(Lincoln, NE) -- A former Lincoln Police officer is facing an assault charge.
The Lincoln Police Department says on Tuesday, Lancaster County Sheriff’s investigators cited 32 year old Benjamin Rieker for 3rd Degree Assault, a charge that stemmed from an incident at a Lincoln hospital. Rieker was a Lincoln Police Officer at the time of the offense.
The investigation began following an incident involving a disturbance and possible excessive use of control while Rieker was working in an off-duty capacity on October 31, 2020. The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office says Rieker was working off-duty at Bryan West Hospital when the assault happened. Investigators say wile working in the emergency department, Rieker made contact with a 51 year old man who was causing a disturbance. The sheriff's office says Rieker left the man with medical staff, but eventually came back as the man was discharged. Investigators say, unprovoked, Rieker pushed the man backwards towards another officer and security guards. LSO says the man hit his head on the floor after being pushed by Rieker.
After being notified of concerns and reviewing all available reports, then-Chief of Police Jeff Bliemeister ordered an investigation by LPD’s Internal Affairs Unit on November 12, 2020. The investigation revealed department policy violations, as well as a potential criminal offense. On November 19, 2020, Chief Bliemeister requested that Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner conduct a criminal investigation as an independent outside agency. During this period, Rieker was placed on a 30-day unpaid leave of absence.
LSO investigators developed probable cause to cite Rieker for a misdemeanor assault. At the time of the incident, Rieker had been with the police department for about 18 months. Rieker resigned from the Lincoln Police Department on January 26th while under internal investigation for policy violations.