Lawsuit over Omaha Police’s use of force at protests settled

Lawsuit over Omaha Police’s use of force at protests settled

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A lawsuit that accused Omaha police of using excessive force when they responded to last year’s protests against police brutality and racial injustice has been settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska filed the lawsuit last fall challenging police tactics that included firing pepper balls at protesters and making mass arrests during the protests in May, June and July. The lawsuit focused on a particular protest last July when more than 100 people were detained and held for hours in crowded cells at a jail that was battling a COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of the settlement, city officials agreed to drop all charges against the protesters and revise city ordinances to provide more protection for protests. The police department also agreed to ensure its officers are trained on when using chemical agents, such as pepper spray, is allowed. Police will also produce annual reports on its efforts to comply with the settlement.

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ACLU of Nebraska attorney Adam Sipple said the agreement will help protect future protests in the state’s largest city.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said he’s glad the city was able to resolve the dispute.

“I am pleased we were able to reach an agreement and set a positive tone for the start of 2021,” he said.

Published at Thu, 07 Jan 2021 11:55:00 +0000

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