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No “More Cops” for the LVMPD. They Aren’t Needed and They Aren’t Wanted.

DSC05906 300x177 No More Cops for the LVMPD. They Arent Needed and They Arent Wanted.

Metro displaying just how shorthanded they are on Fremont Street. (Notice the massive, unruly crowd being held back behind them.)

This was received via submission after originally being posted at the website of the Sunset Activist Collective.

Once again, Sheriff Gillespie and County Commissioner Tom Collins are trying to push the “More Cops” sales tax down the throats of the people of Las Vegas to fill the self-inflicted gaps in Metro’s already bloated budget and hire even more cops to harass and abuse the members of that very community.

Yet another sales tax is wrong from a practical standpoint in a time when the Las Vegas economy consistently ranks at or near the bottom in every financial category and most local residents are already just barely hanging on. By nature, sales taxes are regressive. Unlike wealthy people that have the capability of stashing most of their income in the bank, poor people generally have to spend most, if not all, of their money on the basic necessities of life. It’s not a coincidence that crime rates have increased as the economy has tanked. People that have little or no other options resort to whatever they have to do to survive. Taking even more from people that are already struggling just to keep their head above water is not the way to “take a bite out of crime.” It’s an unarguable fact that poverty leads to even more crime.

Beyond the basic economics it’s wrong on an ethical level to expect poor residents to fund their own abuse at the hands of the LVMPD. People in poor and/or minority neighborhoods are routinely stopped, searched, abused, and humiliated by the police. In fact, Metro employs several “saturation units,” whose stated function is to descend upon certain neighborhoods en masse seeking any excuse they can to stop, interrogate, and arrest residents of that community. And those many, many abuses don’t end with harassment and wrongful arrests, either. The victims of police beatings and outright murder are predominantly members of the DSC06112c zps2a040cf2 No More Cops for the LVMPD. They Arent Needed and They Arent Wanted.poor/ minority classes.

Not surprisingly, it has also been explicitly stated that these “select’ neighborhoods don’t include the ones in Summerlin. Many of the proponents of the “More Cops” tax increase are, in fact, residents of Summerlin and other wealthy neighborhoods, who have expressed the desire to have a cop in their neighborhood because it makes them feel safe. I have very little doubt that the residents of poor neighborhoods would have no qualms about letting them have some of the cops terrorizing their neighborhoods. They rarely make them feel safe, especially within the Las Vegas area, since there is absolutely no hope that any sort of accountability will ever be imposed upon the perpetrators of injustices against them.

Metro isn’t short on cops, they’re short on priorities. Anyone who has witnessed the massive East German style check point erected on Fremont St. every First Friday or the continual harassment of water vendors and buskers on the Strip, both of whom are just trying to earn a living during tough economic times, would have to question the claims of personnel shortages within the LVMPD. When you can afford to employ undercover cops to ensure tourists don’t have the chance to buy water at a cheaper price than the casinos sell it, then maybe you have a few people to spare for other things. Perhaps those plain clothes cops using official Metro vehicles to escort Zappos employees to their parking garage so they don’t have to look at poor people along the way, could be better utilized, as well.

Gillespie and the rest of his mafia dons have expended their budget on raises for an already overpaid police force, shiny new headquarters buildings that they insisted on pushing forward with in the middle of the worst recession in history, and million dollar settlements to the victims of their abuses and murders. Now they want the poorest people within this community to bail them out so that they can hire more cops even while absolutely refusing to do anything to hold them responsible for the crimes they continue to commit against their own neighbors and families.

Just say NO to more thugs!

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation

ChalkThePoliceState 29a 300x127 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments’ Pathetic History of “Accountability”

A Community in Fear

Not too long ago I attended a meeting of the Clark County Commissioners concerning a vote over the process that would be adopted to address shootings by Las Vegas area police. Prior to the vote that eventually happened (after all the important stuff like giving a certificate to a group from a retirement home whose most lauded act was alerting neighbors if they forgot to close their garage door), members of the community were allowed to address the commissioners regarding the issue.

One speaker after another stepped to the microphone and it wasn’t long at all before a common theme began to develop. Statements such as, “I’m afraid of what will happen if I call the police,” “I would never call the police even if I was in real danger because I’m scared more of them,” and “I don’t trust them not to kill someone if I call them for help” were recited over and over again throughout the session. These fears were often accompanied by personal examples of negative experiences resulting from interactions with Las Vegas area police, including several from the families of people that actually had been killed by the police.

