Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says criminal charges will be filed against two officers who were involved in the controversial arrest at 33rd and Seward Street in March
During a Monday afternoon news conference Kleine said he made the decision to file criminal charges after investigators conducted 42 witness interviews, served 19 warrants and 36 subpeonas and viewed several dozen videos of the incident.
According to Kleine Officer James Kinsella saw one of the three Johnson brothers holding a cell phone. He's accused of removing the phone's memory card and destroying it. Kleine says Officer Kinsella then took steps to cover up his actions.
Kinsella is being charged with felony tampering with evidence, obstructing government operations and theft by unlawful taking. Kinsella will be allowed to turn himself in Tuesday.
Kleine says Sergeant Aaron Von Behren knew about Kinsella's activities. He will be charged with misdemeanor accessory to a felony and obstructing government operations and will also be allowed to turn himself in Tuesday.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer released a written statement following Kleine's news conference. “This is a difficult day for the Omaha Police Department, but I support Don Kleine’s charging decision 100 percent. As I have said before, the actions by some officers at 33rd and Seward do not reflect the professionalism demonstrated by personnel of the Omaha Police Department on a daily basis.”
In regards to officer Brad Canterbury, who is seen on video pulling Octavius Johnson to the ground by the neck and striking him repeatedly, Kleine says his actions were reviewed by experts and determined that they did not warrant criminal charges.
Kleine says Canterbury said he felt resistance from Johnson, and that according to Johnson and a witness statement, Johnson was trying to get up before Cantebury punched him.
Kleine said the investigation is ongoing and did not rule out filing more charges. Officers Canterbury and Justin Reeve, are appealing the decision.