A 35-year-old Black man was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday. Soon after, word of the man’s death sparked evening protests in the city on Friday and Saturday.
According to NBC News, Omaha police fatally shot Kenneth Jones Thursday night after responding to a car stopped in the middle of the road without its hazard lights. Two officers instructed the four people inside of the vehicle to put their hands up in a visible position as they walked toward the car.
According to police, three of the people in the vehicle complied with the police’s request but Jones, who was not driving the car, was not cooperative. The officers used a flashlight to break the window of the vehicle in an attempt to open the car door closest to him, police said in a statement Friday.
Law enforcement officials said video of the incident shows officers Dan Faulkner and Richard Martier needing to use physical force to get Jones out of the car. During the struggle, police said they saw a gun on Jones and fired four shots in his direction.
On Saturday, North Omaha Information Support Everyone, a local community-led news platform, posted to Twitter an audio interview with Charlene Rainey, a witness on the scene.
Rainey said it was a traumatizing experience.
“So I step outside, and we see two officers grab Greedy, or Kenneth,” she began. “Then you hear, ‘he’s got a weapon,’ and they let go of the man. And one of the police officers already had a gun in his hand and opened fire about five or six times.”
Kenneth Jones was fatally shot by an Omaha Police Officer during a traffic stop at 27th and Harrison. Witness Charlene Rainey called the event “traumatizing” and said that she fears for her boys as they too are African American. The full story is linked in our bio. pic.twitter.com/IV8TRYdwHq
— North Omaha Information Support Everyone (@noiseomaha) November 21, 2020
Rainey, who identified herself as a friend of Jones' family, said the 35-year-old was a family man.
“You know, he was a family person. I’ve known his family for like ten-plus years,” she said. “I just went up there and talked to them, and their all hurt [because] they just lost somebody. And you know, Thanksgiving is next week.
According to Fox 42, both officers Faulkner and Martier said they needed to remove the man from the car after he refused to comply with their directives. In the Omaha Police Department’s statement, the two officers indicated that Jones was the only person removed from the car because he was the one person not following their directions.
OPD did not identify which officer fired the fatal shots but said it would provide more details at a news conference early this week. Police officials said the officers discovered a gun "directly underneath" Jones in the aftermath of the scuffle, NBC News reports.
Police said that after they shot Jones, the officers yelled for him to show his hands despite him being incapacitated on the ground from the gun wounds. Jones was taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, according to NBC News.
Following the shooting, people gathered in evening protests outside of the police headquarters. Police declared both sets of protests unlawful gatherings as the demonstration took a violent turn.
In a video shared to Twitter, police can be seen engaging in physical contact with protesters. The user who posted the video described the encounter, saying police were “wrestling” protesters to the ground.
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On Friday night, a protester was arrested for assaulting an officer with a laser light. According to NBC News, police said they made similar arrests for various assaults against officers on Saturday.
Protesters said they needed treatment from the hospital after being maced and attacked by police, according to the Omaha World-Herald.