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Update: Demonstration and Courtroom Support for Silk Galloway; LVMPD Racial Profiling, False Arrest Victim

“Do what you gotta do ’cause we gotta find something.”

That quote comes from the instructions that LVMPD Lt. Connell gave to one of the officers working as part of a “Saturation Team” just after they had pulled over Solomon “Silk” Galloway (Galloway commonly goes by his middle name), then assaulted and falsely arrested him in February of 2016.

Realizing that they didn’t have any actual crime to charge him with, they quickly came to the conclusion that they had to “find something” to retroactively justify that arrest. Unbeknownst to them, the entire illegal search, including those instructions to just “find something,” was being recorded by a GoPro camera inside the car.

Prior to that, Galloway and a co-worker had been pulled over under the pretense they had been speeding. However, as reported here previously, the body camera footage released later (embedded below) actually shows the speedometer in the police vehicle that pulled them over, proving that they weren’t speeding at the time. Instead, it appears to simply be a case of racial profiling which they then unnecessarily escalated into the eventual false arrest.

Racial profiling is pretty much what saturation teams were created to do, so that kinda goes without saying. When Galloway refused to cooperate with their unlawful orders to present ID, even though he as the passenger of the vehicle was under no obligation to do so, they decided they would arrest him and “find something” later. Unfortunately, they were never actually able to “find something.” There were no drugs or anything else illegal on him or within the car.

Instead, they decided to charge Galloway with “obstruction,” which is otherwise known as “contempt of cop.” Over a year later, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County County District Attorney Steve Wolfson continue to push forward with this ridiculous charge. Tomorrow, Wednesday June 28th, Galloway will be in court at 1:30pm for a motion hearing regarding his case within Municipal Court Department 2, room 5B.

Various groups within the community have called for courtroom support for Galloway during this hearing. In addition, there will be a short rally outside, beginning at noon, to show that support and bring attention to the issues involved in this case. Afterwards, people will be encouraged to attend the hearing as well, in order to show that the community stands with Silk Galloway and will not stand idly by during this miscarriage of justice. People are welcome to bring signs or other relevant materials to the rally, although you won’t be able to bring them to the courtroom. There should be enough time in between to put them away.

Among the many issues already discussed previously, some members of the community have questioned whether the judge in the case, Susan Roger, has a conflict of interest since her husband, David Roger, works as the lawyer for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA). As a result, they are asking for her to recuse herself from this case. While that won’t happen (because she would then have to recuse herself from any case involving the police) it serves as a good reminder of David Roger’s own conflicts of interest.

For those not aware, David Roger was the District Attorney during the “investigations” of the murders of Erik Scott and Trevon Cole by Las Vegas police officers. He resigned shortly after the murder of Stanley Gibson by Officer Jesus Arevalo while that “investigation” was still underway to accept a position as the LVPPA’s lawyer. So, he went from the head of the department that absolutely refused to file any charges against police officers when they kill someone on duty to the guy who officially defends them for the police union.

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on the Nevada Cop Block site involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

Update: Second Mistrial Declared; Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Gets Away With Murder of Sam Dubose

For the second time, a jury has stated that it was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on charges filed against University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing for the July 2015 murder of Sam Dubose. (See videos embedded below for body camera footage of that murder.) The jury initially indicated this morning that it was unable to reach a decision, but were told to go back and continue deliberating. Later this afternoon they returned and stated they were still deadlocked. As a result, Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz has declared a mistrial.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, there won’t be a third trial. So that effectively means Tensing has officially joined the ever expanding club of police officers who have gotten away with murder, including three just this week alone (Tensing, Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, and St. Paul Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez).

Of course, in order to have their killings declared justified all police officers need to do is state that they “feared for my life” and in order to get a mistrial they just need one of the twelve members of a jury to buy that rationalization. So that bar is incredibly low and that’s mostly by design. The system itself is tilted heavily in their favor and those running that system not only are their friends and co-workers, but have the further incentive of self preservation to push it even further in that direction.

In Tensing’s case, he claimed that he was in danger of being run over by Dubose as he attempted to drive away from a traffic stop the University of Cincinnati police officer had initiated because of a missing front license plate.

Via NBC News:

Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his car and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. The car began to pull away

With one hand still inside the car, Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before firing his gun at DuBose, striking him in the head. The car then began traveling out of control before coming to a stop.

Tensing’s bodycam captured the incident.

The men had a conversation for about one minute and 50 seconds before it escalated with Tensing and DuBose in a struggle. Within just a few seconds, Tensing fired his gun.

Two other officers were on scene, and their body cameras captured other angles of the shooting’s aftermath.

Those alternate angles captured by the other officers on the scene, as well as testimony from experts who examined those videos, contradicted Tensing’s claims that he was being dragged by, and in danger of being run over by, Dubose’s car.

It’s also been questioned whether the stop for something as trivial as a front license plate was merely an excuse used to justify a racially motivated profiling of Dubose. Officer Tensing’s unusually frequent history of traffic stops (when compared to other University of Cincinnati police officers) and the high percentage of minorities involved in those stops bolsters those claims.

Of course, the judges, prosecutors, and media are usually on the side of the cops and the general public is taught from the day they are born to believe cops are heroes that never lie or do anything bad. So it’s not that hard for them to at least find that one juror who will refuse to find a cop guilty, regardless of the actual facts presented during a trial. That’s a big part of why it’s almost impossible to convict a police officer regardless of the actual facts on the rare occasions when they get caught doing something outrageous enough to get charged in the first place.

Update: Officer Jeronimo Yanez the Latest Cop to Get Away With Murder After Philando Castille Verdict

Earlier this afternoon, a jury in Minnesota reached a verdict in the trial of St. Anthony Police Officer Jeromino Yanez. Yanez had been charged with second degree manslaughter after he shot Philando Castille seven times in July of 2016. At the time Yanez decided to start shooting, Castille was reaching for his ID that Yanez had asked him for seconds earlier. Presumably, Officer Yanez was afraid that he was instead reaching for a (legally registered) gun that Castille had informed him of. Castille’s girlfriend, who was also in the car along with their four year old daughter, live-streamed, via Facebook Live, his final moments and her own treatment by the police after the shooting. (Video embedded below.) Philando Castille’s “crime” consisted of having a broken taillight.

Sadly, but not at all surprisingly, the verdict that was announced was “not guilty.” The glaring reality that cases like this and those of Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who was also issued a license to murder just last month, serve as grim reminders of is that, even on the rare occasions when cops are charged with a crime after unnecessarily killing someone, it’s close to impossible for them to be convicted. Of course, even beyond the basic pre-conditioning of society of the provably false notions that the police are always right and never lie, the deck is always stacked in their favor during these show trials.

