Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the Seeing Red Nebraska substack on October 20, 2023. Please follow us on substack and consider becoming a paid subscriber at $5 per month. We are all unpaid volunteers shining the light on local bullshit in our “spare time”. Every $5 helps us with website fees, research costs, and the occasional delicious cake.
Back in May of this year, Chief Deputy of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Ben Houchin, ran over a 9-year-old girl on her bicycle when he supposedly “took his eyes off the road for a split second to change the radio station”. The child was hospitalized for five days with multiple skull fractures, a brain bleed, a fractured shoulder, an injured knee and road rash on various parts of her body. Chief Deputy Houchin was not charged, and the Lincoln Police Department refused to release the footage from the body cams of the officers who responded to the incident. He was not breathalyzed. Now the mom of the 9-year-old girl has filed a protection order against Chief Deputy Houchin on the grounds that he has been sitting outside of her house and filming her, once going so far as to block her driveway for ten minutes.
This is not the first time Chief Deputy Houchin has been in trouble. Back in the summer of 2020 Chief Deputy Houchin, who at the time was just a Captain, was filmed throwing a woman to the ground by her braids during one of the many peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. A Use of Force complaint was filed against him, and ProPublica included him in their list of cops who used unlawful force during the BLM protests that summer. Instead of being reprimanded or fired for police brutality, Houchin was promoted to Chief Deputy.
The family of the girl he ran over, like the woman he threw to the ground in 2020, is Black. That fact alone should demand an extra layer of scrutiny into Houchin’s actions.
So now Chief Deputy Houchin is harassing the mother of the 9-year-old-child he ran over to the point that she is requesting a protection order. The fact that there is a hearing before the judge issued it is weird. Typically, a judge issues the protection order or denies it and then there is a hearing only if the person who it is filed against requests the hearing. In this case the judge got the request for a harassment protection order and instead of making a decision, they called a hearing. Sounds like special treatment to us. Let us also keep in mind that this Sheriff’s Department is the same department that protected Lancaster County GOP Chair Matt Innis as he stalked, secretly filmed, and sexually assaulted a woman.
We continue to demand accountability and transparency from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the Lincoln Police Department, and the Mayor. Chief Deputy Ben Houchin must be held responsible for his actions. If police officers supposedly “serve and protect”, they should be held to a higher standard, not protected and promoted when they harm and harass the people in their community.