The LVMPD Wants You to Know How Great They're Doing:
With great fanfare, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recently announced on their official FaceBook page that they have done an amazing job of reforming their "use of force" policy:
"LVMPD Praised for Use-of-Force Reforms.
See the video: http://youtu.be/ISClT3e_d7c Today, the US Department of Justice released its final assessment of LVMPD's efforts to reduce the number of incidents involving the use of deadly force. 90% of the suggested reforms have been implemented, and efforts are underway to achieve the remaining few. Sheriff Doug Gillespie expressed his thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of this difficult process, which has become a model of reform for other police departments around the country. You will find a copy of the complete report at www.lvmpd.com."
Of course, it could easily be pointed out that it’s really not terribly hard to improve upon a use of force policy that has resulted in exactly zero cases in which a Las Vegas area police officer has been held accountable, in any way whatsoever, for killing an unarmed person, even when that person was completely innocent of any crime, in the 40-year history of the LVMPD.
In fact, the two most recent examples of that use of force policy consist of a case in which Officer Jacquar Roston, who couldn’t distinguish between a hat and a gun, was allowed to remain on the force, despite the recommendation of the Use of Force Board that he be fired, and the case in which Officer Jesus Arevalo, who had mentioned to his wife that he was looking to kill someone while on duty so that he could get some free time off, did just that a few months later by murdering Stanley Gibson, an unarmed, disabled Gulf War veteran suffering from a PTSD induced panic attack while confined and rendered harmless inside his vehicle, which had been blocked in and immobilized by two police cars.
The former resulted in a large portion of the members of that Use of Force Board resigning in disgust over the “hollow, toothless sham” that Sheriff Gillespie’s disregard for their recommendation had exposed the “flawed process” as. In an even worse injustice, the latter case resulted in Jesus Arevalo being given a $30,000 a year lifetime payday (after he did in fact receive the paid vacation he had stated he was hoping to “earn” by shooting someone for just under two years) that I’m sure exceeded even his own wildest dreams as a reward for his actions that even Metro acknowledged were not justified when they “fired” him after stalling long enough to make sure he got all his paperwork in to file for disability based on the stress he was feeling from people saying that he shouldn’t have murdered a completely innocent, unarmed person, who had already been rendered unable to cause harm to anyone.
A “Slightly” Different Take on Metro’s Use of Force Policy
It’s kinda like when the Detroit Lions improved on their winless season in 2008 by winning two games the next year. They certainly got better, but it wasn’t really anything to get that excited about. Similarly, I recently (subsequent to that celebratory announcement mentioned above) received an account of just how much the LVMPD’s use of force policies have actually changed:
"I was at the bus stop on Flamingo just west of Maryland parkway. A car blew through a red light. A cop followed with lights and sirens on. Within 35 seconds, five more cop cars descended on the pulled over and stopped car. Then six cops, guns drawn, one with a fucking shotgun, removed one driver and one passenger, threw them on the hot ground, and cuffed them. Then stand them up. Guns get put away, except for the shotgun. That stayed out and semi pointed the entire time.
Five minutes later, they release the driver, and keep the passenger for TRAFFIC warrants!!!!! They then proceeded to stand around laughing and joking for 20 more minutes...Disgusting. Literally for running a red light, two guys almost died just now. I don't have anymore details than that because I was told to stay back and put away my phone."
Overlooking the fact that the cops have no legal ability to overrule a citizen's First Amendment right to record anything or anyone within a public space, the rather obvious question is if that level of force really is necessary for a non accident traffic infraction, in which not only did the driver comply by pulling over, but the cops obviously didn't even consider it much of an offense, based on the fact that they actually allowed him to leave without even issuing a citation, when they clearly could have done so.
Having a swarm of heavily armed and easily provoked people unnecessarily confront drivers that haven't shown any signs of resisting during a relatively minor violation certainly does seem like a good way of preventing any more blatant use of force incidents. And BTW, Metro is so short of personnel that they are no longer able to respond to the vast majority of traffic accidents until we give them more tax money.
Not surprisingly, people in Las Vegas (especially those in certain neighborhoods) aren't exactly shocked by this type of heavy-handed behavior from cops. And, outside of bragging to their "fans" on FaceBook, the LVMPD doesn't seem terribly concerned about changing that perception in any sort of real way:
"It's sad and maybe a statement about how desensitized I am these days to the guns being drawn, but what bothered me the most was them standing around laughing and joking about it afterwards. It seems to me that they are too far removed from the actual reality they are supposed to be "protecting" and have created this pseudo reality in their own collective self.
So is the public as a whole, so blinded by what they are brought up to believe that they really don't see it? Or, are they just willing to "accept" it as part of what happens, as long as it doesn't happen to them?I have never necessarily been pro-cop, for sure. But, I think I have been among those willing to turn a blind eye to the excessive and overtly hostile tactics they use, until recently. I'm not 100% sure when I changed my outlook, and started really seeing things around me, but I really don't like what I am seeing."
But then, a little friendly propaganda (which the local Fox affiliate can usually be counted on for) never hurts:
"Oh goody. Just saw a commercial on channel 5. They are reporting on Metro and the crime that is on the rise...Hmmm. I bet it is not a report about abuse at the hands of Metro."
However, that does tend to get wiped out by the rather well known and all too common cases of retaliation by employees of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the complicity that local representatives of the "justice" system often play in those acts:
"My friend Chris and I got followed into a parking lot, got out of the car and then got stopped when on foot, walking out of Pizza Hut. For "checking out" the unmarked car the asshole with an ego was driving.
We both ended up being arrested for "warrants". Even though I had proof mine were already recalled.I spent from Friday at 6:30 pm to Sunday at 5am in CCDC "waiting" for them to verify I didn't actually have active warrants. Funny thing is that I still had to go to court to stand in front of a judge, who issued me yet another fine, for "court costs" on something I never should have had to go court for in the first place. When I told him I will not pay the fine, he told me I had 30 days to comply or have
another warrant issued."
Personally, I just can't understand why Metro or any of the other Las Vegas area police departments would have any sort of PR problem within the local communities they "protect and serve." It certainly does seem like the two guys in that car, and I'm sure plenty of others in the neighborhood that day, got served.