Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder Scheduled for Today

dandre-berghardt-murder-videoAt 9:00 AM this morning (March 2, 2015), the Clark County District Attorney’s office will be conducting a “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” for the murder of D’andre Berghardt Jr., who was shot to death by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents on February 14, 2014 after he asked passersby near Red Rock Canyon (just outside Las Vegas) for water and some of them called to report that he may need assistance. Those BLM agents, along with a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper,  subsequently showed up and instead of offering assistance (or simply leaving him alone if he refused assistance), began to antagonize, pepper spray, taze, and beat Berghardt.

Not surprisingly, Berghardt attempted to get away from the people that were assaulting him and tried unsuccessfully to get into several nearby cars. Unfortunately, when he did finally find a vehicle that he could get into, it ended up being NHP Trooper Lucas Schwarzrock’s SUV. That prompted the two (unnamed) BLM agents to shoot and kill Berghardt, presumably because they were afraid that he would use the rifle that was locked up (according to the BLM’s own official statement) inside the trooper’s passenger seat.

Although a video (which is embedded below), taken by two people that witnessed the incident from their car while stopped on the road, surfaced within a few days of the shooting, there actually should be another video that would show a much better view of what happened that day. Unlike the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police, Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles have dash cams. That video has never been released, nor has any explanation ever been offered for it not being released. It’ll be interesting to see if that will be included in the presentation or, at the very least, if some sort of excuse for it’s lack of availability will be given.

In spite of it’s Orwellian name, the “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” is, in reality, designed to do anything but provide facts to the public. It was created after the LVMPD and Police Protective Association were unable to have reforms to the old Coroner’s Inquest overturned via lawsuits. The much maligned original Coroner’s Inquest had functioned as a rubber stamp process of automatically justifying police shootings for about 40 years. In spite of the proposed reforms standing up to those legal challenges and being declared constitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court, the entire process was scrapped in favor of this newer version that is even worse and less transparent than the Coroner’s Inquests had ever been.D'andre Berghardt Jr

Basically, the new method of rubber stamping police shootings consists of the District Attorney declaring (every single time) that the killing was justified, then having someone present to the public the police version of events without any cross examination, witness testimony, presentation of evidence, or impartial representation. It essentially is designed in order to facilitate an official, institutionalized coverup, with very little opportunity for the public to question the official story they are being fed. You couldn’t ask for a much better opportunity to hide the truth and bury facts while advancing the official narrative. Nor could you more effectively sow mistrust and hostility within the communities that are effected by these killings, which historically have never resulted in any sort of accountability, regardless of how questionable they have been and whether the victims of the LVMPD’s trigger happy cops were completely innocent and/or unarmed.

Details for Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder:

Via www.clarkcountynv.gov

The Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review into the February 2014 death of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. will be held Monday, March 2, at 9 a.m. in the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. The review will be aired live on Clark County Television (CCTV) and streamed over the County Internet site at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov.

According to reports, Berghardt was shot and killed during a confrontation with law enforcement officers on state Route 159 near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The review of this incident will be presided over by Hearing Officer Chip Siegel. Mark Bailus will serve as ombudsman for the review. Both are longtime criminal defense attorneys in the community. Presiding officers and ombudsmen are selected by the county manager from lists approved by the County Commission. The ombudsman represents the public and the deceased’s family in this fact-finding review.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Staudaher will represent the District Attorney’s Office in this proceeding.

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Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas – Feb. 26, 2015 (Update)

Insert Coins Condones Violent BouncersThe following press release is being issued by Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, and the Sunset Activist Collective in regards to an event being held in response to a Feb. 12, 2015 incident, in which a man was beaten by security guards employed by Insert Coins on the public sidewalk in front of their business on Fremont Street, in Las Vegas. The egregious nature of that incident, as well as the continued refusal to address the actions

Insert Coins Protest

You Can’t Wash Away the Truth

of their security staff by the management of Insert Coins, has and will continue to prompt actions to bring attention to this incident for as long as is necessary.

You can view the original story about Insert Coins’ overly aggressive and violent bouncers and the condoning of that behavior by Insert Coins owner ,Chris Laporte, here and you can watch the video of them beating a man while he is already lying on the ground defenseless here. The Facebook invite page for this event can be found here. Join us and bring your dancing shoes.
Dance Dance Revolution at Insert Coins

It’s the Real Dance, Dance Revolution!

8:30 PM Thursday, February 26th
On the public sidewalk in front of Insert Coin(s) – Located at 512 E. Fremont St.

This is no game, but we know how to have fun with a serious matter. Since word spread about the homeless man getting beat up outside Insert Coin(s) by security (full story and link to video are included below), word of a potential dance protest has also spread and this Thursday, Insert Coin(s) is holding a weekly “futurefunk” show where the flyer states “Dancers Welcome.” Dancing is surely being encouraged. So it is time. Bring your dance moves, no need to be a good dancer or even have any experience. We can dance if we want to, on the public sidewalk outside their property, without having to fear that their bouncers will beat us.

