- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A Douglas County grand jury found that authorities didn’t do anything wrong in connection with seven separate deaths at jails or other county facilities or during police activity.

State law requires a grand jury anytime a person dies in jail, in police custody or while law enforcement officials are trying to apprehend them. A Douglas County grand jury cleared authorities Wednesday in the seven deaths starting from August 2013.

In one of the more profile cases, the jury found no wrongdoing on the part of three federal agents and two Omaha police officers in Willie Michalak’s death, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1pJ9Wr8).

Michalak, wanted on nine felony warrants, had said he wouldn’t be arrested alive. He refused officers’ commands to get out of a car and began spinning his tires, trying to get away from them. Police said he threatened to shoot the officers and reached for his waistband, prompting the officers to shoot at him.

A handgun was found on the vehicle’s floor in front of the driver’s seat, Omaha police said. They said drugs were also found in his pockets.

The other deaths were:

- Anthony Routt, 52, died of liver cancer May 9 at the Omaha Correctional Center.

- Daniel Clement, 54, died of a seizure May 5 at the Douglas County Jail.

- Burdette Becks, 38, died April 4 after shooting himself in the head as police came toward his home.

- Amanda Solko, 34, died Oct. 15, 2013 after a seizure at the Douglas County Jail.

- Jerald Ludden died of heart disease Oct. 5, 2013, at the Region 6 Recovery Center, an Omaha facility for mental health or addiction treatment.

- Robert Basten, 65, died heart disease Aug. 21, 2013 at the Douglas County Jail.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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