Omaha officer disciplined after use of force controversy

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 12:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 2:21 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha Police officer will be disciplined after a use of force incident earlier this year sparked controversy.

A video of 40-year-old Jennifer Carter being arrested by Omaha Police made the rounds online when it allegedly showed an officer stomping on her leg.

According to Omaha Police, a 911 caller claimed a woman, identified by police as Carter, was trespassing and attempting to destroy property. Carter had been previously cited for damaging an apartment door on the same property and ordered not to return.

Omaha Police say officers saw Carter walking toward the property and she turned away when she saw the police. The officers then began to arrest Carter for trespassing.

Police claim Carter was resisting arrest and that’s when an officer, now identified by Omaha Police as 16-year police veteran Dave Stewart, used force to restrain her.

A bystander caught the altercation on video, which allegedly showed Officer Stewart stomping on Carter’s ankle.

Carter’s mother says she is mentally handicapped and was handcuffed when she was hit by the police officer.

Carter later pleaded guilty to trespassing and resisting arrest. The charges for disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped. She received a one-week sentence.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer authorized an internal investigation into the incident.

Police say the investigation showed that Officer Stewart’s actions were not in accordance with the Omaha Police Policy and Procedures Manual. The chief is allowed to issue disciplinary action ranging anywhere from a performance interview to a 20-day suspension without pay, or termination.

Omaha Police did not reveal the exact details of Officer Stewart’s discipline, allegedly because of the Omaha Police Collective Bargaining Agreement and personnel rights. A statement Tuesday did reveal that he was being disciplined and was receiving remedial training.

A police spokesperson later clarified that specific discipline could become public if Officer Stewart appeals through arbitration or the personnel board.

Carter’s mother Phyllis Hollings says she is glad to see something being done.

“Maybe they need more training,” Hollings said. “Maybe it will stop some of it you know, ‘cause it’s really getting bad. “It’s not like when I grew up and stuff, the world has changed and everything, they need intensive training.”

Omaha police say they are aware of the video that's now made the rounds on social media.

The Omaha Police Officers’ Association released a statement on the use of force investigation.

“While video recordings of the use of force by professionals in a uniform will always appear troubling without context, we ask the public to reserve judgment until an independent entity reviews each case,” a portion of the statement read.

Read the full statement from the Omaha Police Officers’ Association:

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