Family of Octavius, Juaquez Johnson File Lawsuit After Wrongful Arrest in Omaha

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The problem with the entire idea of “resisting arrest,” is that it implies once a police officer has decided to arrest you—warranted or not—you are forced to comply or risk facing additional charges. Such was the dilemma for the Johnson brothers, Octavius and Juaquez, of Omaha, Neb. who were arrested in March of 2013 after an encounter with the police turned unnecessarily violent. Monday, according to RT.com, his family filed a lawsuit seeking damages for a number of constitutional rights violations.

In the video (below), the police have already responded to a parking complaint and found Octavius Johnson who had parked his truck on the wrong side of the street. Johnson is moving, albeit slowly, towards the hood of his truck, apparently to be frisked. Yet, before he can place his hands on the hood, a police officer grabs him by the neck and slams him to the ground.

Johnson’s family, including brother Juaquez wearing black and filming the encounter on his cell phone, can be heard yelling in fear and surprise for the officers to stop. While Octavius spends most of the video on the ground, his body obscured by police, his brother flees the street when more than a dozen police cruisers sped up to the street, sirens blaring.

The police pursued Juaquez into the home, followed by at least eight other officers. Soon, Juaquez is dragged from his aunt’s home to a waiting police cruiser. He can be heard pleading, “Please, please. I’m not fighting y’all.” The police officer then asks him why he ran away, of course it was rhetorical. Juaquez was getting arrested, and there was nothing he could do about it.

While the video gives no indication of what went on in the house, one can infer that Juaquez merely hid from pursing officers. In the video, one of them can be heard saying, “Why did I have to jump over a crippled old lady to get to you?” He then later admonishes Juaquez for speaking to him with respect. “No I’m not ‘sir,’” he yells, “Don’t start being nice and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ now.”  

Protests by the community led to a police investigation, but it has not yielded satisfactory results for the Johnson family. With the help of the ACLU they have filed suit, citing depression and anxiety since the arrests. The Johnson brothers were charged with resisting arresting, disorderly conduct, and obstructing officers.