A judge controls what evidence can be presented to the jury and what will instead be excluded because it is “inflammatory” or prejudicial. Meanwhile, the onus of presenting that evidence falls to the prosecutor’s office, who work with the police on a daily basis and are dependent on maintaining good relations with them for every other case they pursue. Most trials against police officers are as much a forfeit as they are a loss.

Not only that but the bar is set incredibly low for police officers, even when they kill people that were clearly innocent. All they have to do is wear their Magic Uniform (sometimes they don’t even have to do that) and use those Magic Words, “I feared for my life.” That fear doesn’t have to be justified or even in any way rational. A cop simply has to state that they were afraid and it’s up to the prosecution to somehow prove that this heroic, fearless defender of the public was not in fact afraid for no good reason.

Plus, the media always does their part for the home team helping to glorify the heroic cop and demonizing the victim. Regardless of the circumstances or what you can see with your lying eyes on a video it’s always portrayed as a “tragic mistake” or that victim’s fault. Then they build up sympathy for the killer cops by telling you how much they have already suffered by losing their job and feeling really bad about what they did (oftentimes in spite of evidence to the contrary).

Of course, anyone else charged with a crime generally also ends ups being fired and rarely has the unwavering support of a police union to cushion that blow. yet, nobody says they should just walk free based on that “hardship.” Not to mention the deadly consequences of those officers’ actions inflicted upon those they kill and their families afterwards.

I’ve warned cops and their cult of followers in the past, and in spite of the fact I know there’s pretty much zero chance they will listen, I’ll warn them again: accountability is something you should be seeking for your own sake, as well as for the sake of common decency and there are consequences when you actively work to prevent it.

No justice, no peace” isn’t always just a catchy little slogan to be chanted.

Tashii Brown-Farmer Asked For Help; LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Tased And Choked Him To Death Instead

Unarmed and Seeking Help, But Tasered and Then Choked to Death Instead

Shortly after midnight on May 14th, Tashii Brown-Farmer approached two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers inside the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Stating that he was being chased by someone, Brown-Farmer requested help from Officer Kenneth Lopera and a partner who has not yet been named. Although Brown-Farmer had a history of mental illness and was described as “acting erratically” at the time, there has been no indication or allegation that he was behaving violently at any time that night. He also was not armed in any way whatsoever, nor was there any indication that there was ever any reason to believe he might be armed.

Instead of being dealt with as someone seeking help, Brown-Farmer was instead treated by the officers (who ironically are part of the tourism safety division of the LVMPD) as someone that needed to be arrested. This caused Brown-Farmer to feel threatened and run away, initiating a chase through an employees area of the casino and eventually into the parking garage of the Venetian. That is where Officer Lopera caught up to Brown-Farmer and proceeded to taser, beat, and eventually choke him to death.

In the end, Tashii Brown-Farmer was tasered seven times, punched repeatedly, and finally placed into a “rear naked choke hold” for over a minute until he was no longer conscious nor breathing. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The video embedded below shows body camera footage of the entirety of that chase and the deadly conclusion, in which Officer Kenneth Lopera unnecessarily decides to practice his mixed martial art skills on a man who is already being held down by at least two Venetian security guards.

Note: The media and the police have referred to Brown-Farmer both as “Tashii Brown” and “Tashii Farmer” (during their initial press conference, the LVMPD also spelled his first name wrong, excluding the second “i” that belongs at the end) without any official explanation for the discrepancy .

Bad Rationalizations and Media Complicity

The justification given for the deadly violence that Officer Lopera unnecessarily inflicted on Brown-Farmer was the typical “he wouldn’t comply” mantra that is often used. However, you can clearly see in the video that Lopera began using his taser on Brown-Farmer without allowing for much time at all for him to follow his orders. He then continued yelling at and tasing a man who was already having mental health issues.

The other thing that is readily apparent in the Venetian surveillance videos (embedded below within the full press conference video) is that when Ofc. Lopera began punching and hitting Brown-Farmer security guards from the casino had already began holding him down. Even more unnecessary than the punches Lopera threw was the choke hold he soon used to choke the life out of Brown-Farmer.

Not only were the security guards already there, but not long after numerous Metro police officers also arrived. There was no reason for Lopera to start choking him in the first place and there was no reason for him to continue choking him for over a minute, even after he had already lost consciousness. In spite of the initial claims released by the LVMPD, Brown-Farmer never attempted to use violence against anyone, including Officer Lopera at any point during this entire confrontation that Lopera initiated and then escalated.

However, not surprisingly, the local media has asked few questions about the official narrative and instead even allowed Metro’s PR department to downplay controversy by initially describing the prohibited rear naked choke hold as a “department authorized neck restraint.” They’ve also yet to challenge the LVMPD’s claim that Brown-Farmer was attempting to car jack the truck that was entering the parking garage as he ran by. Contrary to that claim, which the driver of the truck himself states he didn’t believe to be the case, the video only shows Brown-Farmer briefly touching the tailgate as he stops running. Not attempting to open it and not trying to enter the front (or any other part) of the truck as has been stated.

Instead, the LA Times published a fluff piece that was probably printed word for word as it was received from Metro’s PR department fawning over how “transparent” the LVMPD has become when they murder someone.

The Inevitable Smear Campaign

Of course, the one consistency with Metro is that they never fail to dig up dirt on their victims to try and deflect the attention away from the violent, unnecessary, and unrelated crimes of their officers. Brown-Farmer’s previous criminal record was displayed and highlighted during the press conference, including a murder charge that he was not convicted of. When Officer Kenneth Lopera confronted, chased, and then choked to death Tashii Brown Farmer, he was not at all aware of any of that information. Nor was that in any way relevant to the actions that Lopera took and that were clearly documented on video that night, regardless.

During that press conference, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill also continuously (and purposefully) referred to Brown-Farmer as “the suspect,” in spite of the fact that he was not actually wanted for or even suspected of any crime whatsoever. McMahill even admitted that had he not died Brown-Farmer would not have been charged with any crime. In reality, he was someone that was experiencing a medical issue. In fact, Officer Lopera’s treatment of Brown-Farmer as a suspect for a non-existent crime is what prompted him to run away in the first place.

As you can see in the video below, these type of smear campaigns are business as usual for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police (and other departments). It’s also especially hypocritical given the skeletons within Undersheriff McMahill’s own closet.

A Continued Lack of Accountability At The LVMPD

In spite of the PR campaigns they orchestrate and the willingness of the media to unquestioningly support those phony claims of “transparency” and progress, the simple truth remains that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department still has never held a single police officer within the history of their department accountable for killing someone. Regardless, of how questionable or downright unbelievable the circumstances are behind them, they get a free pass and nothing more than a paid vacation every single time.

