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Police Brutality Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Set to Premier in New York on Black Friday (Nov. 24th)

New York Premier What Happened in Vegas Cinema Village Theater

“What Happened in Vegas,” the documentary about corruption and police brutality within the LVMPD by Ramsey Denison, premiers in New York at Cinema Village on Friday, Nov. 24th.

New York Premier

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is set to open in New York City this week. The first showing of the movie about police brutality within the city of Las Vegas takes place at the Cinema Village Theater in East Manhattan on (Black) Friday, Nov. 24th at 7:00pm. Subsequent showtimes after the official theatrical premier can be found here.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas explores the extremely controversial killings of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police and the cover ups that followed. Several other instances of violent, racist, and/or outright criminal acts by members of the LVMPD are also featured to illustrate the overall systemic corruption within the department.

In the run up to the official opening, What Happened in Vegas has already begun receiving positive reviews by New York media. In a preview article entitled “A Filmmaker Reported Police Brutality in Las Vegas. So the Cops Arrested Him,” Daphne Howland of the Village Voice wrote:

Denison’s documentary What Happened in Vegas is more than a revenge project. He unveils a pattern of police malfeasance, including cover-ups and lies, through disturbing stories of unjustified deaths.

It’s a damning takedown of the city’s powers that be — casinos cozy with a sheriff willing to protect their interests, and a constabulary infected with a Wild West mentality, armed with military weaponry and prone to lies. He argues that those powers even abet a law enforcement debacle surrounding the recent mass shooting at an outdoor music festival that left 58 concertgoers dead and nearly 500 injured.

Denison keeps up the pace — those television skills coming in handy — and unpacks a lot. But he also allows in some light. There are plenty of Las Vegas police officers who want things to change, and Denison gives them, and the victims’ families, a voice.

(As mentioned within the review, What Happened in Vegas also addresses several questions and issues about the investigation surrounding the shootings from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock during the “Route 91 Festival” on Oct. 1st.)

The New York opening represents the first showing of the movie within commercial theaters. Prior to that, What Happened in Vegas enjoyed a very successful run of screenings at film festivals throughout the country.

After premiering to rave reviews at Cinequest in San Jose in March, What Happened in Vegas won several awards in subsequent festivals. Among those awards was Best Documentary at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival and the Grand Prize award at the Anthem Film Festival, which is hosted by FreedomFest here in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles, Las Vegas Showings, and Beyond

Next month, What Happened in Vegas will make its West Coast theatrical premier when it opens in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills on December 1st. BTW, word on the streets is that playing at the Laemmle Theaters is a “Secret Path to Oscar Qualifying” for independent films, short films, and documentaries that normally haven’t received the attention that big-budget, studio films are afforded. So, Joe Lombardo and the rest of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in theory could really get their ivory tower shook up by a cameo with a guy named Oscar come February. (#JusSayin)

Speaking of the LVMPD and appearances they desperately don’t want to happen, outside of the two festival appearances previously mentioned, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is not a lack of interest. In fact, two different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

However, in both cases that interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s been reported that they even received visits from representatives of the LVMPD to help them make that decision. Sources I’ve been in contact with have also told me that Metro has issued a memo to all of their officers directing them not to discuss What Happened in Vegas publicly.

Regardless of that, plans are for the movie to show theatrically within the city of Las Vegas, one way or another, at some point after the New York and Los Angeles premiers. In the meantime, What Happened in Vegas is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Body Cam Video of Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder by Officer Kenneth Lopera

The LVMPD’s Shifting Timeline for the Oct. 1st Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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Update: Las Vegas Police Officer Previously Caught Committing Perjury Promoted (Again) to Captain

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Capt. Yasenia Yatomi, who ordered the illegal arrest of Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs in order to question a suspect without his attorney present and then lied about it under oath.

Normally, once you know the actual background of the subject of Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV.com‘s “feel good story” about a female LVMPD officer receiving a promotion, its opening line would be rather ironic:

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s newest captain is beating the odds…”

Of course, in this situation we’re talking about a cop and more specifically a Las Vegas cop. So any sort of amazement or disbelief in relation to their horrible and even outright illegal behavior on the job and lack of any sort of meaningful consequences should always be immediately and completely suspended.

