Omaha taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for the medical bills of a convict, who was shot by officers after allegedly shooting an Omaha police officer in September
John Ezell was wounded in September when police tried to stop a car he was riding in near 30th and Laurel. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle several times. When it was finally pulled over, police body camera footage shows Ezell with a gun. Police say he shot an Omaha officer, then police shot Ezell. He spent a month in the hospital recovering and his medical bill is nearly $240,000.
City officials said the total would have been $479,000, but they were able to negotiate the bill down by about 50 percent. City attorneys said the state and federal laws say Omaha taxpayers have to pay the bill.
"That is required because we had a Nebraska Supreme Court case that spelled out our responsibilities," Omaha City attorney Jeffrey Bloom says. "We are required to provide medical treatment because of the U.S. Constitution and the case law associated with that."
Bloom tells NewsRadio 1110 KFAB the city does not have primary responsibility in this case. "However, given that Mr. Ezell didn't have any type of health insurance, or Medicaid, Medicare, V.A. benefits, then the liability does fall on the city."
Bloom says it's an unfortunate situation, but the city is responsible for the payment of medical bills while that person is in custody as well as when that medical treatment is necessary.
Ezzell was on federal probation for a weapons charge when the September incident happened. Police said he is a known gang member, and now faces a number of charges, including attempted murder. He is being held with a $3 million bail.