Nothing about this case or Metro’s handling of it, indicates that it (or any other case in the near future) will be different.

Know Your Rights Seminar Held in Las Vegas by Attorney Stephen Stubbs (Video)

Note – this is an update of a previous post: “Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd.” This post includes a video of that know your rights seminar.

On March 23rd in Las Vegas, local attorney Stephen Stubbs held a “know your rights” seminar. Although this know your rights class was open (and very much relevant) to the general public, the primary reason for it being held was recent harassment of motorcycle riders in Las Vegas by the LVMPD (“Metro”) using saturation teams and the gang task force, including a “motorcycle intelligence unit” specifically created to gather information on motorcycle clubs.

As Stubbs mentions in the Facebook Live video embedded below, this harassment has involved the profiling of people that ride motorcycles and several violations of those people’s rights. That includes manufacturing suspicion to stop them, attempting to force passengers to ID themselves, and detaining them longer than is required to perform an investigation related to the (often dubious) offense that they have been stopped for.

Obviously, the motivation behind these targeted stops and the attempts to question those stopped is to gather information about motorcycle clubs under the false pretense that anybody belonging to a motorcycle club is a criminal and the even more flawed pretense that anyone riding a motorcycle and/or fitting a certain description must belong to a motorcycle club. Beyond that, Metro has also been known in recent years to illegally put pressure on public businesses, such as bars, to attempt to force them to exclude members of bike clubs from those businesses. This often is done under the threat of having their liquor license taken away.

Included below are embedded videos containing the entire know your rights seminar, as well as a shorter excerpt discussing a somewhat controversial method of handling general police encounters in which police insist on questioning you even after you’ve already invoked your Fifth Amendment right not to speak (use at your own risk).

Full Video of Know Your Rights Seminar

 

Downtown Las Vegas know your rights flyer by NVCopBlock.org

As regular readers of the CopBlock Network know, Stephen Stubbs has a pretty long history (see “related posts” section below) of defending the civil rights of people (including himself) against the police, especially those departments located within the Las Vegas area. That has included defending motorcyclists against the frequent harassment they receive from the LVMPD.

Stubbs has also in the past done know your rights seminars numerous times at events and for various groups (as well as independently) throughout the Las Vegas area. (See below for an embedded video of a previous know your rights training.) Among other things, these seminars typically will cover issues involving the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments such as the requirements for a legal detainment, when you are obligated to identify yourself to police, your rights when the police want to search you, your right to remain silent and why that’s a good idea, and your rights when filming the police (and why that’s also always a good idea).

In spite of the direct motivation for this particular know your rights seminar being the harassment directed at motorcyclists, the topics and rights discussed were not exclusive to cyclists and are helpful and applicable to anyone that is stopped by the police.

Excerpt: How To Handle General Police Encounters in Nevada

LVMPD doesn’t care about the law

Previous Know Your Rights Seminar by Stephen Stubbs

Related Posts:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been featured numerous times on the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd
  2. “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
  3. Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
  4. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Explains How Not To Get Beaten And/Or Shot By The Police
  6. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  7. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court
  8. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  9. Boulder City (NV) Police “Employee of the Year” Commits Perjury to Arrest Man Interfering With Revenue Generation
  10. Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
  11. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  12. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  13. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  14. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  15. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  16. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  17. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  18. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  19. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  20. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  21. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  22. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  23. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  24. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  25. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  26. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Other Videos:

The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt

Original Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

Lt. Yatomi is Promoted and Put in Charge of Internal Affairs

“What Happened in Vegas” Didn’t Stay in Las Vegas; Police Brutality Documentary Premiers at Cinequest

Last week on March 4th, “What Happened in Vegas” had its world premier to rave reviews at the Cinequest Film Festival, which is held annually in San Jose, CA. (This year there were also additional screenings held in Redwood City.) The documentary by Ramsey Denison is primarily focused on three very questionable shootings of Las Vegas residents by members of the LVMPD (AKA “Metro”) and the lack of any resulting consequences for the officers involved in those killings.

Within Las Vegas all three cases were very prominent incidents that received widespread local coverage and generated significant criticisms against the LVMPD and their handling of them. The inadequacies of the investigations into the questions surrounding those cases and outright cover-ups, as well as the reasons behind them also play a major role in the film.

Trevon Cole and Bryan Yant

The first case featured in the movie is that of Trevon Cole, who was caught on camera selling a very small amount of marijuana to an LVMPD detective. Cole very easily could have been arrested right then or at virtually any other time he stepped out of his house and there was no indication that Cole was or would become violent.

Instead, in order to create a dramatic confrontation intended to be used in a proposed reality show the LVMPD was hoping to create, they decided to conduct a full SWAT raid on his apartment. During that raid, Sgt. Bryan Yant, who had intentionally used falsified information from another person (that actually lived in Texas) with the same name as Cole to attain the search warrant, shot Cole in the head with an AR-15 in front of his pregnant girlfriend, while Trevon was on his knees in the bathroom.

Later, in an attempt to justify their actions, Metro police officers showed up at the house belonging to Cole’s in-laws, where his girlfriend, who was literally within days of having their baby, was staying. They then conducted an illegal search of Cole’s belongings hoping to find something that would incriminate him and provide justifications for the murder.

Not only was nobody held accountable in any way whatsoever for the falsified search warrant, the illegal search afterwards, or the murder itself, Bryan Yant, for whom this was his third deadly shooting, was recently hired by the Las Vegas Police Protective Association as the union representative that advises police officers when they are involved in shootings.

Erik Scott and Costco’s (Conveniently) Malfunctioning Camera

The second and most well known case featured in the movie is that of Erik Scott, who was shot by LVMPD Officers William Mosher, Joshua Stark, and Thomas Mendiola as he walked out of a Costco located in a suburb of Las Vegas known as Summerlin. The original reason that the police were called was because an employee at the Costco had noticed that Scott was wearing a holster under his shirt. Erik Scott was legally registered to carry the concealed weapon that he was armed with that day. However, Costco has a policy against firearms within their stores. After having a discussion about that with Scott, a Costco security guard, Shai Lierley, called Metro and reportedly exaggerated his behavior. (Erik had asserted his legal right to be armed, but had not acted in a threatening manner.)

After an evacuation order was given at the store, Lierley pointed Scott out to Mosher, Stark, and Mendiola. Those officers then proceeded to give contradictory, confusing, and aggressive orders to Scott. Shortly after, Mosher shot Scott and after he had already fallen to the ground Stark and Mendiola followed suit firing numerous rounds into his body as he lay already mortally wounded.

