavious Johnson, the man police were initially arresting, was charged disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstructing police and reckless driving.
The third brother arrested, Demetrius Johnson, was charged with obstructing police and an outstanding warrant.
The family says officers demanded the phone but when Juaquez ran into the house to put it away, police rushed in throwing Sharon Johnson out of her wheelchair. Sharon says, “He came in and ran and he took my chair and he throws it up and just threw me back.” But a police report obtained by Action 3 News shows Johnson was pushed out of her wheel chair by Juaquez as he ran from officers. Sharon says, not true. “Other police officers just climbed over me and just start going over this way and jumping all over him.” said Sharon.
Johnson says police handcuffed her for a short time, arrested Juaquez and took his cell phone. The Omaha Police Department released this statement: “Chief (Todd) Schmaderer has authorized an internal investigation into the incident. The Omaha Police Department expects professionalism from all employees…there will be a comprehensive investigation into this incident….any violations will be addressed.”
The man who video recorded the incident, Michael Lynch, did an excellent job of capturing the entire scene, which shows police ordering Octavious Johnson to stand against a truck to arrest him after a dispute over a tow truck trying to tow cars from that block.
Octavious wasn’t physically challenging the officers but one officer wrapped his arms around his neck and threw him down to the pavement, then began punching him.
Juaquez Johnson began yelling, “that’s bullshit,” to protest the aggressive actions against his brother, which prompted another officer to start holding him back.
Juaquez wasn’t being combative with the officer but the video shows he was trying to get closer to the altercation as if to record it.
He can be heard saying something like “I’m just taking pictures” at around :21 in the video.
The officer walks him to the sidewalk and Juaquez makes it clear that he is not going to get any closer than the sidewalk but continues to ask, “why you hit him?”
The cop walks back up to him, which causes him to start retreating on the sidewalk, saying, “I don’t feel comfortable with you walking up.”
When the cops walks back towards the street, Juaquez walks back to the same area on the sidewalk where he keeps telling them “that’s abuse” and “get your knee off of his head.”
However, he is very careful not to stand on the street to give the impression that he might physically interfere with the two officers who are on top of his brother.
At 2:18, more cop cars pull up to the scene with sirens wailing and that’s when they start chasing Juaquez into the home.
At least six cops run into the home and eventually lead the two brothers out in handcuffs.
Police say they were called out to the area for a parking complaint when the response escalated to a disturbance.
A nearby witness captured the dispute on cell phone video, which is now circulating on You Tube.
“It was just a spur of the moment thing, like I just started recording and everything happened,” said Michael Lynch. He took the cell phone video across the street, upstairs.
In it, you see police throw 28- year-old Octavius Johnson to the ground and throw punches minutes later.
Octavius described, “He went around my neck, threw me on the ground, choked me out to the point where I couldn’t breathe or speak.” He continued, “The officer told me to stop resisting, punched me in the face and said ‘do you want to die today’.”
You also see his brother, Juaquez Johnson, nearby recording his own video, according to family. Lynch said he stayed inside while recording after he said police didn’t seem happy that Juaquez was recording.
The local news stories do not specify whether police returned Juaquez’s phone but considering that video is nowhere to be found on the internet, we can safely assume it’s been deleted.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, who took over in August 2012, vowed to “get to the bottom of this.”
Call him at (402) 444-5600.