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Jury selection set to begin for former Omaha officer’s trial

November 26, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday for the trial of a former Omaha police officer charged after a deadly encounter with a mentally ill man.

Thirty-nine-year-old Scotty Payne is charged with felony assault and use of a weapon in the June 5, 2017, death of Zachary Bearheels. Police say the 29-year-old Bearheels was acting erratically at an Omaha convenience store and fought officers’ efforts to take him into custody.

Police cruiser video shows Payne using a stun gun on Bearheels and Officer Ryan McClarty dragging Bearheels by his hair and repeatedly punching him in the face. McClarty is scheduled to begin trial Jan. 14.

A judge ruled last month that jurors to be chosen for Payne’s trial will not learn that it led to the officer’s firing.

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