Our goals are for Insert Coin(s) to:
1) Terminate those responsible for brutality perpetrated on a member of the community.
2) Formal apology to the brutalized party
3) Drop the charges against the brutalized party
4) Formal retraction of defamation against the injuries party for wrongful, unsubstantiated accusations of misconduct.

As well as for the general public including the downtown community:
5) To be able to walk, dance, stand or sit on public sidewalks without fear of retribution, retaliation or brutality.

Backstory:

Recently, an unidentified (at this point) man was beaten and then choked while he was already on the ground by security guards working for Insert Coins outside the bar on the public sidewalk. Although it doesn’t show what happened immediately before on the public video, it’s been reported that the security guard involved in the beating was the instigator, based on the surveillance tape.

Regardless of whatever might have happened beforehand, beating and choking someone after they are already on the ground and rendered defenseless by three bouncers is wrong and it is pretty clear that that is what is happening in the video. Further, a fourth bouncer attempted to prevent a witness from recording the assault. later a fifth bouncer, who actually works for the Griffin (across the street), took that witnesses phone away from him, broke it, and assaulted him as well, in order to keep it from being recorded.

Finally, an officer from the LVMPD, who was responding to the call, refused to talk to the witness, view the video he told him he had, or in any way try to discern what had happened. Instead he told that witness to “get the f@!! out of here!” and arrested the person that had been beaten.

YouTube Description from attorney Stephen Stubbs:
“On the evening of February 12, 2015, A man (who appeared to be homeless and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol) was dancing on the sidewalk in front of Insert Coins on Fremont Street.

Security guards were yelling at him to leave and the dancing man ignored them (continued dancing). When the Security guards taunted the dancing man to attack them, my client (who does not wish to come forward with his identity) took out his phone and started recording.

A security guard attacked the dancing man, beat him up and continued to choke and beat him even after he was lying motionless on the ground. A plain closed security guard tried to obstruct my client from videotaping the incident and even physically pushed him away.

A security guard from the Griffin on Fremont then crossed the street, attacked my client, grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground (destroying it).

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Security on Fremont St. Beat Man Then Obstruct, Assault, and Threaten Witness (Updates)

Insert Coin Security Fremont Street BeatingThis video, which was just posted on Stephen Stubbs’ YouTube channel, was received via the NVCopBlock.org post submission page. As is detailed in the video description (quoted below) on YouTube, this shows security guards employed by “Insert Coins,” a bar on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, unnecessarily beating a man on the sidewalk in front of the business.

**NOTE**

This is a developing story and there have been several updates and new developements, since it was originally posted. Those updates have been (and will continue to be) added at the bottom, below the video.

Although public sidewalks aren’t actually owned by the private businesses near them (there does seem to be some confusion about that throughout Las Vegas), the video doesn’t show what happened right before the security guards assault the man. So, without arguing about the validity of their initial actions (even though I’ve been told that the bouncers instigated the incident – see updates below the post), once the man is down he is clearly not a threat to three large bouncers, while already restrained on the ground. There’s no reason whatsoever to continue choking and hitting someone in that situation.

What’s even more telling is the fact that another security guard from the Vanguard Lounge, which is next door to Insert Coins, realizes someone is filming and does his best to obscure what is happening as they continue beating the man for almost a full minute on the video. Beyond that, we don’t actually know what happens to the man being attacked or for exactly how long. That’s because a different security guard from the Beauty Bar Griffin (see updates below for explanation of correction), another bar located on Fremont St, comes across the street, steals and then breaks the witness’ phone, and reportedly assaults him, as well.

Furthermore, the witness states that he waited for the police to show up in order to provide evidence of what happened. Instead of conducting an investigation and talking with a potential witness, the Metro officer that responded ordered him to “Get the f@!! out of here.” In theory, cops themselves are supposed to be impartial mediators that gather evidence and determine if there is sufficient cause to believe a crime may have been committed not someone that personally decides the guilt or innocence of those involved in a dispute. Turning away an independent witness with video evidence of exactly what transpired and who himself may have been assaulted by someone involved with the incident shows a clear bias and lack of any desire to act as such.

From the YouTube video description:

On the evening of February 12, 2015, A man (who appeared to be homeless and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol) was dancing on the sidewalk in front of Insert Coins on Fremont Street.

Security guards were yelling at him to leave and the dancing man ignored them (continued dancing). When the Security guards taunted the dancing man to attack them, my client (who does not wish to come forward with his identity) took out his phone and started recording.

