A man under arrest for cutting an Omaha Police officer could be in the country illegally, ICE officials say

UPDATED 6:43 PM CDT Mar 22, 2016
By Camila Orti

OMAHA, Neb. —An Omaha police officer was cut with a knife Monday morning while attempting to arrest a man, authorities said.

"Something as seemingly simple as towing a vehicle can turn into a potential life-threatening situation for a police officer," Omaha Police Officers Association Sgt. John Wells said.

That’s exactly what happened around 10:45 a.m. Monday, when an officer was towing a vehicle near 22nd and I streets. Police reports say 32-year-old Isaias Cortez-Garcia came out of an apartment and became combative with the officer.

The officer called for additional units.

"We look out the window and this whole street is full of cops. There were like 10 cops here," said Kailey Edelman, who lives across the street.

After trying to run back into the apartment, Cortez-Garcia cut one of the assisting officers with a knife, police said. Officers deployed a Taser on Cortez-Garcia and arrested him.

Police said they found methamphetamine on Cortez-Garcia.

Cortez-Garcia was booked for possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest with a weapon and assault on an officer.

The officer was treated for his injuries and released.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office filed a detainer on Cortez-Garcia, who didn't have a driver's license listed on the report. They have yet to determine whether he's an illegal immigrant.

"I just hope that he's dealt with appropriately and they don't give him a low bond and he just disappears into the wind," Wells said. "Which seems to have been the case recently."

Wells said it's getting more difficult for local law enforcement to get ICE's attention. He brought up as an example Eswin Mejia, who has been on the run since he bonded out of jail in February. Mejia was charged with drunken driving and killing 21-year-old Sarah Root.

Cortez-Garcia has no other criminal history in Douglas County and is awaiting his first court appearance. He has an outstanding warrant in Sarpy County for failure to appear in court after he was charged with fishing without a permit back in 2014.

ICE officials told KETV NewsWatch 7 that they can't run Cortez-Garcia through their database until he's in their custody. That will happen after he goes through the justice system in Douglas County.

Cortez-Garcia is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.