The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 05, 1994, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Inside Monday
■ Nebraska volleyball advances to NCAA reglonals, Page 7
Arts and Entertainment
■ Santa Claus really is a baker, Page 9
PAGE 2: Violence erupts at Swedish disco
December 5, 1994
bring mixed
By Brian Sharp
Senior Reporter
Lincoln's Hispanic community has been
told to have faith in the system following the
death of Francisco Renteria, Jose Soto said.
Now it must have faith that the system
worked by returning four indictments, said
Soto, a community spokesman.
But at the same time, he said, the commu
nity is being told by the indicted and their law
yers that the system has failed.
Soto is the director of affirmative action at
Southeast Community College and has worked
closely with the family of Francisco Renteria,
who died Oct. 1 after a struggle with police.
Thursday, a grand jury indicted Lincoln
Police Chief Tom Casady, officers Luke Wilke
and Stephen Schellpeper and Lincoln fire Capt.
Danny Wright.
Casady and Wilke will plead innocent to
the charges when they are arraigned in court
today, their lawyers said. Wright could not be
reached for comment. Schellpeper, who is out
of town on vacation, will be arraigned Dec.
Casady read from a prepared statement at a
Friday press conference, but answered no ques
tions on the advice of his lawyer. Casady was
indicted for official misconduct related to the
investigation, a misdemeanor charge punish
able by a maximum six months in prison and
$1,000 fine.
“I want my colleagues, family and the citi
zens of Lincoln to know that I am absolutely
innocent of this charge,” Casady said.
“1 have committed no crime, violated no
law, abridged no ethical or moral obligation,”
he said. “I have made every diligent effort to
support the quest for justice in this case.”
But Soto saw things differently.
“(Casady) has asked us to trust the system,
to have confidence in the system,” Soto said.
“Now that he has been indicted, 1 find it some
what ironic that he seems to be the one to not
have trust or confidence in the grand-jury sys
Jane Burke, one of Wilke’s lawyers, said
Friday the grand-jury system was “not accept
able” and that the indictments for third-degree
assault were a “politically correct solution as a
result of the media coverage” surrounding the
“The politically correct solution was to find
a sacrificial lamb,” she said.
Burke and co-counsel John Stevens Berry
said the indictments did not specify, and they
didn’t know, what acts constituted the charge.
“These were officers who acted by the
book,” Berry said. “They acted in the way that
the citizens of Lincoln expect them to act.”
The indictments have damaged the officer’s
reputations, Berry said, and the secrecy of the
hearings only feeds the public doubt.
“I don’t have a great deal of faith in the
Bittersweet tears
\ Marla Vtga, cantor, wlpas har aya whlla standing with Francisco Renteria’s brothars and slstars at a prass
confaranca at Haymarkat Square Friday evening.
Police chief, officer to be arraigned today
Prosecutor explains incident
as many express anger
over misdemeanor charges
By Matthew Waite^
Senior Reporter
Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady and two
other men indicted in the death of Francisco
Renteria will be arraigned this morning in
Lancaster County District Court.
Casady, Danny Wright and Luke Wilke are
scheduled to appear before Judge Donald
Endacott to enter pleas to misdemeanor charges
ranging from assault to misconduct.
On Friday, Robert Battle, special prosecu
tor in the case, announced the indictments of
four officials involved in the Oct. 1 death of
The fourth man, Lincoln Police Officer
Stephen Schellpeper, is out of the state and will
not be arraigned until Dec. 13.
Details on the indictments were as follows:
• Schellpeper—one count of third-degree
assault stemming from his actions in arrest
ing Renteria.
• Mike — one count of third-degree as
sault stemming from his actions in arresting
• Wright — one count of official miscon
duct and one count of abuse of public record
for failing to render immediate medical ser
vices to Renteria.
• Casady — one count of official miscon
duct for failing to investigate suspects in an
impartial manner, failing to prepare and file
reports of information in the investigations in
a timely manner and failing to disclose infor
mation to the special prosecutor.