The true fact of the matter is that if newly promoted Captain Yatomi was employed in any other sort of career field just the fact that she wasn’t fired after she was caught in court committing perjury in order to justify ordering the illegal arrest of a lawyer would have huge odds against it.

In fact, it could be argued that, even among the police in most cities outside of the Las Vegas area, being exposed (once again in court) as having falsified an official police report would also carry pretty good odds of landing a police officer in jail.

What’s not mentioned at all within that article is that Capt. Yatomi has a rather large and infamous history of misconduct over the past several years. As can be seen in the video embedded below, in 2013 then Sgt. Yatomi, as part of the LVMPD Gang Task Force, arrived at a traffic stop in which members of a motorcycle club, the “Bikers for Christ,” were being questioned by a group of Metro patrol officers.

In spite of the fact that one of the detained bikers had asked Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney who was present at the time, to represent him during that questioning, Yatomi immediately ordered him to leave. Stubbs refused to do so, explaining that the man had a Fifth Amendment right to counsel. Instead of honoring that request, Yatomi ordered the arrest of Stubbs for “obstruction.”

Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

That, in and of itself, would be a violation of the Constitution and, based on that, an illegal arrest of an attorney who had every legal right to represent their client during questioning. At the very least, it should have brought into question Yatomi’s knowledge of the law and her (rather important) job requirement to actually be aware of and uphold the Constitutional rights of citizens. The fact she was in a supervisory position as a sergeant only compounds those factors.

However, rather than dismissing the charges and admitting to being in the wrong, Yatomi subsequently created a second police report with a falsified description of the arrest, alleging that Stubbs had actively interfered with the officers’ investigation. Fortunately for Stubbs, a bystander had filmed the entire incident. Otherwise, he likely would have been sentenced to jail and possibly even disbarred as a result of Yatomi’s false report.

Instead, once the video was shown in court, Stubbs was declared innocent by Judge Eric Goodman. That video evidence was convincing enough that Stubbs was not even required to present a defense. It gets even worse, though. Not only did Yatomi lie in the police report she presented to prosecutors, she also withheld the original police report in order to cover for her illegal actions. Since a police report constitutes a sworn statement, both the falsification of the second report and the withholding of the first are criminal acts.

Regardless of this blatant and obvious string of crimes Yatomi had committed, she suffered exactly zero repercussions for her intentional illegal actions. Judge Goodman refused to hold her in contempt for having committed perjury and evidence tampering within his courtroom, ruling that it was up to the LVMPD to file charges against her. And you know that didn’t happen, because Metro is known as the most corrupt police department in the country for a reason.

In fact, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has not only reached new lows in failing to hold Yatomi accountable in any way for her crimes, they’ve rewarded her quite handsomely for them. As shown in the video embedded below, in 2016 Yatomi was promoted to lieutenant. As part of that promotion Lt. Yatomi, who had been publicly exposed as a perjurer that withheld evidence in order to justify an illegal and unconstitutional arrest, was placed in charge of Metro’s internal affairs division (the department that investigates cops accused of misconduct).

And now, just four years after knowingly and intentionally committing multiple felonies in order to justify an illegal arrest, Yasenia Yatomi has “beaten the odds” by being promoted to the rank of captain and put in charge of the Bolden Area Command. That certainly inspires confidence that the LVMPD has cleaned up their act and can now be trusted to hold their officers accountable. I feel safer already.

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

Previous Posts on NVCopBlock.org About Capt. Yasenia Yatomi:

  1. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  2. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding
  3. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  6. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side
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Update: Two Years Later the TSA is STILL Keeping You Safe Five Percent of the Time

Transportation Security Administration TSA Failed 95 Percent

Once again, TSA inspectors have failed to find 95% of the mock weapons sent through checkpoints by Homeland Security agents working undercover.

Just over two years ago, in June of 2015, I posted about tests Homeland Security had run at airports across the country. In those tests, undercover agents were sent through pre-boarding checkpoints run by the Transportation Security Administration. (Video from that original post is embedded below.)

