OPD resumes investigation into arrests of 3 brothers at 33rd, Seward - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm / Updated at 4:43 pm
OPD resumes investigation into arrests of 3 brothers at 33rd, Seward

The Omaha Police Department said Tuesday it has resumed its internal investigation into the controversial arrests of three brothers in north Omaha earlier this year.

The investigation by the internal affairs unit was put on hold pending the outcome of a criminal investigation by the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, police said in a statement.

The March 21 arrests of Octavious, Juaquez and Demetrius Johnson caused a public outcry and resulted in the firing of four officers — two of whom have been criminally charged. The charges grew out of alleged evidence tampering inside the Johnson home.

Members of the Johnson family also say police used excessive force in the arrest of Octavious Johnson, 28, an incident recorded on a neighbor’s cellphone camera.

Prosecutors allege that Officer James Kinsella destroyed a memory card that contained video of the arrests, and that his boss, Sgt. Aaron Von Behren, conspired to orchestrate officers’ stories about the incident.

Kinsella is charged with felony evidence tampering and misdemeanor obstruction and theft. Von Behren faces two misdemeanors: obstruction and accessory to a felony.

Neither Kinsella nor Von Behren appealed his firing, and the deadline for appealing has passed.

Only one fired officer — Bradley D. Canterbury — is trying to get his job back. He has appealed, and an arbitrator will decide on his future within the next month and a half.

Canterbury, who is seen in the cellphone video punching Octavious Johnson, was not criminally charged in the case.

The fourth officer fired, Justin A. Reeve, decided not to appeal his termination, said Deputy City Attorney Bernard in den Bosch.

Reeve, who also was not charged in the case, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Contact the writer: Maggie O'Brien

maggie.o'brien@owh.com    |   402-444-3100    |  

Maggie is a cops and breaking news reporter for Omaha.com.

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