Legitimate Reasons to be Afraid

ChalkThePoliceState 1a 300x167 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY “punishment” is paid leave.

Obviously, every time the police respond to a call they don’t kill or otherwise abuse the people they encounter, even in Las Vegas. However, it happens often enough to instill the sort of fear and hatred toward them that was on public display during the commissioners’ meeting that day. The problem is that people within the community know that should something happen to them or one of their loved ones at the hands of a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department they have very little hope of that cop ever being held accountable for their actions. They don’t know that the cop responding wants to kill them, but they do know that if they do they will get away with it.

The bigger problem is that members of Las Vegas area police departments also know this. Jesus Arevalo told his then-wife that he wanted to shoot someone so that he could get free time off, based on the policy of placing cops on paid leave during investigations. Within a couple of months after that statement, Stanley Gibson, an unarmed, disabled Persian Gulf veteran suffering from a PTSD induced panic attack and in no way representing a threat to anyone was murdered by Jesus Arevalo. Those seven unnecessary shots fired from Ofc. Arevalo’s AR-15 were the ticket to what is fast approaching two full years of the paid vacation that he had indicated he was hoping for. No charges were ever brought against him for his actions, which even other police on the scene characterized as unexplainable in their official statement to the detectives subsequently going through the motions of an investigation. At worst, Arevalo might possibly be punished by being fired.

A Long History of Corruption and Violence

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The Biggest Gang in Las Vegas

Throughout their history, the LVMPD has consistently rated among the highest statistically nationwide (even when compared against cities with much higher populations) in times they have shot at people while on duty and in the level of fatalities resulting from those shootings. Stanley Gibson was just one of the latest names in the laundry list of the victims of Las Vegas police that includes Erik Scott (whose murderers were later given an award for bravery while gunning down someone from behind and then unloading their guns on him as he lay already dying on the ground), Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, Tanner ChamberlainDeshira Selimaj, and Henry Rowe, among the 150+ shootings just since 1990.

Yet not one singular time in the close to forty year history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a Las Vegas area police officer ever been charged for shooting someone, regardless of whether the person shot was unarmed or even completely innocent of having committed any actual crime. One rather telling fact is that the reason the old Las Vegas city police was originally merged with the Clark County Sheriff department to create “Metro” was in response to an uproar after a very questionable shooting that was ruled justifiable. Yet, no matter how questionable the many shootings by Metro have been, the justifications have continued unabated.

An Absolute Refusal to Hold ANYONE Accountable

ChalkThePoliceState 12 300x143 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

Finally someone within the Las Vegas police system has made some sort of stand for justice, but will it actually matter?

A recent incident has shined a very public spotlight on the reasons why it is so impossible to hold anyone  within the LVMPD accountable for their actions. In one of the most questionable shootings ever Officer Jacquar Roston claimed to have confused a hat Lawrence Gordon was wearing for a gun and shot him in the leg as he sat in a car. As would be expected of anybody with even half a brain, Metro’s internal Use of Force Review Board didn’t really accept that excuse and recommended that Roston be fired  as a result.

The fact that this recommendation was hailed as an “unprecedented” act by the board tells you a lot about the past history of the Las Vegas police in relation to officer involved shootings. The fact that Sheriff Gillespie promptly disregarded that recommendation in favor of a one week unpaid suspension (after Roston had already spent 8 months on paid vacation during the investigation) tells you a lot about the prospects for any sort of accountability for them in the near future.

However, in one glimmer of hope for some sort of prospect for justice, seven members of the board did actually have the integrity to stand up and resign in disgust after Gillespie’s disgraceful action. One former member of the board, Glenn Rinehimer, stated that previously the board had been “stacked” with retired police officers from other parts of the country designated as civilians. According to Rinehimer, they didn’t seem in any hurry to actually investigate whether shootings were justified. “The retired police just didn’t seem interested,” Rinehimer said. “They didn’t ask a lot of questions. They voted quickly for it to be justified.”

Robert Martinez, a co-chair of the board who also resigned, had previously expressed hope that this sort of rubber stamping had ended once former police employees and their family members were banned from being appointed as civilians on the board last year. He believed that Metro truly desired a fair and transparent process. That is until Gillespie essentially exonerated Roston despite the board’s unanimous recommendation. “I was thoroughly fooled,” Martinez said. “I thought it was going to change and it isn’t.” Within his resignation letter Martinez characterized the process as a flawed one that undermined the Use of Force Review Board.

