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Awakened at park, suspect allegedly tries to stab police officers

Awakened at park, suspect allegedly tries to stab police officers

One officer cut on hand


After being awakened Tuesday by two Grand Island police officers at Pier Park, a 29-year-old man attempted to stab the officers, cutting one of them on the left hand.

Officers contacted Omer Arbab at 12:45 p.m. to check on his welfare after two passersby saw him lying on a picnic table, covered up with a blanket and not moving. “He had moved a picnic table up against the backside of the bathroom,” probably as a windbreak, said Capt. Dean Elliott. “He was sleeping on the picnic table.”

Police say Arbab, who lives in Grand Island, initially refused to provide his name. He then provided his name but refused to give his date of birth. He then grabbed an orange bag and refused to put the bag down.

The officers attempted to detain Arbab, who resisted. Pulling out a three-inch knife, he attempted to stab an officer in the chest, according to the police media report.

The injured officer, John Frankenberg, “had a minor cut across his hand that did not require stitches,” Elliott said. The officer received medical intervention and a tetanus shot.

The officer who approached Arbab initially was Wendy Baumeister. The fact that she is a woman may have played a role in Arbab’s actions, according to Elliott.

“It’s a trend that we’re maybe seeing a little bit more of,” Elliott said. “When you have new immigrants to a community, what we’ve noticed is, especially in the Somalian community, that they have little to no respect for females. It was a female officer that first dealt with him. So that’s something that we’re looking at on our end, because it’s a cultural-type of thing — something that’s coming with them from south Africa.”

When Frankenberg walked up to the suspect, he “started cooperating a little bit more. But then he flat-out started refusing again,” Elliott said.

The struggle began when officers tried to detain him to find his identification, Elliott said.

When the officers tried to place him in handcuffs, he pulled out the knife and “started swinging at the officers,” Elliott said.

Arbab was arrested for obstruction, second-degree assault on a police officer, use of a weapon to commit a felony and resisting arrest.

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