Family Says Man Unfairly Beaten by Police, Caught on Tape
Omaha Police say they are investigating whether or not police were out of line when arresting a man near 33rd and Seward Thursday.
Police say they were called out to the area for a parking complaint when the response escalated to a disturbance.
A nearby witness captured the dispute on cell phone video, which is now circulating on You Tube.
"It was just a spur of the moment thing, like I just started recording and everything happened," said Michael Lynch. He took the cell phone video across the street, upstairs.
In it, you see police throw 28- year-old Octavius Johnson to the ground and throw punches minutes later.
Octavius described, "He went around my neck, threw me on the ground, choked me out to the point where I couldn't breathe or speak." He continued, "The officer told me to stop resisting, punched me in the face and said 'do you want to die today'."
You also see his brother, Juaquez Johnson, nearby recording his own video, according to family. Lynch said he stayed inside while recording after he said police didn't seem happy that Juaquez was recording.
Minutes into the video, Juaquez runs into his home and police follow him inside. During the pursuit, Octavius' Aunt, Sharon Johnson, says police knocked her out of her wheelchair and was sent to the hospital.
Octavius said Juaquez was running inside so police wouldn't take his video. "He was running to give me the camera," Sharon said.
Police arrested Juaquez, Octavius, and another brother in the home, Demetrius Johnson.
Octavius said this all happened after he questioned police for trying to tow his cars that were parked along the street. His Aunt Sharon was watching the scene from inside her home, and called Johnson's mother for help.
"She said 'they're beating him, they're beating him.' I said 'call the police'. She said, 'they are the police.'"
Police tell a different story.
Police say Octavius drove up to the scene recklessly, argued with police, and resisted arrest. They said they had to "wrestle" him to take him into custody.
They say the cars they were towing were unregistered and one was considered dead storage.
Sharon said she tried to show paper work to police to prove they were registered. She admits one was not.
Police also say they chased Juaquez after they told him they'd arrest him if he didn't stay of the street. The pursuit began when they say he resisted arrest.
Police say they arrested Demetrius Johnson when he tried to block them from Juaquez.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said he has seen the video and has approved and internal investigation into the case.
Per OPD policy, anytime an officer uses physical force during the course of their duties a review of the force automatically takes place.
Please view the raw video with caution as there is graphic language.