Like most large retail stores, that Costco location had security cameras throughout the inside and outside of the store. One of those was situated where it should have recorded the entire confrontation. By some amazing “coincidence” that one surveillance camera just happened to be malfunctioning that day and all the footage from that specific time was unrecoverable.

In the movie, Erik Scott’s father, Bill, also describes how the police soon realized that a report by the EMT in the ambulance that transported Erik to the hospital where he was pronounced dead had noted that there was a gun on his body still within the holster. the problem with that was that the police had at some point retrieved that gun and placed it at the scene of the shooting to corroborate their story that Scott had pulled his gun as a justification for it. The next day, even after they were denied permission to do so by Erik’s brother, who lived with him at the time, Metro officers conducted an illegal search on his apartment under the pretense of securing his property. Not long after, the narrative became that Scott had actually been carrying two guns at the time of the shooting.

As was the case with those involved in the Trevon Cole murder, Erik Scott’s killing was ruled justified. In fact, Mosher and Stark were given awards for bravery during the murder of Scott shortly afterwards. (Mendiola had been fired by that point for giving a gun to a felon.) Both of them are still employed with the LVMPD.

Stanley Gibson and Jesus Arevalo

The third case featured in the movie is that of Stanley Gibson, a Gulf War veteran who had cancer and PTSD, both of which were caused by his military service. Partially as a result of his medication being cut off by the Veteran’s Administration and partly because of the effects of the cancer on his memory, Gibson entered the wrong apartment complex after having just moved. Police were called after someone saw him attempting to open the door to the apartment he thought was his and soon after they had blocked his car in inside the parking lot.

In spite of the fact that Gibson’s car was completely blocked in by two unoccupied police cars (see embedded video below) and would not have been able to move, the police at the scene decided they could not simply wait him out. Instead, they concocted a plan to break out Gibson’s back window with a bean bag round and then shoot pepper spray into the car (which is against Metro’s policy) to force Gibson, who at the time was unresponsive, to come out of it. However, once the bean bag round was fired, Officer Jesus Arevalo fired seven times with his personal AR-15, later claiming that he thought the firing of the bean bag round was Gibson shooting at them.

While the investigation was still ongoing Arevalo’s soon to be ex-wife was recorded stating that, among other things, he had said before Gibson’s killing that he wanted to shoot someone so he could get paid time off, had referred to Gibson using a racial slur and expressing disdain for him, and had bragged about how fast he was able to fire off those seven rounds. Not surprisingly though, Stanley Gibson’s shooting, like every other police shooting in the entire history of the city of Las Vegas was ruled justified. Not only that but Arevalo was placed on disability as a result of stress from the shooting and given a monthly payment of $23,000 to $28,000 (plus cost of living increases) for the rest of his life.

Beaten and Arrested for Reporting Police Brutality

Several other non-fatal incidents are also featured in the movie, including an unarmed and innocent man who was shot at a local 7-11 after he was mistook for a murder suspect and a man who used a hidden GoPro camera to film himself being assaulted and falsely arrested by a “saturation team” after he refused to provide ID as a passenger at a traffic stop (which he legally was not required to do). The video in the latter case also captured audio and video of those officers stating as they searched his car that they “had to find something” to justify his arrest, after the fact.

The other incident featured within the movie is director Ramsey Denison’s own arrest by Las Vegas Police Officers Mark Belanger, Kyle Frett, and Jared Casper. While on vacation in Vegas, Ramsey saw those three officers both verbally and physically abusing a man they had already taken into custody and successfully handcuffed.

Not having seen that type of behavior from cops before and having a positive opinion of the police from working on “true-crime” shows as a film editor in Los Angeles, Denison made the rookie mistake of calling 911 and reporting the officers. The 911 operator responded by calling Belanger, Frett, and Casper to let them know someone had called to report misconduct by them. They then promptly came over and beat, then arrested, Denison.

Later, both the supervisor who had responded to Denison’s 911 complaint and the Internal Affairs “investigators” rubber stamped their approval of his treatment by the trio of Metro officers. Also not terribly surprisingly, he was later told that none of the cameras at the club where his assault took place were turned on that night, effectively precluding him from being able to file a lawsuit to attain some sort of justice. That, along with his experience in the jail and during court, prompted Denison to begin looking into the history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and eventually to make “What Happened in Vegas.

Shining a Light on the Darkness within the LVMPD

Ramsey contacted me a couple months after his arrest, which was also not long after I and several other members of Nevada Cop Block were arrested for the ridiculous charge of graffiti (and even more ridiculous “conspiracy” charges) for writing with chalk on public sidewalks during protests over the murder of Stanley Gibson, whom I was friends with in high school, and Metro’s many other victims, including Erik Scott and Trevon Cole.

After meeting with him and getting the feeling that he was genuine in his intentions, I agreed on doing an interview, much of which was included in the movie. Also, while I was limited on what I could discuss about our arrests for chalking, due to lawsuits we had filed (which are still active to this day) as a result, that is discussed in general terms within the film. In addition, several scenes shot of me chalking were included in the movie.

Due to the connections I had built working with Nevada Cop Block and during those demonstrations, I was able to point Denison toward several people within Las Vegas that I felt would potentially be helpful, including some who knew or were related to Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, and Stanley Gibson. I’m happy to say that Ramsey did a great job of seeking those people out, building trust with them, and presenting them in a convincing, professional, and impactful way within the movie.

He also did a great job of researching the background of those featured in the movie and portraying them as real people, as well as separating their true characters from the smear campaigns that the LVMPD uses to deflect blame from the department after they kill someone. What Happened in Vegas does a very equitable job of showing who Scott, Cole, and Gibson were and the impact their murders had on those they left behind.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the movie’s premier screenings at the Cinequest Film Festival last week and it turned out as good as I could have ever expected, if not better. Audiences, as well as critics, attending those screenings were very responsive and positive about the movie. I very much appreciate the work that Ramsey and his crew did both in making a great movie and shining a light on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that I expect will not go unnoticed and that was much overdue.

LVMPD to Hold Thomas McEniry Public Police Fatality Review on Monday September 19th

thomas-mceniry-shooting-lvmpd-public-review

On November 24th of 2015, Thomas McEniry was shot by LVMPD Officers Kyle Prior, Robert Nord, and Donald Sutton III. They’ve claimed that at the time he was shot McEniry had picked a (pellet) gun up from the ground and pointed it at them.

However, if you watch Officer Prior’s bodycam video (embedded below) not only do they cut it off as soon as he begins to put his hand down toward the ground, there is no visible gun at the location where he is moving his hand to. I’ve slowed the video down and watched it frame by frame and I don’t personally see a gun where they claim it was.

It would seem pretty logical that if someone had picked up a gun and pointed it at them, they could eliminate any dispute of it being justified simply by showing them do that. But, for no apparent reason, they didn’t that.

