One Of Six Omaha Cops Fired For Excessive Force, Illegal Search And Seizure Is Already Back In Uniform
from the you-can't-keep-a-bad-man-down dept
As we covered very recently, the city of Omaha is being sued by the ACLU on behalf of a family whose house was raided by 20+ cops (sans warrant) in order to seize cellphone footage taken of their arrest tactics (read: excessive force) deployed to detain someone asking questions about a vehicle being towed. Despite the multitude of police officers swarming the neighborhood, a person filming the incident from across the street went unnoticed.
By the time it was all said and done (and footage released to the press), 32 police officers had been named as co-defendants, and six of those officers had been fired. But like many police officer firings, it didn’t take.
Omaha police officer Bradley D. Canterbury has been reinstated after being fired for a rough arrest at 33rd and Seward last Spring.
Canterbury is the one in the video who seems to throw Octavius Johnson to the ground.
Not only did Canterbury throw Johnson to the ground, but he got in a few swings when (he thought) no one was looking. Here’s the video for a refresher. The throw happens about 11 seconds in. At 2:55, Canterbury looks around for watchful eyes, and seeing none, punches Johnson a few times.
An arbitrator decided that those punches don’t count, even if Canterbury suspiciously omitted them from his report.
According to the TV report, an arbitrator decided in a 38-page ruling that Canterbury’s use of force was justified, calling the strikes “hammer hits” and noting he didn’t kick or elbow Johnson. The arbitrator also decided the city didn’t have enough evidence to show Canterbury purposely failed to mention the second series of strikes, against an already subdued Johnson, in his report, even as two of the officers are facing charges related to the cover-up of the incident.
Now, it’s unclear to me how a “hammer hit” differs from “repeatedly punching” a prone, subdued suspect, but I’m not in the business of putting bad cops back on the street. What it looks like is Canterbury extracting a little “aggravation pay” from the person who kicked off this whole debacle. Finding the street clear of fellow officers (who were warrantlessly storming a house to illegally seize cellphone footage, injuring a wheelchair-bound woman in the process) and, more importantly, citizens with phones, Canterbury “hammer hit” Johnson to remind him who was in charge. Then he submitted a report that glossed over his “hammer hits.”
I’m not sure what evidence the city would need to show a reasonable human being that Officer Canterbury purposely failed to include the extra punching in his report other than:
a.) Canterbury’s report that doesn’t detail the hammer hitting, and
b.) the above video footage.
Perhaps the city should have mentioned that the illegal seizure and destruction of camera footage was indicative of a coverup. Actually, I’m sure it did, considering it used that claim to get rid of the cops in the first place. If cops are covering something up, omitting tiny details like bonus blows is just par for the course.
Now, if Canterbury can get his job back after being caught on tape and caught omitting details, then it stands to reason the other five fired cops have a chance to reclaim their badges. This isn’t a great way to weed out bad cops. In the private sector, most fired people stay fired. But on the other side of the blue line, being canned for violent acts or violating rights is often little more than a momentary setback.