Although cops delete footage or dispose of memory cards on a regular basis to prevent evidence of their wrongdoings to see the light of day, they rarely get disciplined for it.
Until today, that is, when a Nebraska prosecutor filed criminal charges against two fired cops who collaborated to steal a man’s memory card after he had recorded them beating his brother.
The two officers, James Kinsella and Aaron Von Behren, were fired from the Omaha Police Department last month along with two other officers after another citizen had recorded them chasing the man into his home in March, then posting the video on Youtube.
The story went viral on PINAC because it was shocking to see a swarm of cops chase a man into his own home without a warrant when all he was doing was video recording them arresting his brother.
But Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said what took place inside the home was even more shocking with Kinsella pulling the memory card out of the phone and later throwing it away and Von Behren conspiring to help cover it up.
According to KETV:
At a news conference Monday, Kleine said former Officer James Kinsella faces a felony charge of tampering with evidence, as well as obstructing governmental operations and theft by unlawful taking.
Kleine said while the conduct of officers outside the home is troubling, what happened inside the home is “much more disturbing.”
Kleine said Kinsella disposed of a memory card taken from a cellphone that had been used to record video of the incident by one of Johnson’s brothers. A
uthorities said Kinsella did this in the presence of other officers and then attempted to cover up what he had done.
Former Sgt. Aaron Von Behren faces charges of being an accessory to a felony and obstructing governmental operations.
Kleine said Von Behren was aware that the memory card was taken. Kinsella and Von Behren will be allowed to turn themselves in Tuesday morning and will be scheduled for arraignment.
The Omaha World-Herald has more details and quotes as well as a video, which I embedded below, from today’s press conference.
Comments from Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine Kleine’s overview:
“The conduct inside after the officers went inside (the house) is much more disturbing” than what’s on the YouTube video.
Kleine on memory card: He said the knowledge that the memory card was taken by Officer James Kinsella “comes from Officer Kinsella himself and what he said to other officers.”
Kleine: ”The officer’s conduct in taking that memory card is so out of line, it’s criminal conduct. We don’t know what’s on that memory card” and that’s what we want to find out.
On OPD trying to hide misbehavior: ”It’s of tremendous concern to the chief and it’s a concern to us. We can’t have this type of conduct. It’s a betrayal of public trust.”
If only more prosecutors had the guts to pursue criminal charges in these types of cases. Meanwhile, the two other cops who were fired are fighting to get their jobs back.