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Activists Are Demanding Body Camera Footage Be Released After Omaha Police Fatally Shot A Black Man

Kenneth Jones, 35, was shot by police during a traffic stop.

Posted on November 20, 2020, at 8:07 p.m. ET

KETV / Via ketv.com

Activists in Omaha, Nebraska, are demanding the release of police body camera footage on Friday, a day after an officer fatally shot a 35-year-old Black man during a traffic stop.

In a statement, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said two officers on Thursday night noticed Kenneth Jones was moving around in the backseat as they walked toward the vehicle, which had four people inside, and that he refused to put his hands outside the car windows or open his door.

One of the officers then broke the car's window with their flashlight to get the door opened, Schmaderer said, after which Jones was pulled out of the backseat when he refused to get out.

Schmaderer said footage from a police cruiser camera shows officers telling Jones, "Keep your hands where I can see them." An officer then says, "Watch his right hand," and later, "He's got a gun."

"The officer yelled 'Gun! Gun! Gun!' Seconds later, four shots are fired," Schmaderer said.

Officers performed CPR on Jones as they waited for a squad car to arrive at the scene, Schmaderer said. Jones was then taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

Authorities found a Springfield .45-caliber handgun, with a round in the chamber, on the ground directly under Jones, Schmaderer added.

Authorities have not provided information about the reason for the traffic stop.

Bear Alexander, an organizer with ProBLAC, said the Omaha-based advocacy organization planned to hold a demonstration Friday evening to call for the release of the body camera footage, demand that the names of the officers involved be released, and that an independent review of the shooting be launched.

"Police officers don't have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner," Alexander told BuzzFeed News. "We need an independent review board that is unbiased and separate from the police department to investigate this murder."

Both officers involved were wearing body cameras, which were activated and recording during the incident. However, one of the cameras became dislodged during the struggle and failed to capture the entire incident on video. It did capture the audio.

The body-worn camera of the officer who shot Jones captured video and audio of the entire incident, while the police cruiser's video only captured the beginning because the struggle took the officers out of view, Schmaderer said.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol have also been assisting the Omaha Police Officer-Involved Investigations Team, authorities said.

According to state law, the case will then be presented to a grand jury once the investigation is completed, Schmaderer said.


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