The Omaha City Council voted six to one on Tuesday to approve payment of the medical bills of a man accused of shooting an Omaha police officer.
John Ezell was injured in September when police tried to stop a car he was riding in. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle multiple times. When the car was finally pulled over, police body camera footage shows Ezell with a gun.
He's accused of shooting officer Ken Fortune, before officers fired back and shot Ezell, who spent a month in the hospital recovering.
Now, taxpayers are left with the close to $240,000 bill. "I think this is unfathomable that we are doing this," Council Brinker Harding says. "I understand we have to do it, but I think this is something we should think of when we're talking with our state senators and working something through the unicameral so situations like this are not at the expense of our taxpayers."
Councilman Vinny Palmero voted against the payment, even though assistant city attorney Jeffrey Bloom says the city is legally responsible for the bill . "If police are acting within good faith and not in a reckless manner, as this particular case was, then we as a city should not be liable," Palermo says.
The total bill was $479,341.25. Bloom says Nebraska Medicine agreed to write off half of that charge, leaving the total tp be paid at $239,670.63.