Zachary Bear Heels died as result of being hit 12 times by Omaha police Taser gun. Photo from GoFund Me.
Published March 6, 2019
OMAHA, Neb. — American Indian activist, Frank LaMere (Winnebago) wants justice for Zachary Bear Heels, a tribal citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who was killed by police in Omaha, Nebraska on June 4, 2017. Bear Heels was pronounced dead after sustaining 12 direct hits from a police Taser. As the result of the tragic death, four Omaha police officers were fired.
LaMere is seeking the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation after a Nebraska county attorney refused to pursue charges against former police officer Ryan McClarty. One other officer who was charged with a felony assault and use of a deadly weapon charges was found not guility in December 2018.
Community memebers wanted County Attorney Don Kleine to charge McClarty. Last week Kleine announced he would not press charges against McClarty. He said video and audio taken at the scene of the tragedy did not provide proof “beyond a reasonable doubt that McClarty was not justified in his actions.”
LaMere met with Kleine on Monday to press him to bring charges to no avail.
Bear Heels was on his way to Oklahoma when he was kicked off an interstate bus in Omaha on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Bearheels, who suffered from bi-polar and schizophrenia, was not allowed back on the bus because of his behavior after another bus passenger complained to the bus driver.
Left in Omaha, Bear Heels failed to arrive in Oklahoma to meet his mother who went to the bus stop to pick him up. His mother called the Omaha police and told the dispatcher about her son’s mental health condition. The police told her they could not do anything unless her son was a risk to himself or others.
More than 24 hours later, police were called to Omaha convenience store because Bear Heels was allegedly causing a disturbance. He was apprehended and put in the back of a police cruiser. The police contacted his mother, who spoke with an officer on the scene for almost an half hour. She asked for the police to take her son back to the bus station. Soon thereafter, Bear Heels left the police cruiser and police chased after him.
After Monday’s meeting with Kleine, LaMere issued a statement saying, “The four officers were fired. They should have been charged with murder! One day it is my hope that they will be.” The statement further continues, “Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine will not try the fired Omaha Police Officer Ryan McClarty because finding him guilty would be hard! I guess that justice is hard!”