Release of arrested protesters slowed by computer glitches at Douglas County Corrections

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A number of protesters arrested Saturday night near Turner Park were released from the Douglas County Correctional Center on Sunday afternoon, but some were still escaping nearly 24 hours after the protest.

One by one, the demonstrators celebrated their extended stay at the DCC, blamed on a problem in the establishment’s computer system.

Michael Myers, director of corrections, said it was a bad and unintentional time when a routine maintenance update that typically occurs at 3:30 a.m. initially delayed the release of protesters arrested in the early hours of Sunday. morning.

“This process creates a screeching halt in our release process because we aren’t able to do the nationwide file checks and other things that we do to make sure we don’t release someone. that we shouldn’t, ”he said.

Routine maintenance shutdown typically occurs on Sunday morning, as the facility is not dealing with a high volume of arrests.

At the end of the update, not all functions came back online. This further slowed down the release process as protesters waited in cells while the county used a paper system to process their release.

Jordan Cordin said he posted bail around 9 a.m. but could not be released until 2 p.m.

“They kept telling us that there were these, you know, computer problems with the system and stuff. kind of giving us false hope – and it was like every couple of hours they were doing it, ”he said.

Upon their release, the protesters fed each other as they returned to the humid conditions outside.

“I’m tired. I’m exhausted,” protesters Mergo Petrichor said. “Being in there was a nightmare. And I never want anyone to have to relive that again.”

The IT department resolved the IT issues with the facility at around 4:00 p.m. Myers said he hoped everyone would be out before 10 p.m. Sunday.

“We certainly regret the delay in releases for people,” he said. “We don’t want family and loved ones waiting in our parking lot. It was a very unfortunate time to have this volume of arrests brought to our facility. “

Myers also said the county jail was doing its best to keep everyone safe while they were there.

Official OPD Report on Saturday’s Protests

According to the Omaha Police Department, the protest began near Turner Boulevard and Farnam Street around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

At 8.45am that evening, police said protesters started marching in Farnam’s traffic lanes against the flow of traffic and started throwing barricades at police cars.

The OPD made announcements calling for their dispersal and “numerous” arrests were made.

Most of the arrests were for obstruction of movement and non-dispersal, the OPD said. A total of 126 people were arrested for a misdemeanor Sunday evening, as well as several accused of resisting arrest and obstructing an officer.

The average age of those arrested was 27, while the age ranged from 18 to 57.

Douglas County Corrections, in a statement released Sunday evening, said 109 people had been booked from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday through Sunday, about 75% of whom were from the protest.

“It’s a multi-step process to get a lot of people in there and get them released. This is usually a single line of file, ”said Mike Myers, director of the Douglas County Department of Corrections. “Even when everything is working fine, reserving so many people at the same time creates a bottleneck situation. “

Corbin, who was arrested and then put on bail, said last night’s protest was peaceful until police escalated the situation.

“It was towards the end of everything. They stopped on the bridge and said we were under arrest for illegal assembly and blocked us on both sides, ”he said.

After being taken to the correctional center, Corbin said he and other protesters were held in an overcrowded cell and held for 14 hours without knowing when they would be released.

“They kept telling us that there were computer problems with the system,” he said.

Several people who spoke to 6 News outside the facility on Sunday also said they had difficulty posting bail for those arrested or finding their information on the correction website.

According to Douglas Omaha Technology Commission, the outage also affected systems used by the Omaha Police Department and the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office. The systems had been restored at 4:43 p.m. Sunday, according to the correctional services statement.

Meyers said he hoped the remaining protesters would be released within the next few hours.

Protesters said they were tired but were not giving up on their message on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Most of those arrested were for offenses such as illegal assembly or obstruction of traffic.

According to the arrests records, most of the 118 arrests for offenses committed on Saturday evening in connection with the protests were for illegal gatherings or obstructions to traffic.

Those arrested were between 18 and 54 years old; 61 were women and 57 were men.

According to OPD files, the first person arrested on Saturday evening was registered at 10:24 pm; the last one was booked at 11:12 am Sunday. There was a period when no one was booked – for a period of five hours, from 4:48 a.m. to 8:38 a.m. – which may correspond to the IT issues reported by OPD.

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