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Protests erupt in Omaha after police fatally shoot Black man during traffic stop

Omaha police shot and killed Kenneth Jones, 35, during a traffic stop Thursday night.
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Protests erupted in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday and Saturday after city police fatally shot a Black man.

Omaha police killed Kenneth Jones, 35, on Thursday night while responding to a traffic stop.

Police spotted a car with four people inside stopped in the middle of the road without its hazard lights on, they said in statements Friday and Saturday. The two officers involved in the stop, Dan Faulkner and Richard Martier, instructed all the people in the vehicle to put their hands up, police said, citing interviews with the officers and body camera video not reviewed by NBC News. The officers made the command as they walked to the vehicle.

Faulkner and Martier could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

Police said in a statement Friday that the three other passengers complied with the order but that Jones did not and that the officers then used a flashlight to break the car window and open the door closest to Jones, who was not driving.

Police said video shows the two officers "struggling" to get Jones out of the car. Police claimed to have seen a gun on Jones during the struggle and fired four shots at him.

Police did not specify which officer fired the fatal shots and said they would provide more details at a news conference Monday. Police said the officers found a gun "directly underneath" Jones after they shot him.

Police said that after they shot Jones, the officers "yelled for him to show his hands," even though he had fallen to the ground from the shots. Jones was taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he died.

IMAGE: Protest in Omaha
People protest in Omaha, Neb., following the police shooting of Kenneth Jones on Thursday.WOWT

ProBLAC, a progressive Omaha-based group that advocates for racial justice, condemned the killing in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday, saying "there is no probable cause for him to have been asked to exit the vehicle."

People gathered outside police headquarters Friday and Saturday night to protest the killing.

Peyton Zyla, an organizer with ProBLAC, told the Omaha World-Herald that "until [police] prove that they didn't murder a Black man, we're not shutting up — not one bit."

Police declared both protests "unlawful assemblies." On Friday, they arrested a protester for "assault of an officer" after he was alleged to have shined a "laser light" on an officer's face, and they said they made similar arrests for "assault" Saturday.

Protesters told the World-Herald that they had to go to the hospital after having been "maced" and struck by police.