Gillespie 300x200 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

Sheriff Gillespie announcing that the final week of Roston’s 8 month vacation will be unpaid.

Former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody, who submitted for retirement in response to this case, agreed that Gillespie was undermining the credibility of the board even as Metro faces increasing scrutiny over questionable shootings and other scandals that are becoming hard to even keep up with lately. Las Vegas police officers will not have the public’s trust until the department has a credible process for reviewing its own shootings, Moody stated. And that process must be stable, impartial, unbiased and free from political interference. “Anything short of that is going to fuel further suspicion and mistrust and is just begging for the imposition of externally imposed oversight,” he said. “Nobody wants that. We can be better than that.”

Rinehimer went even further in his assessment of the problems with a system that is in practice designed to ensure no cop is ever held accountable. Rinehimer said the sheriff’s decision to overturn the Use of Force Review Board’s recommendation doesn’t set a good precedent, especially for officers who find themselves in similar situations in the future. “At the end of the day, the officer might be sitting there smiling, knowing the sheriff might not fire him anyway,” Rinehimer said. “It’s a farce.”

A Lack of Accountability that is Not Good for Anyone, Even the Police Themselves

ChalkThePoliceState 23 300x148 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

The inevitable backlash

There’s an obvious incentive for members of the community to demand accountability for the heavily armed band patrolling through the streets that they live and work. If those individuals are permitted to act as an occupying force with the impunity to do as they please to those within that community, those among their ranks that have an unscrupulous tendency will take advantage of that to commit criminal and violent acts.

However, there are reasons why even those within the local police departments should want to see accountability for those “bad apples” that we are always being told are just exceptions to the rules. Fear eventually gives rise to hostility and working within the bounds of a hostile environment makes someone’s job just that much harder to do. People within communities don’t feel real obligated to help with the investigation of crimes when the person doing the investigation is perceived as being as bad or worse than the people being investigated. Having to deal with indifference or even active retaliation in the process only serves to make the job of the police more difficult and frustrating, which in turn makes them more bitter and cynical and leads to even more abuses. At some point, that downward spiral needs to be put to an end and the only way to do that is to create real accountability, rather than a hollow, toothless sham that does nothing but draw attention to the lack of it.  And as Sheriff Gillespie recently found out, people are a lot less accepting of having their taxes increased in order to supplement the LVMPD’s budget during an almost daily barrage of news about yet another police scandal.

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Interview With Nevada Cop Block Editor, Kelly W. Patterson, RE: “Second Saturday” Graffiti (Audio Clip)

SecondSaturdayFlyer 243x300 Interview With Nevada Cop Block Editor, Kelly W. Patterson, RE: Second Saturday Graffiti (Audio Clip)

Every Second Saturday of every month at 5pm. Meet us in front of the LMPD Headquarters Buildings on 400 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Below is the audio of an interview by Kelly W. Patterson, editor for NVCopBlock.org and member of the Sunset Activist Collective (SunsetActivistCollective.org) on the “Round Table Group” show, which is hosted by Jim Duensing and Sean Gruber regarding a citation the “Sunset 3″ received supposedly for graffiti while drawing on a sidewalk with (wait for it) sidewalk chalk, which really is nothing more nor less than an attempt by the LVMPD to keep us from exposing their crimes and in all likelihood will do nothing but backfire and create even more publicity.

On June 8th, while participating in Nevada Cop Block‘s monthly “Second Saturday” protest against police brutality at the headquarters of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, three members of the Sunset Activist Collective, Kelly, Ballentine, and J.R. Dazo, were accused of doing graffiti while writing tributes to past victims of Metro, including Stanley Gibson; Eric Scott; and Trevon Cole, and bringing attention to the total lack of accountability within Las Vegas area police departments (not one cop has EVER been charged for shooting an unarmed/innocent person in the history of the LVMPD), and in fact throughout the country.

In this interview, Kelly discusses the general lack of any repercussions for local cops that murder people (and animals), the incentive to kill that the policy of rewarding those cops involved in shootings with multi-year paid vacations (something that Jesus Arevalo mentioned as a motivation for wanting to find an opportunity to shoot someone shortly before he did exactly that to Stanley Gibson) while their friends “investigate” those shootings represents, and the details surrounding the Second Saturday incident itself.

The full video from the incident with Metro during Second Saturday is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAj5MKHlPiY

The full broadcast can be found within the archives of the Round Table Group show at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freedomizerradio/2013/06/10/the-round-table-group, which is part of the Freedomizer Radio Network – http://www.freedomizerradio.com/.

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