A former Omaha police officer will soon go on trial in connection with the death of Zachary Bearheels in June of 2017.
Bearheels, who is from Oklahoma, was mentally ill when taken into custody by Omaha police. He died after struggling with police officers, a struggle during which Bearheels was shocked 12 times with a Taser and punched 13 times, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Twenty-nine-year-old Omaha Police Officer Scott Payne faces charges of second-degree assault and unlawful weapon use by deploying his Taser 13 times; both felony charges. A second officer has been charged with a misdemeanor assault charge.
Bearheels had been kicked off a bus traveling from South Dakota to his home in Oklahoma. Employees of an Omaha convenience store called police after Bearheels refused to leave. Officers responded and placed Bearheels in a police cruiser. When he got out of the car, the officers shocked and beat him, then shoved him back into the cruiser. He went into cardiac arrest and died.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer fired both officers.
Bearheels’ mother says he was bipolar and schizophrenic and had possibly not been taking his medicine.