Omaha Police: ‘Use of force’ dash-cam video of sheriff candidate stolen, altered

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Scene in question starts at 7:20, incident at 7:27
Omaha Police on Thursday issued a statement about a video circulating of a candidate for Douglas County Sheriff they say has been altered.

OPD said the video, showing Sgt. Aaron Hanson repeatedly striking a suspect in the knee, was altered to make it seem like Hanson struck the person several times.

“The actual video (OPD dash camera) shows one knee strike,” the OPD release states.

Further, the department noted in Thursday’s release that Hanson’s use of force in that incident had been “reviewed by the Safety Review Board and Internal Affairs Unit in 2017/2018. No discipline was recommended and Sgt. Hanson’s actions were ultimately found to be within policy.”

OPD attached a GIF to the news release that is identical to the one tweeted out by Hanson’s campaign.

“The video is the property of the OPD and is considered to be stolen,” the OPD release states, noting that police employees are “sworn to protect the integrity of sensitive material for the sake of prosecution, personnel rights, and for the public’s trust.”

Police likened the theft of the sensitive material to the unauthorized release of photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people in California in 2020, calling that breach a “high-level example.”

“The release of the photos caused great distress to the Bryant family,” the release states.

The department’s Safety Review Board examines about 300 use-of-force incidents each year — anything from arm maneuvers to Taser deployments to weapons fired, according to the release.

“The only video that was stolen from our possession that we are aware of is this specific video,” the release states.

The race between Democrat Greg Gonzalez, who retired as a deputy chief with the OPD earlier this year, and Republican Aaron Hanson, an OPD sergeant who serves on the department’s fugitive squad, has been very heated.

The Omaha Police Officers Union endorsed Hanson in the Douglas County Sheriff’s race this past September.

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