Omaha, Nebraska — As TFTP reported in 2014, an employee working for the television show “Cops” was shot and killed by police in Omaha, Nebraska, as they responded to an armed robbery at a local Wendy’s restaurant. Although the incident happened 4 years ago, the video footage from that tragic day was not released until now.
As Omaha.com reports, the city attempted to block the release of the video, however, a Douglas County district judge has refused the City of Omaha’s request to bar the release of the video, which shows the fatal shooting of a crew member of the “Cops” TV program and a man firing a pellet gun at police.
Sound technician Bryce Dion, died after police opened fire on an alleged armed robber in a restaurant. The suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington had been in possession of an airsoft gun.
As local WCVB News reported at the time, witnesses and officers believed the gun – which looks real but only fires plastic pellets – was a legitimate weapon. When police struck Washington, he attempted to escape the restaurant, and police continued firing in his direction.
As Washington ran toward Dion, police irresponsibly continued to fire, hitting and killing the innocent man in the process.
Dion was wearing a bullet proof vest, however one of the dozens of bullets fired by the three officers managed to miss the vest and strike him in his armpit.
The video is being released publicly now as it is part of a wrongful death lawsuit brought on by the victim’s brother, Trevor Dion. The lawsuit accuses police of gross negligence.
“Bryce positioned himself where told, when told, and acted in accord with police officer instructions,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the Independent:
The footage, filmed by Cops cameraman Michael Lee, shows two officers travelling with the crew in a police car when they receive a radio alert about a robbery in progress at a nearby branch of Wendy’s.
The officers are seen drawing their weapons as they enter the burger chain, followed by the film crew.
They fire repeated rounds at the hooded Washington, who points his pellet gun at officers before attempting to escape through the door.
As the graphic video shows, at point blank range, police continue to unload their pistols in Dion’s direction until it was too late. The camera man then films Dion who is then seen leaning against the wall after being shot by police.
“Bryce, are you all right?” says the cameraman. “Stay with me, man. Stay with me.”
Sadly, however, Dion would succumb to his injuries.
After the incident, Omaha police chief Todd Schmaderer defended the actions of the three officers for opening fire on Washington. At the time of the shooting, he noted, “When they encountered the suspect and gunfire ensued, and Mr. Washington is on his way out, they are returning fire and Bryce is in the vestibule and gets struck by a round.”
However, none of the officers were “returning fire” as none of the officers had a real gun shot at them. In spite of this fact, all three officers were later cleared by a grand jury.
The city of Omaha is now attempting to get the case thrown out. But, for now, as the release of the video illustrates, the judge appears to be on the side of the victim.
Below is the disturbing footage which will undoubtedly lead to the taxpayers of Omaha being held to the fire for the actions of their police department.
“It’s probably the best piece of evidence to show the conduct of everyone involved,” lawyer Christian Williams told the Omaha World-Herald. “It’s very chilling, and it shows a very unnecessary situation that led to the death of a filmmaker.”