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Fascism Guns OPD

The Upcoming Swap Between Omaha Police and the Definitely Not Nazi Gun Range

On Tuesday, July 19, the Omaha City Council will vote to approve a lengthy consent agenda–that is, a long list of what are meant to be routine, noncontroversial business matters that are grouped together as a single item to streamline meetings. Among the items, #75, is a trade in militarized police gear between the city’s police force and 88 Tactical, a gun business with disturbing Nazi branding and direct ties to the fascist Bolsonaro regime that we have covered extensively.

A memo to the City Council from OPD Chief Todd Schmaderer describes the trade in more detail. The City will give 88 Tactical 28 expired Team Wendy helmets and 28 Armor Express ICW polyethylene rifle plates. In return, 88 Tactical will give Omaha Police 120 Coyote AR magazines, 60 Glock 17 magazines, and 30 orange Glock base plates.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the financials of this swap.

Team Wendy Helmets

The cheaper line of Team Wendy Helmets sells for about $300 each, and they go all the way up to about $1600. So a conservative estimate of the value of the helmets purchased new is $8400. They expire after about 5 years, though the science behind any claim that material such as Kevlar degrades in that span of time is dubious, and helmets can be X-rayed to look for actual damage. Presumably, if 88 Tactical is actually using these helmets for head protection–for whom? why?–they would test them first for damage. Of course, they might be using them for cosplay, distribution to foreign mercenaries, or target practice, you know, as one does.

Armor Express ICW Rifle Plates

The rifle plates (the bulletproof plates you slide into a vest) purchased by the City and headed to 88 Tactical are made of polyethylene and do not appear to be NIJ certified. Further, they are not rated to protect the wearer from one of the most common rounds in the United States, the M855 5.66, which is commonly used with AR-15s. Why were these ever even purchased by OPD? These rifle plates retail for about $400 each and can also be X-rayed for damage. That’s about $11,000 in body armor.

So in total, the new value of the materials OPD is giving to 88 Tactical is at least $19,000–and possibly much higher, depending on helmet model.

Here’s the value of the material 88 Tactical is giving the City:

  • 120 tan Coyote AR magazines @ about $12 each = $1440
  • 60 Glock 17 magazines @ about $15 each = $900
  • 30 Glock base plates at about $7 each = $210

For a grand total of about $2,550 worth of stupid gun shit.

Wow, that is quite a deal for 88 Tactical!

Someone will surely respond to this with an argument that the police equipment was worth less than my estimate. Well, we will never know because it was not sold to the highest bidder–it was packaged up for a special deal with 88 Tactical.

Can we take a moment to reflect on this? 88 Tactical is a private business that is demonstrably in a cozy relationship with an autocratic regime in Brazil. Its Brazilian staff has trained Bolsonaro’s sons and other foreign nationals on such delightful skills as sweeping a house for a target. Why the fuck is the City of Omaha providing this company with militarized equipment to use in its for-profit mercenary aims?

Call to Action

This swap is buried as item #75 in a giant package of consent agenda items, explained in a poorly scanned paper memo that would conveniently not turn up in a full-text search or an open records request.

The public is allowed to comment on the consent agenda, but it will be difficult to stop it at this point, as it will require a majority of council members to change their vote to approve the consent agenda–these things are normally simply approved by the council–and pull it off the consent agenda for future debate and a separate vote.

Please contact your Omaha City Council member and ask them to pull item #75 off the consent agenda–the police should not be equipping a private mercenary company.

District 1: Pete Festersen Phone: 402-444-5527 Email: pete.festersen@cityofomaha.org

District 2: Juanita Johnson Phone: 402-444-5524  Email: juanita.johnson@cityofomaha.org

District 3: Danny Begley Phone: 402-444-5525  Email: danny.begley@cityofomaha.org

District 4: Vinny Palermo Phone: 402-444-5522  Email: vinny.palermo@cityofomaha.org

District 5: Don Rowe Phone: 402-444-5528 Email: don.rowe@cityofomaha.org

District 6: Brinker Harding Phone: 402-444-5523  Email: brinker.harding@cityofomaha.org

District 7: Aimee Melton Phone: 402-444-5526  Email: aimee.melton@cityofomaha.org

Special thanks to Twitter user @BensonErastus for the tip, and to the Instagram user who alerted us to the disparity in financial values in this swap.

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