The indictments came from a 19-member
grand jury that investigated the incident for
12 days.
The assault charges are Class I misdemean
ors, which carry a maximum penalty of one
year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The misconduct
charges are Class II misdemeanors, which
carry a maximum of six months in jail and
$1,000 fine.
Some people attending the press conference
expressed anger that the charges were only
“How much did they pay you!” one mem
ber of the audience yelled at Bartle, “I lost a
friend, and you give them misdemeanors?
“It’s another cover-up! You screwed up
again, didn’t you? Did you do this to please
us? You did not please us!”
Bartle responded calmly to the accusations
and said his job was not to charge. He said the
grand jury’s job was to investigate the inci
dent and charge those involved if probable
cause was found.
Mayor Mike Johanns said Friday he would
wait for the trial to finish before making any
decisions regarding removal of the four in
dicted men.
Johanns expressed sympathy for all who
were involved in the case — the Renteria fam
ily and theunvolved city employees. He pleaded
for calm in the community Friday.
People are innocent until proven guilty,
Johanns said, and the community must remem
ber that.
Casady was put on administrative leave at
his own request until the trial finishes, Johanns
said. Assistant Police Chief Jim Baird has as
sumed Casady’s duties.
The other indicted men also were placed
on administrative leave.
Johanns, who picked Casady as chief of
police in 1993, said he would not speculate on
Casady’s future on the force. He said, how
ever, that the chief, unlike the other officers,
could be removed immediately at the mayor’s
For the more than 70 people who attended
his press conference, Bartle revealed more in
formation about the night Renteria died.
Officer Charlotte Veskma of the University
Police, who was not indicted, first contacted
Renteria. She mistook him as a man violating
a protection order.
Creighton professor defends report in engineering debate
By Mattlww Walt*
Senior Reporter
The author of a report evaluating the cost
effectiveness of a separate engineering college
at UNO said this weekend he acted indepen
dently in writing the paper.
Robert F. Allen, a profes
sor of economics at
Creighton University, said
he did the report because
no one was questioning the
need for expanding engi
neering education in the
state. Rather, the debate
has focused on the Univer
sity of Nebraska at
Omaha’s needs, he said.
The report was titled “Expanding Engineer
ing Education in Nebraska: A Cost Effective
ness Analysis.” It said a separate college in
Omaha would be cost effective only if the state
spent less than $4.5 million on expanded edu
To be cost effective, the report said, all build
ings for a separate college, operational and
equipment costs would have to be financed by
private interests.
Also, the report said, the Omaha area would
have to see engineering employment growth.
Allen said the debate should focus on the
amount of need for expanded education and a
low-cost solution to meet that need.
Regent Rosemary Skrupa of Omaha said
Wednesday she questioned the balance of the
report. She said Allen failed to talk with engi
neering faculty at UNO for his report.
But Allen said he did not go to any engi
neering faculty at UNO or University of Ne
braska-Lincoln because he did not need their
input. He said he went to Stan Liberty, dean of
the College of Engineering and Technology,
for some information on cost estimates, not
Skrupa also asked Tuesday if Creighton was
getting involved in the debate about the sepa
rate college. The report contained a cover let
ter printed on CU letterhead.
Allen said CU was not involved in the is
sue. He used the letterhead because he is a pro
fessor there.
The report was a research project, and he
said he disseminated the report as a CU fac
ulty member.
Allen agreed with Skrupa that the report
was just one man’s opinion. But, he said, it
was more than an opinion, it was an analysis
of the facts.
“This is an important issue confronting the
state, to the taxpayers of the state" he said.
The report does not take a position on the
issue, Alien said. It just lays out data and
projects the costs for expanded education, he
A former employee of UNL, Allen said that
did not affect the outcome of his report. UNL
human resources records shows Allen was a
professor of economics at UNL and left the
university in December 1979.
Liberty said Allen called for information but
had no ties to the engineering college.
Liberty said he had seen a copy of the re
port but did not read it carefully — only look
ing at the conclusions and methodology.