Locals react to deadly police tasing verdict
On Monday, a jury found former Omaha police officer Scotty Payne not guilty of felony assault charges.
Reactions were shared at a community forum held by Bear Heels' family at the Lincoln Indian Center.
"He did not act that day as we do," said Winnebago activist Frank LaMere. "He did not express himself, perhaps, as we do. He was different. Simply he was different. And for that reason, his life was taken."
Bear Heels was schizophrenic and bipolar..
In September of 2017, he refused to leave a convenience store. That's when Ofc. Payne tased him 12 times.
After the incident, Payne was fired from OPD.
On Monday, an Omaha jury found Payne not guilty of felony assault.
"If they don't hold people like Scotty Payne accountable for what he did, then it's more likely that we will be the next Zachary Bear Heels," said activist Leo Yankton.
Speakers also said the family will continue to push for the officers involved to be held accountable.
OPD said the case has changed how they deal with mentally ill suspects.
LaMere said whether they found Scotty Payne guilty or not guilty, it will not bring back Zachary Bear Heels.