Grief, confusion, and frustration follow the police chase in Omaha and shoot death
A police chase resulted in the death of a man Thursday night in North Omaha, another incident of violence that has created familiar feelings of pain, disbelief and outrage in the community.
At 10:12 p.m., Omaha police attempted to stop a blue 2011 Chevrolet Camaro near 34th Street and Laurel Avenue, Omaha police said. The driver heading north passed a stop sign, crashed into a car heading east and got out of the car with a gun, police said in a press release early Friday morning.
After a brief chase through the neighborhood, officers found the man behind a house. According to Omaha Police, verbal orders were given to drop the gun and eventually the man pointed the gun at himself and shot himself. The Omaha Police did not fire any shots and no injuries from the chase or accident were reported .
An updated press release will be released today, the police said. A public information officer for the Omaha Police Department said the officers wore body-worn cameras.
Immediately, posts began to flood social media for the man identified on social media as Nigel Phillips. The victim has not been identified by the Omaha Police Department.
“My heart broke 1,000,000 ways. No more words. None, ”said a family member on a social media post.
For many, shooting doesn’t make sense.
Social media posts say Phillips just started a t-shirt brand. A family member wrote that Phillips was on his way to writing a plan for his new small business. “Bear” Alexander Matthews, a longtime friend of Phillips’, said in a Facebook post that Phillips “never had a depressed bone” in his body. Matthews wrote that no matter what Phillips was struggling with, he always had a smile on his face and looked forward to a future where he would raise his two children and work more with the Revolutionary Action Party, of which he and Matthews were members.
The local activist group has led protests against the police, in addition to community food supplies and civic action, in which recently severed pig heads were brought to a protest outside the Omaha Police Officers Association’s union hall.
“This brother, this comrade, was with us from the start,” said a Facebook post on Friday morning by the activist group. “He saw the message that RAP is sending out and found out ten times over. He was one of our founding members and was there at the very first meal [distribution]. “
An Omaha Police Department public information officer said he learned that Phillips was a member of the group following a question from The Reader on Friday morning. He said, to the best of his knowledge, Phillips’ connection with the group had not been discussed during or after the Thursday night incident.
Many are not satisfied with the narrative so far by the Omaha Police Department and have called to see the complete, unedited, body-worn camera footage.
The incident follows the death of Kenneth Jones, who was shot dead by police during a traffic stop in November 2020. His family and the public waited months for body-worn camera footage to be released.
When it was released, it only raised more questions about why the situation had to escalate to a gunshot death. Activists and community members hope for more transparency this time.
Anyone who remembers the story the @OmahaPolice told us compared to what we saw with our own eyes when we saw the video of police shooting #KennethJones in the back and killing him, can understand why we are suspicious of the police about what happened nigel phillips.
– 𝙍𝙞𝙡𝙚𝙮 (@TheRileyWilson) June 11, 2021
“Nigel’s family and community deserve immediate access to the evidence without barriers, free from traditional secrecy trials,” a press release from Justice for James Scurlock, an activist group founded after James Scurlock’s death in 2020 reads the public deserves this proof without the usual editorial boss [Todd] Schmaderer offers that do nothing other than annoy community members and cause damage. “
Contact the author at [email protected]