Kearney police officer charged in June shooting

By  | 

KEARNEY, Neb. -- An arrest warrant has been issued for Kearney Police Officer Derek Payton for a June 5 shooting.

According to court documents, Payton is being charged with second degree assault for shooting Jose Klich during a traffic stop near 6th and Central Avenue.

Klich sustained a single gunshot wound to his abdomen and underwent surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital.

The City of Kearney released a statement Thursday morning saying:

"The Kearney Police Department and the City of Kearney are aware of the charges filed against Officer Derek Payton from the shooting incident on June 5, 2016. The Police Department and staff will not comment on this and the Officer remains on administrative leave pending the completion of the criminal trial."

An arrest affidavit is revealing more about what happened during the traffic stop.

According to the documents, Officer Payton was on patrol in Kearney when he observed a white Pontiac with plates not belonging to the vehicle. Officer Payton followed the Pontiac into the Johnson Lawn and Landscape business.

The driver of the Pontiac, later identified as Jose Klich, got out of the car immediately and is ordered by Officer Payton to stay in the car.

According to the affidavit, the driver put both hands up as the officer repeated his commands. The driver then got back into the driver's seat of the car.

Officer Payton's in-car camera shows Officer Payton walking up to the rear of the Pontiac and stopping several feet behind the car. At that point, the officer has his weapon drawn and pointed toward the people inside the Pontiac.

Officer Payton yells, "Don't you do it, stop" as the Pontiac begins to back up towards Officer Payton. The video also reveals yelling coming from inside the Pontiac.

The driver of the Pontiac slowly backs up, before hitting Officer Payton's leg.

According to the court documents, Officer Payton says he will shoot and orders the driver to stop several times. At that point, the driver turns the front tires and accelerates forward.

The officer again threatens to shoot.

Revealed in the arrest affidavit, "At the times the first two shots were fired, Officer Payton was standing in the approximate area of the front axle on the passenger side and is not in path of the fleeing vehicle. The officer pursues the white Pontiac with lights and sirens activated."

Klich was apprehended near the intersection of 19th Street and 5th Avenue in Kearney after hitting a building in the area. No weapons were found in the Pontiac or on Klich.

A bullet was removed from Klich's abdomen. He sustained injuries to his stomach, transverse colon and jejunum.

According to the arrest affidavit, two bullet holes were found in the passenger side of the windshield of the Pontiac. The back window was shattered. One bullet was recovered inside of the Pontiac and the third bullet was never found.

An arrest warrant was issued for Officer Payton on August 31, 2016. A preliminary hearing has been set for September 29 at 10:00 AM in Buffalo County Court.