We're helping Makayla Townsell seek accountability after an Omaha Police officer arrested her in a house full of family and friends on Thanksgiving for charges that were later dismissed. 

During a Thanksgiving dinner in 2019, Makayla and her family were enjoying dinner when two Omaha Police officers knocked on her door to conduct a wellness check on her then 17-year-old son. They were responding to a Child Protective Services tip. Townsell’s son spoke privately with officers and never alleged any abuse. He told the officers he had been arguing with his mother but the situation was resolved.  

When one officer stepped away, the other became agitated and declared Makayla was under arrest. He grabbed her arm, brandished a taser, and handcuffed Makayla in front of her family, including her toddler who was in tears.  

Following her arrest and release, Makayla requested a copy of the police report and found inaccurate information about that evening’s events. After voicing her concern with the OPD’s  Internal Affairs Unit, she received a letter from Chief Todd Schmaderer confirming her concerns were supported by an internal investigation and that the officer involved would be recommended for disciplinary action. 

The lawsuit seeks a finding that Makayla’s rights were violated and requests damages as the Court sees fit. 

Case announcement

Attorney(s)

Rose Godinez (ACLU of Nebraska)

Date filed

June 30, 2021

Court

United States District Court for the District of Nebraska

Status

Pending