The judge issued the ruling Tuesday, citing the county prosecutor’s announcement in July of charges against former officers Scotty Payne and Ryan McClarty — separate from the grand jury process — in the June 5 death of 29-year-old Zachary Bearheels. The judge also noted prosecutors showed at a news conference portions of police cruiser video of Bearheels’ arrest and death.
The video shows Payne using a stun gun repeatedly on Bearheels, and McClarty is seen punching Bearheels. Some of the blows came after Bearheels was on the ground and not resisting.
Payne has been charged with felony assault. McClarty is charged with misdemeanor assault.
Nebraska law requires a grand jury probe when someone dies in police custody.