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Innocent Man Framed For Murder by LVMPD Detectives and Las Vegas Prosecutors Freed After 22 Years in Prison

Demarlo Berry Released From Prison Innocence ProjectLast week, Demarlo Berry was released from a Nevada prison after serving 22 years for a murder he didn’t commit. He had been sentenced to life without parole in prison for a 1994 robbery at a Las Vegas Carl’s Jr. and the murder of Charles Burkes, the manager.

Based on media reports of his release, you would think that the Clark County District Attorney’s Office had supported and even played a significant role in his exoneration. That’s far from the truth, though.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

For years, Berry’s legal team has asserted that incredible trial testimony, as well as a written confession from another man in 2013, proves their client was wrongly convicted.

A Clark County judge on Wednesday signed the order of dismissal that secures the release. The Clark County district attorney’s office had agreed to dismiss the case Tuesday, following a monthslong (sic) investigation by members of the office’s newly formed conviction review unit.

Prosecutors for years had fought Berry’s claims of innocence with assertions of his guilt, but on Thursday they hailed the case as the first release resulting from the review unit established in October.

“They’ve finally done what we think they should have done all along,” (lawyer Craig) Coburn said.

For years, Coburn along with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project had been fighting to prove he had been falsely convicted. However, Las Vegas prosecutors had fought just as hard against his release. That includes even after the real killer confessed all the way back in 2013.

Steven Jackson, who has been in prison in California for a separate murder since 1996, had voluntarily confessed and in the process provided details only the person who had committed the crime could possibly know. In addition, a woman provided an independent statement that Jackson had confessed to her shortly after the murder occurred.

In fact, the reality is that district attorneys, along with police officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, manufactured witness testimony against Berry to ensure his conviction. As can be heard in the audio file embedded below (at approx. 6:30), that witness later recanted his claim that Berry had made a jailhouse confession.

In the process, Richard Iden also stated that detectives from the LVMPD coached him on what to say and provided him with details of the crime to bolster his testimony. As reward for that false testimony, Iden was given a favorable plea deal. He was also paid off with free plane tickets home to Ohio to visit his family, a free hotel room during the trial, and cash “per diem” payments.

Of course, while District Attorney Steve Wolfson is busy patting himself on the back for “causing the release of Demarlo Berry from prison after 22 years,” there’s been no mention whatsoever of any sort of accountability for the prosecutors and detectives who illegally manufactured evidence in order to put him there. Nor is there any mention of why it took four years after the real killer had admitted his own guilt before they finally decided to stop fighting that release.

And BTW, Nevada is one of eighteen states in the country that don’t provide any sort of compensation to people who have been exonerated after false convictions. So, unlike the guy the prosecutors paid off to provide false testimony at his trial, Berry will get nothing from the State of Nevada for the decades he was wrongfully imprisoned.

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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.

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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.

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