Also, although there was at least one other cop wearing a bodycam that day. Instead of releasing that footage, they released one screenshot showing a gun sitting against the garage door, a position that it could not have been in without being visible on the video.

Without any sort of context for that screenshot (such as the rest of the video showing the gun being discovered and moved to that position), it proves absolutely nothing. Once again, for no apparent reason they didn’t provide that.

LVMPD Shooting Video Thomas McEniryIt’ll be interesting to see if they show the footage of this gun he supposedly picked up and aimed at them and the footage of the second body camera during the review or if they continue hiding the full body cam footage. At that point, you’ll pretty much know there’s a reason they don’t want to release it publicly. (Note: I’ve been told that the family received multiple body cam videos, so it would seem that they do intend to show more than what was initially released, at least.)

These public reviews are really a joke where the cops put out their official story and bury any information that might contradict it. The official title given them, “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” deserves an award for the level of Orwellian doublespeak it represents.

In reality, they were created by former Sheriff Gillespie and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (police union) to eliminate scrutiny of police shootings after the murders of Erik Scott and Trevon Cole by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department led many within Las Vegas to question Metro’s use of force and absolute lack of accountability. Instead of replacing the Coroner’s Inquest that previously was used after police shootings with something more fair and transparent, as the public had demanded, they went the bait and switch route in order to eliminate any semblance of either.

However, it is still good to attend them in order to witness just how much of a blatant coverup it is and to show support for the family and friends of those the LVMPD murder. It also let’s them know we paying attention and aren’t just accepting their cover-ups and lies. You can also submit questions during the review, although they pick and choose which questions are “appropriate” to be asked. That means anything that seriously questions their official narrative and can’t be easily deflected gets filtered out.

If you are unable to physically attend, you can also watch a live feed of the review.

FBI Warning to Police: Anarchist Groups Planning to Scare Children on Halloween

Scary Creepy Anarchist Clowns Halloween Threat

No Child (Or Horse) Will Be Safe From The Scary Anarchist Clowns

Police nationwide are on alert after the FBI issued a warning that they have received information Anarchist groups are planning to scare children, teens, and possibly even adults on Halloween this year. The FBI has refused further direct comment or to reveal any details about the alleged plans by these insidious Anarchist plotters. However, unnamed sources privy to the information have confirmed that the warnings included discussion of groups that were planning to conceal their identity and roam from house to house, often after nightfall in an effort to hide their movements and surprise their intended victims.

Jack O Lantern AnarchistsIt’s reported that some of them have been waiting all year to partake in these elaborate scare tactics and have gone to great lengths to ensure their disguises are realistic looking and terrifying to innocent children and even squeamish adults. A common theme among these Anarchist conspirators tends to revolve around violence and death based imagery and/or demonic ritualism, although some have also been known to mimic well know celebrities or sports figures. A good percentage of the female Anarchists have also been known to blend sexual themes and even near nudity into their disguises in order to distract and mentally disarm their intended victims.

Spoiler: No matter how good your costume is the most naked girl wins.

Spoiler: No matter how good your costume is, the most naked girl always wins.

Unconfirmed but credible reports have also surfaced that these Anarchists groups have formed loose networks and some will be gathering en masse. They may even be offering rewards amongst themselves for those that are most effective at scaring others. In some areas, this will consist of internal gatherings where they will display their disguises to the other members of the group, who will determine the most scary participant utilizing various methods including (but not limited to) via purely democratic voting and a more republican method in which a small number of “judges” are selected and then tasked with the authority to declare a winner. Members who jeopardize the security of the group by showing up without a proper disguise are often denied entry and in some cases even expelled from the group.

Other reports state that plans have been uncovered in which Anarchists intend to turn entire houses into pseudo chambers of horror for people they will lure into them. Often times these houses have faux graveyards, depictions of executions, and intricately carved gourds out front that should serve as a warning to unsuspecting visitors. Once inside, these guests can be randomly terrorized by unknown individuals hiding in dark areas who leap out without warning or mercy.

Halloween Revolt HoaxMany younger Anarchists have also been know to spend a large portion of the night traveling from one house to another within their own or nearby neighborhoods. They tend to congregate in packs knocking on random doors and demanding a ransom from residents that answer. Those who ignore or refuse their demands have in the past found themselves the victim of retaliatory acts including (but not limited to) having their cars hit with eggs and/or their trees littered with paper based bathroom products. Although not foolproof, their disguises generally inhibit the identification and prosecution of those that perpetrate such acts of vandalism.

Police departments are taking these warnings very seriously and anonymous sources have confirmed that the FBI reports have classified this as a definitive event that will undoubtedly happen and is unlikely to be prevented. It’s not a question of whether you or someone you know will be scared by these ruthless Anarchists, but how many times it will happen. Many advisers have recommended just cooperating and giving them a “treat” if confronted, rather than risk a costly or embarrassing “trick.”

FBI Warning Anarchist Plot

A Brave Man Documents Scary Anarchists in Santa Cruz, CA.

Happy Birthday to Us! Nevada Cop Block Just Turned Three Years Old

Nevada Cop Block Birthday Cake

The original version of this photo (and the cake in it) is courtesy of Greater Cleveland Cop Block.

June 4th is what I would consider to be the three year anniversary of the founding of Nevada Cop Block, back in 2012. Technically, NVCopBlock.org launched a few weeks earlier on May 25th, when I posted a “Help Wanted” request asking if anybody was interested in getting involved with the website. There were a few other posts within the next few days, but that consisted of police-related reposts from my personal blog, EYEAM4ANARCHY, which I just dumped on the page as filler until I got some actual content ready to post. There had also been some offline actions in the real world, mostly in response to events CopBlock.org had organized and fairly sporadically.

The Motorhome Diaries in Las Vegas

The Motorhome Diaries in Las Vegas circa 2009

However, it was on June 4, 2012 that Pete Eyre formally welcomed us into the Cop Block family (or “Cop Block Network” as we like to call it now) and we were “officially” a local Cop Block affiliate. Prior to that, I had already met Pete and Ademo Freeman during their Las Vegas stop with the Motor Home Diaries (along with Jason Talley) in 2009 and later when they were doing an extended version of that known as Liberty on Tour in 2010 (when I was involved in one of Cop Block’s first call floods), as well as when I went to Porcfest in 2011.

I considered them friends and had a lot of respect for the things they were doing, so I generally did what I could from afar to support whatever projects they were involved in. As a result, I was tangentially involved with Cop Block from somewhat early on, although I hadn’t officially written anything for the site. (I did post a fairly boring video to YouTube using the name “Las Vegas Cop Block,” which was intended more to recruit other people than to impress anyone.) Basically, I had been trying to create a Las Vegas based Cop Block affiliate and doing some filming around town for some time, but that lack of interest from others had kept me from formally announcing one.