Those agents carried realistic looking weapons and explosive devices past TSA screeners in order to determine how often the “weapons” would be detected. This included replicas of pistols, knives, nunchucks, tasers, ammunition, and even defused hand grenades.

Out of 70 items that should have been stopped, TSA screeners found a grand total of three of them. As I noted, at the time that translates to a failure rate of 95%. Not exactly a number that will make you feel happy as you stand in the giant line at the security checkpoint next time you fly somewhere.

Surely they’ve addressed those issues in those 2+ years and improved dramatically, though. After all, you could seemingly stumble into a higher level of success just by randomly guessing which passengers have some sort of contraband in their luggage. Right?

Not so much, according to the Washington Times:

Undercover federal agents successfully snuck drugs and explosives past security screeners at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week, according to the local Fox affiliate.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducted the test last Thursday by sending agents disguised as ordinary passengers into the airport in order to see if screeners were up to snuff, KMSP reported.

The TSA “red team” attempted to smuggle 18 different items past airport security that should easily be detected but prevailed almost every time, the Fox affiliate reported.

“In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items through. 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected,” KMSP reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the operation.
In fact, it could have even been worse this time:

The security test was ultimately abandoned once the TSA’s failure rate reached 95 percent, the station reported.

So, before the Mercy Rule was invoked, the TSA screeners in Minneapolis had successfully found a weapon being smuggled onto a plane once. Which, like 2015, equates to just five percent of the time.

Basically, when you eliminate groping people; especially underage passengers, taking lewd photos of unsuspecting women, and stealing shit out of your luggage, they just aren’t very proficient at what they do. (To be fair, they do seem to be pretty good at finding spare change passengers being subjected to their ineffectual security theater leave behind.)

Truth be told, they actually couldn’t be much less useful (and would be quite a bit less annoying and exploitative) if they just slept through their shift, like the guy in the picture at the top of this post.

Minneapolis – St. Paul TSA Screeners Fail Yet Again

Successful Five Percent of the Time in 2015

Groping People to Keep You Safe Almost Never

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Second Body Cam Video of Baltimore Police Planting Drugs Then “Finding” Them Has Surfaced

Baltimore Police Department Planting Drugs Video

For the second time in a matter of weeks, body camera footage has been released showing officers from the Baltimore Police Department planting drugs. In both videos, the planting of that evidence was exposed by a feature of the body cams that causes them to begin saving video thirty seconds prior to the point where they are manually activated. This video is from November 2016, while the earlier one dates from January of this year.

In this latest video to surface, police were conducting a traffic stop in which they were profiling drivers in an effort to make drug arrests. After claiming to have seen the passenger in Shamere Collins’ vehicle making a drug sale, the police stopped them. However, after a thorough search, no drugs were found anywhere in the car.

The body cam video of that initial search includes audio of one officer stating that there would be “negative consequences” if they didn’t find drugs and thereby couldn’t arrest someone. After that, the cops for no apparent reason all turned their body cameras off.

What followed, according to CBS News.com:

When the cameras come back on, an officer is seen squatting by the driver’s side of the suspect’s car, apparently unaware that he’s being recorded.

He then stands up and steps back. About 30 seconds pass, and another officer approaches the car, then squats down and pulls out a bag of drugs.

Although the charges were thrown out once the public defender representing her got ahold of this video, Collins and her boyfriend, who was the passenger were charged with possession of opiates and marijuana, as a result. According to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, dozens more cases that involve this group of officers could also be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis maintained that this is no reason for the public to “jump to conclusions” or make “heavy allegations” about police misconduct based on the video. Because concluding that something suspicious was going on after all the cops turned their cameras off right after one of them expressed concerns about getting in trouble if they didn’t find any drugs to justify an arrest, then video (that the cops didn’t expect to be recorded) showing one cop crouching next to the car, followed by body cam video (that they did expect to be recorded) of a different cop easily finding drugs in that same area after it had already been thoroughly searched is quite a jump.

Of course, this also comes on the heals of the previously released video (embedded below), which is even more damning. In that video, Officer Richard Pinheiro can be clearly seen putting a bag inside a can on a pile of debris in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, accompanied by two other officers who have not been named.

