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Reality Check

Omaha cops accidentally kill Cops crew member

On Tuesday night, a sound supervisor for the reality TV show Cops was shot dead by Omaha, Nebraska, police officers, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday. Bryce Dion, 38, and another Cops crew member were riding along with two officers to film a police intervention in a reported robbery at a Wendy's. When the officers opened fire at the suspect, Dion was caught in the cross-fire and a bullet hit him through an opening in his protective vest.

Schmaderer said inferences that the officers were acting macho for the camera are "absolutely ridiculous," and said his men appeared to have acted professionally and followed police protocol. All three are on paid administrative leave while the incident is reviewed. The slain suspect, Cortez Washington, 32, had fired what appeared to be a handgun at the officers first, witnesses in the restaurant say; after Washington was dead, the police discovered he was carrying a pellet gun.

"I can tell you that nobody wanted Bryce to get hurt. Nobody wanted anybody to get hurt," Schmaderer said at the news conference. "Police work is very dangerous and very chaotic. When you're reporting police work and riding along with us, unfortunately, you subject yourself to that same level of violence that Omaha police officers do every day."

According to the organization Officer Down Memorial Page, 24 Omaha police officers have died in the line of duty since 1866, 19 of them killed by gunfire. The last police officer killed was Sgt. Jason "Tye" Pratt in 2003. Dion is the first Cops crew member killed during filming since the show began airing in 1989.