Then on December 12, 2011, a friend of mine from high school, Stanley Gibson, was murdered by Jesus Arevalo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as he sat in his car, unarmed and in no way posing a threat to anyone. That, along with the typical cover-up that soon followed, complete with the smearing of Stanley by those within the LVMPD, was the proverbial final straw and I decided that I would start a Nevada Cop Block affiliate even if I had to do it all by myself. Fortunately, that turned out to not be the case and the formation of a local Cop Block chapter actually attracted others. While, even to this day, I do the vast majority of the writing for this site, NVCopBlock has a fairly good sized group of members and associated groups within Las Vegas that support and contribute to the actions we do around town. In fact, within the past year Reno Cop Block has even joined the ranks of Cop Block affiliates.

banner-square storeOver the past three years, Nevada Cop Block has been one of the most active affiliates partly because Las Vegas area police keep right on killing people and refusing to hold any of their officers accountable, no matter how outrageous the circumstances. We’ve held protests and vigils for the many victims of those murders, including Stanley Gibson, Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, D’Andre Berghardt Jr., Michael Nida, Danielle Willard, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Antonio Zambrano-Montes and many others, including a dog named Bubba. Most of those have involved using chalk to write messages and tributes on the sidewalks around the places where the protests were held, something that we originally adapted from the national Cop Block, but that soon become “our thing.

And much like what happened in Manchester earlier, in August of 2013 five of our own members (myself included) were arrested on ridiculous graffiti and “conspiracy to commit” graffiti charges. Fortunately, the charges themselves, as well as the monstrously inflated clean up cost of $1550 to wash chalk off a sidewalk, that was used to justify those charges, made it glaringly obvious that our arrests were nothing but an attempt to intimidate us and retaliate against us for the attention we were bringing to Metro’s lack of accountability and affinity for murder. The charges were soon dropped amid a pretty large uproar and the actual effect of those arrests was to bring even more attention to the many, many problems within the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments and their wasteful budgets.

All in all, I think it’s fair to say that NVCopBlock has had a good amount of success and positive influence within Las Vegas and even outside of Nevada, during various trips around the country. Although there were many other groups involved the attention that we helped bring to Metro’s crimes and wasteful spending no doubt played some part in former Sheriff Doug Gillespi deciding not to run for re-election and the subsequent defeat of his attempt to raise the sales tax in Clark County (which is largely comprised of Las Vegas and the surrounding area), in order to fund even more cops to harass, beat, and kill people, without any fear of consequences.

There are several ways you can support Nevada Cop Block in our efforts to hold police accountable.

There are several ways you can support Nevada Cop Block.

We’ve had a lot of small victories in these three years and a few big ones. We’ve also made a lot of great connections within the community both local and national. On a personal level, I’m now officially an editor for CopBlock.org and over the past few months the members of the “Cop Block Network” that Ademo has assembled have begun taking the national Cop Block site to a new level that looks to only be headed forward. As a result, I’m actually getting ready to put that “Help Wanted” sign back out there, so I can hopefully find someone to take over some of the day to day activity on NVCopBlock.org.

However, we still very much have our work cut out for us here. The LVMPD has still yet to ever, in the entire 40+ year history of their existence, hold a single police officer accountable for shooting someone, regardless of how suspicious the circumstances are and even when the person being shot was unarmed and completely innocent. That’s not a track record to be proud of, nor is it being a very good “partner with the community.” The police in and around Las Vegas like to talk about how much they are changing, but the results just don’t bear that out. Nevada Cop Block won’t be going away anytime soon. As long as the LVMPD keeps going out of their way to sweep their crimes under the rug, we’ll be there to pull that curtain back.

Liberty BannerHere are some selected highlights from the first three years of NVCopBlock:

(Click the Headline to Go To the Original Post)

June 4, 2012: Pete Eyre Welcomes Nevada Cop Block

Pete Nevada Cop Block ShirtThe debut of Cop Block in Nevada:

The LVMPD, along with other Las Vegas area police departments, has a long and sordid history of beating, killing, and otherwise abusing local residents. Beyond the complete lack of accountability for these actions, the aftermath is often economically costly for the community that they terrorize.

 

Las Vegas: Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

NVCopBlock.org’s first original post:

Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang. Many gang members are proud of their gang and freely admit their membership. Their personal belongings frequently boast the gang’s logo and the member’s gang name. Gangs generally share common characteristics such as the wearing of distinct clothing. However, some individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members.

They are usually armed, often unpredictable, travel in overwhelming numbers, and are not above attacking or even killing innocent people that are unlucky enough to be confronted by them. So, interacting with them individually can be very dangerous. If possible, make sure others are present and ALWAYS carry a camera to document any improprieties and ensure a neutral “witness.”

 

 

Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno

Reno_Open_Carry_ShirtWe don’t actually limit ourselves to Las Vegas:

We bantered back-n-forth a bit and then, when we were about to leave, he said ” If I really wanted to be an ass, I could cite you for open carrying in Reno, because the Reno city ordinance overrides the state law about open carrying in the state of Nevada.” He then went on to tell us we should look it up and probably not open carry anymore and kept saying ”he was pretty sure it overrides the state ordinance.”

When he said that it came off VERY threatening and I wanted to start an argument right then and there, but that probably wouldn’t of been the best idea…

After Henderson Police Beat Man in Diabetic Shock, NV Residents Pay for It

Henderson Police BrutalityA prime example of the lack of accountability in Las Vegas-area police departments:

Once the video surfaced, the people in the community were understandably outraged by the obviously unnecessary nature of the beating inflicted on a visibly restrained man. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson saw it differently, though. In his initial review of the case, he came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be “in the community’s best interest” to punish Sgt. Seekatz (who has a history of complaints being filed against him predating this case) or any of the other officers because two years had passed since the incident happened.

Not surprisingly, that assessment was met with outrage by the community…

Official Cop Block Press Passes

CopBlockPressPassesWhether they like it or not Cop Block is part of the press:

Over the years, Cop Block has expanded from a small “DIY” style project into a fully functioning independent media outlet with a prominent national online presence and over two-hundred (and counting) satellite organizations located in cities throughout the United States and even beyond those imaginary borders. The establishment of official Cop Block press passes represents the next step in that evolution in which we serve notice to the world that we won’t be marginalized or overlooked, but are asserting ourselves as a legitimate member of the media.

Plus, they look really cool! (BTW, we now have Nevada Cop Block T-shirts, also.)

