Omaha Police Chief expected to give officer-involved shooting update

Omaha's Police Chief Todd Schmaderer is expected to give a statement about Thursday night's officer-involved shooting.

Offering her condolences to the family of the victim on Friday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said that a grand jury will investigate Thursday night’s fatal shooting in southeast Omaha.

Stothert says the two officers involved in the incident been put on administrative leave while an investigation of the incident is underway. “There will be a thorough investigation, and according to state law, there will be a grand jury."

Putting officers involved in a shooting on administrative leave during the investigation is Omaha Police policy. The mayor said the two officers involved in Thursday’s shooting joined OPD in 2016. “So they’ve been on the force about four years,” she said.

With the investigation already underway, the mayor said there a statement from Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer is expected to be released Friday. “He will be as transparent as he possibly can."

Investigators will be reviewing body camera video, she said, but noted that it’s not up to OPD to release video in cases where a grand jury will be investigating. “As you know, our police chief worked with (State) Sen. Ernie Chambers several years ago to make sure that the results of a grand jury investigation were made public, and the evidence is usually made public at that time, too, which could include the body camera videos,” Stothert said.

Assuring transparency, the mayor said the number of officer-involved shootings “are very, very low, and we want it to stay that way.”

“It’s always a tragedy when somebody loses their life, and we don’t like to hear it, and especially in this atmosphere we have right now in the country when there’s shootings and officers are involved. But we will get to the bottom of it, and we promise our community that we will and take any action if it’s warranted,” Stothert said.

The mayor said she’s “always worried about the possibility of unrest. Always.” She said she hopes this incident doesn’t “spark anything.”

“We want a safe, calm community, and things have been quieting down within the past six weeks or so... But I know there’s still a lot of anger out there, too,” she said.

Stothert said she has confidence in Chief Schmaderer. “He will get to the bottom of it,” she said.

A family that lives in the neighborhood told 6 News they were right across the street when the shooting happened. “Like, I’m in shock. My kids are outside — they seen that happen,” neighbor Charlene Rainey said. “The simple fact that this man, like — police screamed out a weapon. I didn’t see him have a weapon — the police officer already had a gun in his hand when they let go of this man. Both of them had him.”

Rainey said she and some of her family members watched as a man was shot by OPD officers Thursday night. “I heard a kid in that car,” area resident Savannah Adams said. “A kid got out screaming, and then there were females in the car.”

Rainey said she was stunned by the scene she witnessed across the street from her home. “I see two police officers grabbing a man, pulling him away from the car as they were twirling him around,” she said. “They let go, and we hear ‘He’s got a weapon!’ And then a police officer had a gun in his hand, and then he opened up — five to six shots fired. Next thing you know, the man is laying, and they’re trying to bring him back to life — like, they’re pumping on his chest.”

Stothert said she has confidence in Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and that the investigation will be transparent. “I think our police department, people know in Omaha, it’s a very good police department,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for Chief Schmaderer and his command staff; they run a very tight ship. And everybody who knows Chief Schmaderer knows he’s a no-nonsense chief. He will get to the bottom of it; he will investigate, like he always does, and he will be transparent as he possibly can.”