At least two demonstrators who gathered in the Old Market section of Omaha, Neb., on Friday night to protest the deadly police shooting of a Black man were taken into custody after police declared an unlawful assembly, according to reports.
The protest came one night after the man, identified as Kenneth Jones, was shot and killed during a vehicle stop.
“Until (police) prove that they didn’t murder a Black man, we’re not shutting up – not one bit,” protest organizer Peyton Zyla told the Omaha World-Herald.
On Friday night, Omaha police released a preliminary report that alleges Jones was shot after police thought he was reaching for a weapon, FOX 42 of Omaha reported.
“Watch his right hand! He’s digging! He’s digging! He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!” one police officer is heard saying in a police video, the station reported.
After Jones was shot, officers found a .45-caliber handgun with a “round in the chamber” beneath his body, a police report said.
Jones was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to police. They said only one officer fired at Jones and the officer’s weapon was confiscated as evidence, the World-Herald reported.
Police said Jones was the only one of the vehicle’s four occupants who failed to comply with police orders to place hands outside the vehicle as officers approached, FOX 42 reported. Jones’ struggle with police occurred as officers were trying to pull him from the vehicle, the report said.
Police had not released the video or any still images from the video, as of Friday night, Omaha’s KETV-TV reported.
On Friday night, protesters gathered near police headquarters, where they projected a message onto the side of the building.
“This isn’t transparency,” the message read. “Release the footage of the OPD execution of Kenneth Jones.”
A crowd that reached about 50 people at its height around 9 p.m. eventually dispersed about an hour later, the World-Herald reported.
The case remains under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and the Omaha Police Officer-Involved Investigations Team, FOX 42 reported.
The police officers involved in the case were not immediately identified but Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said both officers were hired in 2016 and were scheduled to be interviewed Saturday about the matter, the station reported.
Both were placed on administrative leave, in accordance with common police practice following a shooting incident.
The mayor said the case will head to a grand jury for possible charges after the investigation is completed.
Jones was released from prison in 2018 after serving time on a weapons charge, the World-Herald reported.
According to FOX 42, Omaha police Chief Todd Schmaderer released a statement in which he pledged a “thorough” investigation, with “complete details” eventually released to the public.
“We would like to express our condolences to the family and friends of Kenneth Jones and the rest of the community that are affected by this incident,” the chief’s statement said. “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation and providing the public with complete details. The investigation is progressing and we ask for patience until it is complete. We will keep the public updated as additional information is verified.”
Like other U.S. cities, Omaha has seen its share of unrest since the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Just five days after Floyd’s death, a 22-year-old Black man named James Scurlock was shot and killed during a dispute with a local bar owner who ultimately killed himself in September after being charged in connection with Scurlock’s death.