Omaha police ask residents of the city to remain calm as a protest is planned this evening at 120th and Center Streets.
Organizers say the protest will be peaceful, drawing attention to the separate deadly shootings of black men in Minneapolis and Louisiana by police officers. But it comes a day after a sniper killed five police officers and wounded seven others in Dallas.
The Dallas shootings shattered a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas of the deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana at the hand of officers.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown says the suspect, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, had stated he was upset about the recent police shootings of black people and wanted to kill white people, especially officers.
Robert Wagner heads Project K.N.O.S.E. – Keeping North Omaha Safe for Everyone. He was a victim of excessive police force five years ago in Omaha.
“I hear anger. I hear police don’t take us serious,” according to Wagner. “The thing I’ve said from day one, even after my incident is we still need the police. If something happens that is who we call. I would like for this demonstration to be something where the Omaha Police Department understands there are people in the community that have seen misconduct. There are people that have been a part of misconduct but at the same time we understand their job.”
Wagner says he hopes the demonstration can clear up a lot of miscommunication.
The demonstration is scheduled to begin at 5 o’clock this evening.
The Omaha Police Department issued a statement:
We are aware of the protest planned for this evening at 120th & Center Streets. The organizers of tonight’s event have stated that they are planning for a peaceful protest. We have taken appropriate measures to have officers at tonight’s protest to protect the rights and ensure the safety of both the public and protesters. We are asking everyone to remain calm in the face of what occurred last night in Dallas. More violence or negative confrontations will not help or solve anything. Working together is the only way to effectively move forward, build trust and solve the issues that confront all of us.
If your travels take you through 120th & Center this evening, please be extra cognizant of people and events occurring in the area and avoid any additional distractions so we can help to keep everyone safe. Be assured that uniformed officers will be at the protest to keep everyone safe while assuring the 1st Amendment rights of those lawfully assembled to protest.
Karla James contributed to this story.