An Omaha man is organizing a peaceful protest this afternoon in response to deadly police involved shootings in Minneapolis and Louisiana. Robert Wagner is the head of Project K.N.O.S.E. – Keeping North Omaha Safe for Everyone -was a victim of excessive force five years ago in Omaha and says everyone needs to start getting along now.
Wagner says, “I hear anger. I hear police don’t take us serious. 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. We understand their place and they have to understand we are people and need to be treated with respect also.”
Five years ago Wagner went to an Omaha hospital to be with family after a cousin was killed. The hospital had been shut down and when Wagner arrived he was told to leave. A short time later, Wagner was pulled to the ground by officers who piled on top of him. Since then Wagner has become a strong voice for the north Omaha community and has organized several peaceful demonstrations.
Wagner says there is a lot of miscommunication that needs to be cleared up and he is hoping today’s demonstration will help in that process. He says, “We invite the Omaha Police Department, the mayor, anyone that wants to stand in solidarity. We will have a moment of silence for the victims and when we walk away I want the police and those attending to have a better understanding of each other’s purpose. Know we are citizens and we have rights so respect us. Same for the police officers – respect them and they have a job to do.”
The demonstration is scheduled for 5 p.m. at 120th and Center Street.