Las Vegas Metro Police: Chalk Washes Off, But Injustice Never Will

Chalk Washes Off, Injustice Never WillThis was the beginning of the path that eventually led to five of our members being arrested for writing with chalk:

In an obvious and ridiculous attempt to intimidate them into ending their efforts to bring attention to the history of abuses, corruption, and outright murders by Las Vegas area police and a total lack of accountability for such by those that oversee local police departments, three members of the Sunset Activist Collective were given citations for “graffiti” based on writing with washable sidewalk chalk. (See below for video of the incident.)

J.R. Dazo, Kelly W. Patterson, and Ballentine, who have since been dubbed the “Sunset 3” were participating in Nevada Cop Block‘s monthly anti-police brutality protest and vigil known as “Second Saturdays” in front of the LVMPD’s headquarters…

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

Las Vegas Metro Lack of AccountabilityAt the end of this post I tried to warn the LVMPD that it was even in their best interest to hold cops accountable for their crimes. Ironically enough, they arrested me and four other members of NVCopBlock later that day:

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 Chamberlain, Deshira 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.

LVMPD Employees Kidnap/Cage Kelly Patterson & Brian Ballentine for Victimless Action

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

And this would be the post about us getting arrested for telling the LVMPD they should hold murderers accountable (although two of us were arrested initially, eventually charges were filed against five members of Nevada Cop Block):

Kelly Patterson & Brian Ballentine were kidnapped last night by employees of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and are now caged at the Clark County Detention Center…

To be clear – Patterson and Ballentine caused no victim. This is a free speech issue. The pair had been outside the headquarters of the LVMPD to participate in the monthly chalking done on the sidewalk to bring attention to the double-standards afforded to some predatory individuals who wear LVMPD badges (for example – in the history of the LVMPD not one employee has been found by internal investigations to have been in the wrong when involved in a shooting).

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

Metro displaying just how shorthanded they are on Fremont Street. (Notice the massive, unruly crowd being held back behind them.)Soon after being released we joined with other local groups to fight the “More Cops Tax,” which, as the name implies, was a proposal to raise the sales tax, in order to hire even more cops, in spite of all the wasteful ways they spend the money they already get. It was eventually defeated.

 

A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Police Brutality

Not once, in the entire 40 year history of the LVMPD, has a cop EVER been charged for killing someone, Even when that person was unarmed and or completely innocent.The LVMPD Gone Wild (which is actually kinda their default state):

The video at the bottom of this post, consisting of a compilation of various videos showing past instances of police brutality by members of the LVMPD, was submitted by Jason Nellis and uploaded to his YouTube channel in order to encourage Las Vegas residents to attend a January 21, 2014 Clark County Commission meeting, in which a vote will be held regarding Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s and Commissioner Tom Collins’ continued attempts to force through an increase in the county sales tax to hire even more cops.

Did Las Vegas Police Retaliate Against Nevada Cop Block for Local Activism?

Las Vegas Metro RetaliationA Week of Oddly-Timed “Coincidences”

Two months ago, on March 5th, I was struck by a hit and run driver while walking in downtown Las Vegas. Anybody that’s familiar with Las Vegas traffic knows that in itself isn’t exactly an unusual event. However, a string of incredibly oddly timed and interconnected events surrounding my own incident, including another local activist being hit by a car the previous day, have made many within the local activist community wonder if there wasn’t more to it than just a random car “accident.” In fact, some have even classified it as an assassination attempt by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Personally, I’m putting this out there because I feel that it’s important that people know about it and that there be a public record of it.

LV Constable John Bonaventura Ordered Cover-Up of Illegal Data Searches

John Bonaventura, the Most Corrupt Man in Las Vegas

John Bonaventura, the Most Corrupt Man in Las Vegas

Yeah, the corruption runs deep in Las Vegas:

With the amount of corruption that takes place on a regular basis within Las Vegas area governments, it can be hard to stand out. However, (soon to be former) Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura and his deputy constables have actually managed to distinguish themselves among the roll call of corrupt officials in Clark County politics and even among the notoriously unaccountable members of Las Vegas law enforcement.

Bonaventura‘s latest scandal involves his cover up of the improper and illegal use of the Lexis Nexis “Accurint” database service to look up personal information on porn actresses by Deputy Chief Dean Lauer.

LVMPD Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn't walk fast enough.

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn’t walk fast enough.

This was later ruled within their policy. (It’s OK though, because they promised not to do it anymore):

Officer Glowinski apparently wasn’t happy with the pace at which a man, named Dominic Generino (possibly spelled differently), was moving and decided to arrest him.

What happened next is that all of the other Metro police in the immediate vicinity dove on and began beating Generino. In particular, one of them, identified as Officer Kolkoski, begins jabbing his nightstick into Generino’s body (the descriptions indicate he is hitting him in the legs, but it’s not real clear exactly where he’s being hit on the video because of the number of cops involved) with such enthusiasm that he looses his balance. The fact Kolkoski knocked himself down and appears to almost injure himself by hitting his head against a nearby table doesn’t seem to diminish that enthusiasm very much, as he subsequently has to be pushed away by another (as of yet unidentified) officer, in order to prevent him from resuming his attack with the nightstick.

Convictions of Sister Megan Rice, and the “Y-12 Three” Overturned

Sister Meghan RiceThe “pacifist terrorists,” who shut down the country’s nuclear weapons storage site were freed:

On May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld. (They were in fact released with time served.)

Las Vegas Metro Cop Joins the Growing List of Police Pedophiles/Rapists

Patrick Taylor Facing Child Porn Charges

Patrick Taylor Facing Child Porn Charges

It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to even keep up with:

On Wednesday (May 27, 2015), Patrick Taylor turned himself in on charges involving child pornography, stemming from a March 19th raid on his house after investigations by the LVMPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Internal Affairs Bureau. According to Metro, he is being charged with a single count of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography. In spite of the seriousness of those charges, he has been released without bail after his initial court appearance at the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas, which took place Wednesday morning. The only conditions being that he promise not to contact his victim or to access the internet or social media.

Anybody that has been paying attention in recent times undoubtedly has noticed that one of the many crimes on the rise within the ranks of police officers are sex crimes. It’s getting rare when even a week goes by that CopBlock.org isn’t posting a story about a cop being caught using their position to rape or in some other way sexually exploit someone. In fact, this isn’t even the only time in recent history that a Las Vegas cop has been caught.

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Convictions of Sister Megan Rice, and the “Y-12 Three” Overturned

Transform Now Plowshares Members’ Could Be Released Soon

Transform Now Plowshares Y-12 Sister Megan RiceOn May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld.

Via the NY Times:

An anti-nuke nun may soon be blessed with freedom.

An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who broke into a weapons-grade uranium facility and splashed blood on the walls.

But Sister Megan Rice, locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for the past two years, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, are not totally in the clear yet.