A security guard attacked the dancing man, beat him up and continued to choke and beat him even after he was lying motionless on the ground. A plain closed security guard tried to obstruct my client from videotaping the incident and even physically pushed him away.

A security guard from the Beauty Bar on Fremont then crossed the street, attacked my client, grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground (destroying it).

My client waited for the police, tried to make a statement and told LVMPD that he had video. A LVMPD Officer ordered him to “Get the f@!! out of here. This doesn’t concern you”. My client left (fearing that he would be arrested) and contacted me.

 

**UPDATES AND CORRECTION**

There are several updates to this post since it was originally written:

Insert Coins Twitter Response

Don’t believe your lyin eyes

First, it has been determined that while the bouncer (who shows up at the very end of the video) responsible for breaking the witnesses phone and allegedly assaulting him did come from the direction of the Beauty Bar, he actually works for the Griffin, which is next door to the Beauty Bar and directly across the street from Insert Coins. That has been corrected within the original post.

Second, the Owner of Insert Coins, Chris LaPorte, has issued several statements, via Facebook and Twitter, responding to the incident. They’re pretty bad in general and even embarrassingly so, in the case of the one on Twitter. In response to a tweet by SNWatchdogs (an awesome local group that, as the name implies, works to expose corruption) including a link to the video, using the Insert Coins account he states that people shouldn’t “believe what you see,” because apparently the “whole story” is somehow going to counteract what everyone can, in fact, pretty clearly see on the video. Regardless of what might have happened just prior, once someone is down on the ground and not fighting or resisting in any way beating and choking them isn’t justified:

@SNWatchdogs Get the whole story before believing what you see. @ChrisOfCoins – Owner Insert Coin(s) chris@insertcoinslv.com #Vegas #DTLV

The Facebook post is more along the lines of I support my guys, Stephen Stubbs is a dirty liar and I have video that shows they did nothing wrong while beating that guy that was lying on the ground defenseless, then interfering with a witness who was well within his rights to record what was happening, and it’s rude to point:

I would like to point out to those questioning my security staff’s professionalism at Insert Coin(s) that any allegation of wrong doing is inherently false and while a video is floating around the internet about a violent takedown by way of a Stephen Stubbs it can easily be proved misleading with surveillance camera footage currently being reviewed by Metro. I stand by my staff and ask those to think twice before pointing fingers at my team. Thank you. – Chris LaPorte via Facebook

Finally, Stephen Stubbs posted this statement as an update to Facebook after meeting with Chris LaPorte and viewing this magical video (which includes the clarification of the identity of the bouncer responsible for breaking the witness’ phone). Apparently, after watching the video and getting the “whole story,” he still believes what he saw:

On the evening of February 14, 2015, I met with Chris [owner of Insert Coin(s)] at his establishment. We went upstairs and he showed me the security footage. It was clear from the video that the Insert Coin(s) security guard instigated the physical contact on the public sidewalk. The security guard push the homeless man, pushed him again, and then shoved him violently to the ground.

The security guard had a tiny 1/8 inch scratch under his eye (I saw the picture) and he claims the tiny scratch is the result of the homeless man punching him (again, the security camera doesn’t show that punch).

Also, the security guard that assaulted the cameraman and destroyed his phone works for The Griffin on Fremont Street (he approached from in front of the Beauty Bar but is in no way connected to the Beauty Bar).

***MORE UPDATES***

Protest Staged

Last night (February 16, 2015), members of Nevada Cop Block and SNWatchdogs staged a public protest, which included chalking and making the video available for passersby to view, on Fremont Street in front of Insert Coin(s) and the Griffin to bring attention to this incident. Below are some pictures from the protest (click the thumbnails for full size):
Insert Coins ProtestInsert Coins Protest2Insert Coins Protest3Insert Coins Protest4Insert Coins Protest6Insert Coins Protest5

Bouncer Who Broke Phone Fired by the Griffin

Griffin Bouncer UpdateThe next day (February 17 2015), I received information that the Griffin had contacted Stephen Stubbs, who is representing the man whose phone was broken while he filmed the incident. They stated that they had fired the bouncer that broke the phone and that they also would be replacing the damaged phone (via Stephen Stubbs’ FaceBook page):

Update on the unfortunate February 12, 2015 incident in front of Insert Coins:

I just received a call from The Griffin Bar. The security staff member that left his station and destroyed the cell phone of the person taking the video has been fired for violating policy. The Griffin Bar made it clear that his actions do not represent what they stand for, and they took care of the situation. The Griffin Bar is also replacing the destroyed phone.

As far as I’m concerned, The Griffin Bar has done everything that they could do to make up for the situation. Their staff did not participate in the beating and I am glad that they stepped up to take care of things. I consider the matter against The Griffin Bar to be closed.

Please like and share to spread the word. I think they should get props for this. No bar can 100% control their employees and they acted swiftly.

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