Omaha police officer in ‘caught on tape’ case getting job back

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

An Omaha police officer accused by his own bosses of engaging in “Street Justice” should get his job back.

That’s the ruling of an independent arbitrator in the highly publicized “caught on tape” case of Officer Bradley Canterbury.

Scene from 33rd and Seward Street caught on tape last March

The ruling is drawing applause from the Omaha Police Union while the ACLU is outraged.

Canterbury was one of six officers fired in the aftermath of what began as a routine parking problem near 33rd and Seward Street in North Omaha last March 21 before escalating into a must-see six minute recording.

The video—shot by a member of the public— shows Canterbury (see video below) throwing a man to the ground and hitting him several times, while a dozen other officers storm a home across the street; all told some 30 police descended on the neighborhood.

Despite the video and the department’s claim that Canterbury went too far, the arbitrator ruled “there is not sufficient evidence” that Canterbury used excessive force.

The arbitrator says he based his decision on the use of force “leeway” stemming from the Supreme Court ruling in Graham v. Connor.

In the end Canterbury’s firing was reduced to a written reprimand for writing an incomplete report.

The union calls the ruling the result of “a fair and impartial hearing.”

But the ACLU says by “putting Canterbury back in uniform, the Omaha Police Department is sending the message that it tolerates” assaults on the citizens of Omaha.

Of the six fired officers Canterbury and three others were terminated in April—only Canterbury appealed. Two more who were fired earlier this month might still appeal their firings.

Two of the four fired in April, James Kinsella and Aaron Von Behren, are facing criminal charges accused of covering-up evidence.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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