A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision Friday that the three did not injure national security when they cut through several fences and broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

But the court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons . . . the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend,” the opinion said. “But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage.”

The trio, known as the Y-12 three, hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker in Oak Ridge to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

Their aim was to bring the dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation to people’s attention.

The Appellate Court’s ruling determined that “Congress never intended to punish individuals whose sole intent was to spread a message of peace, which is far from trying to disrupt nuclear defense systems.”

The government had 14 days (as of May 8, 2015) to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to have the convictions reinstated. I don’t have a lot of faith in the government in general or in their willingness to back down rather than fight to the bitter end to force compliance with their authority, but I have some personal reasons (read below for more on that) to hope they will, since I actually know Sister Meghan and consider her a friend.

Sister Meghan and the others convicted with her are nothing short of political prisoners, who (as the appeals court acknowledged) were given inflated charges based on the political messages they expressed with their protest and the defiance they displayed in the process, as well as the embarrassment the ease with which they carried it out caused to those tasked with guarding America’s war machines. They should be released immediately.

Sister Meghan RiceSister Megan Rice – an Unofficial Saint

Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun and long time member of the Catholic Worker movement, is one of the nicest, kindest, most soft-spoken people you would ever meet. She’s also one of the toughest and most morally grounded people you could ever be lucky enough to know. I first met her when she was living in Las Vegas and I was involved in helping to re-establish the local Food Not Bombs group here, back in late 2008. Sister Megan and other members of Las Vegas Catholic Worker were among those that had supported Food Not Bombs Las Vegas when the City of Las Vegas passed laws making it illegal to share food with hungry people, specifically with people who “a reasonable, ordinary person would believe” needed that food. Before that, she spent 40 years as a schoolteacher and relief worker in some of the poorest areas of Africa, until bouts with malaria and typhoid fever forced her to return to the United States.

From the first time I ever met her at a local coffee shop where we held the Las Vegas A-Cafe at that time, Sister Megan was never anything, but pleasant, friendly, and helpful. However, even as apparent as her good nature was, you could see and hear the strength of her character just as easily. She was the kind of genuine person that you respected as soon as you met her. Through involvement with Food Not Bombs and other peace groups, as well as my own personal advocacy, I have often worked with Catholic Worker and other faith-based groups in the Las Vegas area, such as Nevada Desert Experience and Pace e Bene, that are associated with them.

As a result, I had a fair amount of interaction with Sister Megan during her last couple of years in Las Vegas. During that time, my respect and admiration for her never ceased to grow. Her peaceful, yet determined, demeanor was always both inspirational and educational. Talking to her at regular “everyday” events was always a pleasant experience. On the other side of the coin, witnessing how she never let fear of punishment deter her from standing up for the right thing and was always willing to accept the consequences that might come, regardless of how overblown or draconian they might have been, was something that always strengthened my own resolve.

Toward the end of her time in Las Vegas, I attended the trial of the “Creech 14,” who had been arrested for stepping too close to the gate of Creech Air Force Base (where most of the U.S. drones are operated remotely) in order to protest the murders of people in other countries (including women and children) by people just north of Las Vegas. Sister Meghan (as well as the rest of the defendants) never backed down from her principles or recanted their beliefs as unjust, but simply made the argument that their actions were based on a duty to defend innocent people.

It seemed fairly obvious, that even the judge was sympathetic to their arguments, which included testimony from Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark on their behalf. Of course, when you are accused of challenging the government’s war machine, no judge will side against their employer and its biggest source of income, regardless of their potential sympathies for the accused. Especially in what was really a very minor case that was being used as a sort of show trial to discourage future activism against Creech’s drone murders. When I spoke to her after the trial on the phone, instead of being upset (like I was) or even disappointed that they were convicted, she was actually cheerful and talking about moving onto the next fight.

Transform Now Plowshares and the Oakridge Nuclear Facility – Pacifistic Terrorism

From left, Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli. (Photo: Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Not long after that, she left Nevada and shortly thereafter became involved in the biggest and most principled fight that anyone I know personally has ever undertaken. At a time when most people are relaxing in retirement, Sister Megan actually shut down a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

Along with Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, the (at the time) 82 year old nun entered the Oak Ridge (TN) National Laboratory, hung protest banners, poured blood on the walls, and spray-painted antiwar statements on buildings. The ease with which they entered what was supposed to be a highly secure nuclear weapons facility and the very public nature of it, this particular action not only challenged, but very much embarrassed the U.S. Government.

That public shaming of the United States’ war apparatus and it’s very lax security was their real “crime.” Outside of that, all the three pacifists had committed was trespassing and what would be a stretch to call vandalism, since no actual property was damaged. In spite of that, they were branded as “violent terrorists” by the Federal Government and charged with felony crimes. This was much more a case of saving face over the exposure of just how easy it would be for someone with real harmful intent to walk right onto a base filled with nuclear materials (they actually had to approach a security guard working there and alert him to their presence) than any real danger that they had ever created with their non-violent actions.

Square-bannerAs was the case in previous acts of civil disobedience, rather than back down from her convictions and beg her captors for leniency, Sr. Megan and the others reaffirmed their commitment to direct action and even informed the judge after their conviction that they would resume such activity upon release, stating that the only way to stop them from advocating for peace would be to give them a life sentence. At the time, they were in fact facing what amounted to an actual life sentence (a 30 year maximum), due to their ages.

Although it is still a travesty that she should have spent even a day in jail, the judge fortunately didn’t heed their advice in that respect and sentenced her to 35 months, along with sentencing Boertje-Obed and Walli to 62 months each. As the Daily News detailed earlier this year, Sister Megan has since been confined to a “Brooklyn hellhole,” crammed with 111 other women into an unsanitary, inhumane single room prison unit at the Metropolitan Federal Detention Center in New York City.

In spite of those deplorable conditions, Sister Megan responds with her typical strength and good cheer. Rather than complain, she makes her initial appearance for that interview serene and smiling and speaks of how the patience and endurance the beautiful women she lives with in the prison have become a “constant source of admiration and hope that change is possible.”

SecondSaturdayMay 047That sort of humility, determination, optimism, and caring spirit is what I noticed and admired almost immediately when I met Sister Megan. And it’s what has caused me to take inspiration from her and become determined myself to continue fighting for that change. Throughout my life and especially since I became involved in activist causes, I’ve been very fortunate to meet a variety of amazing and inspiring people that have left permanent impressions on me and helped to shape my character in a positive way. Sister Megan is someone I place among the top of that list. She and her fellow peaceful “terrorists” should be released right now, not so much because she personally needs or would likely ask for that on her own behalf, but rather because those of us out here need people like her standing with us.

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