A judge took note Monday of the fact that Micah Taylor initially claimed that he didn’t know that the man approaching his car was an Omaha police officer during a traffic stop last year.
Judge Thomas Otepka also noted that Taylor later confessed that he did spot Omaha Police Officer Dave Staskiewicz’s uniform but that the rest — including the officer opening fire on Taylor — was a blur.
And finally, Otepka noted all the pain that Staskiewicz has undergone since he was dragged after the March 8, 2018, traffic stop along U.S. Highway 75 near Lake Street in northeast Omaha.
Staskiewicz, a 20-year Omaha police veteran, had hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He also has suffered from chronic back problems.
Otepka said all of that factored into his sentence for Taylor: 31 to 52 years in prison. The sentence means that Taylor, 22, must serve 15½ years before he is eligible for parole; absent parole, he must serve 26 years in prison.
“All of this just didn’t result in a spectacular scene,” Otepka said. “It resulted in permanent (injuries) to the officer.”
Outside court, Staskiewicz declined to comment. He is back on duty but has had to go through physical therapy several times a week.
John Pappan, a Native American activist and Taylor’s uncle, said the sentence was too harsh.
The Omaha police gang unit had been conducting surveillance and had spotted Taylor during a drug deal. At the time of the traffic stop, Taylor also had an outstanding warrant on strangulation and witness tampering charges in Sarpy County.
After Staskiewicz pulled over Taylor’s Toyota Camry, a struggle ensued, and police say Staskiewicz eventually stepped back and unholstered his firearm. Taylor then drove forward, which resulted in Staskiewicz being pulled alongside the vehicle. Staskiewicz fired three rounds as he was being dragged, police say, and fell to the ground.
One bullet hit Taylor in the neck, but he was not severely injured.
Omaha police chased Taylor south on U.S. Highway 75 until stop sticks caused him to lose control and crash just south of L Street.