Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Featured

Native Man Killed by Police in Omaha

Native Man Killed by Police in Omaha

On June 5th, Omaha police repeatedly shocked a handcuffed Native American man 12-times with a stun gun in a gas station parking lot. He was later pronounced dead.

He was trying to come home,” Mitchell Chalepah, Bearheel’s younger brother, told KETV. “That was it. He just wanted to come home.”

29-year old Zachary N. Bearheels, who has a history of mental illness, was on his way home from South Dakota when the fatal interaction between with police occurred.

According to Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, “the incident began the night before Bearheels was repeatedly shocked. Bearheels arrived in Omaha arrived in Omaha by a bus coming from South Dakota, with his final destination as Oklahoma City where his mother lived. His mother called the Omaha police station to inform them that her son, presumed missing, suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Officers found him outside of a gas station convenience store at about 12:40 a.m. after they were called in to respond to reports that he was refusing to leave the premises. When they arrived, Bearheels was reportedly dancing out in front of the store

Bearheels’ mother, Renita Chalepah, was then contacted by the Omaha Police Department, who spoke with her son while he was being held in custody. She was able to identify that he had not been taking his medications by the way he spoke with her.”

The officers and Bearheels’ mother agreed that he should be taken to the bus station, but when an officer opened the door of the police car to put on Bearheels’ seatbelt, he jumped out of the vehicle and resisted attempts to keep him in custody.

According to Schmaderer, “Officer Payne then shouted, “Taser, Taser,” as a warning to Bearheels before discharging the stun gun. Officer McClarty then grabbed Bearheels by the waistband and ponytail and dragged him back to the cruiser.

Bearheels sat, without resisting, on the ground at the rear of the car, but Officer McClarty continued to discharge electricity into Bearheels using the stun gun.

Bearheels managed to free his left hand from the handcuffs, and kicked and swung his arms at Officer McClarty, who in turn punched him in the head and attempted to put him in a neck restraint.

Medics arrived on the scene at approximately 1:50 a.m. after Bearheels had been shocked 12 times, and reported that he did not have a pulse and had stopped breathing. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

According to the Washington Post Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said on June 9 he plans to fire two officers who contributed to the death of Zachary Bearheels.

They report, “After the electric shocks failed to incapacitate the 29-year-old man, an officer pulled Bearheels to the ground, grabbed his ponytail, and dragged him to the police car. Another officer punched him in the head repeatedly while the shocks continued.”

The responding officers were, Scott Payne, Ryan McClarty, Jennifer Strudl and Makyla Mead.

According to The Omaha World-Herald, “Schmaderer wants to fire Payne, the officer who used the stun gun, and McClarty, the officer who punched and dragged Bearheels.

A grand jury will convene to investigate the officers’ use of force.

Posted by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire. @wakiyan7