Douglas County, NE, Attorney Don Kleine announced Wednesday that he is charging two of the officers involved in attempts to subdue a mentally ill Oklahoma man who died after being shocked repeatedly with a conducted electrical weapon on June 5, reports the Omaha World-Herald.
Kleine charged the two his office determined to be most involved in the incident. Scotty Payne faces second-degree assault charges for shocking the man, Zachary Bearheels, 12 times with a TASER. Ryan McClarty faces third-degree assault charges for punching Bearheels 13 times after Bearheels ripped his hand free from a handcuff.
McClarty will receive a ticket for the misdemeanor count. Payne will turn himself in Friday and make his first court appearance. Both have been fired and are appealing their terminations.
Representatives of the former Omaha officers criticized Kleine for “Monday morning quarterbacking” the officers’ heat-of-the-moment decisions.
The Omaha police union blasted Kleine for bypassing a grand jury and issuing charges on his own.
Sgt. John Wells released a two-page statement saying the union was “disappointed that (Kleine) and his office succumbed to the pressure.” The union wrote that defensive-tactic experts have “found that the officers’ actions (fall) within accepted police standards and (are) not excessive in nature.”
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