After activating the camera, he proceeds to walk back down the alley as one of the unnamed officers can be heard laughing behind him. Miraculously, he manages to quickly zero in on the can shortly after searching through the debris pile. He then pulls out the bag that he unwittingly recorded himself planting to reveal that it is filled with pills.

The man who was arrested as a result spent over seven months in jail awaiting trial before this video was made public and his charges were thrown out. So far, thirty-four other cases have also been thrown out and as many as fifty-five more could be, as well. Officer Pinheiro was (only) suspended for his actions, while the two other officers that watched (and laughed) as he planted evidence have received no punishment at all.

Not Isolated Incidents

These incidents don’t represent the only times that the Baltimore police have been under scrutiny for manufacturing evidence and manipulating body cameras. In March, all seven members of an “elite task force” that targets illegal weapons and drug crimes were indicted on racketeering charges for robberies that included completely innocent people of cash and filing false paperwork to get paid for overtime they didn’t actually work. In the process, they also falsified search warrants to justify detentions and traffic stops against their intended targets. As they were performing these “shake downs,” officers were known to have turned off their body cameras.

Nor is this the first confirmed instance of body camera footage being falsified to show police finding evidence against suspects. In May of this year, charges were dropped against a man in Colorado after a cop in Pueblo admitted he staged a video of himself  finding heroin and a gun in his car. In that case, Officer Seth Jensen claimed that he was merely “reenacting” his legitimate discovery of the evidence.

An “Unintended Consequence” of Transparency?

Given all of that, it’s rather interesting that in the CBS News video embedded below (beginning at about 3:45) correspondent Jeff Pegues characterizes the issue as a “downside of video transparency” and an “unintended consequence” of police wearing body cameras. Apparently, on his planet these type of incidents aren’t an argument for increased scrutiny and transparency, but rather a problem for “police departments that have to defend themselves against this type of policing.”

Obviously, I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t just trust these cops and accept their word. It would be crazy if cops didn’t have the ability to freely plant evidence without being detected and police departments had no incentive to eliminate “this type of policing.” That freedom to just arrest whoever they want and make up a reason undoubtedly would make their tough jobs so much easier.

Watch him throw it into the floorboards

BPD Officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs

CBS News coverage of  the latest incident:

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After Officer Mohammed Noor Shot Justine Damond Minneapolis Police Got A Search Warrant For Her House

Justine Damond Officer Mohamed Noor Minneapolis Police

For some inexplicable reason Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor “feared for his life” when him and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity were approached by an unarmed 40 year old woman wearing pajamas. The Minneapolis Police Department’s equally ridiculous response to Noor shooting Justine Damond, whose “crime” was calling the police to report a potential sexual assault, was to go out and get a search warrant for Damond’s house.

According to a description of the search warrant posted at KSTP.com, the intent seems to have been to find evidence of drug usage or some sort of written statements by Damond:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators were granted permission to search Justine Damond’s home hours after she was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer, according to court records.

A criminal law expert can’t understand why.

“I don’t understand why they’re looking for bodily fluids inside her home,” said Joseph Daly, an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, referring to one of two recently-released search warrant applications.

“Whose bodily fluids are they looking for? Is she a suspect? I don’t understand why they’re looking for controlled substances inside her home. I don’t understand why they’re looking for writings inside her home. The warrant does not explain that to me.”

“When I read that search warrant, I really cannot find probable cause to search her home,” he continued.

According to court documents, investigators applied for the warrant on the following grounds:

  • The property or things above-described was used as a means of committing a crime
  • The possession of the property or things above-described constitutes a crime.
  • The property or things above-described is in the possession of a person with intent to use such property as a means of committing a crime, or the property or things so intended to be used are in the possession of another to whom they have been delivered for the purpose of concealing them or preventing their being discovered.
  • The property or things above-described constitutes evidence which tends to show a crime has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a crime.

Asked if that means the BCA considers Damond to be a suspect, spokesperson Jill Oliveira replied via email:

“No, an individual involved in the incident.”

Daly, who said he has served as a visiting professor at the University of Queensland in Damond’s native Australia, believes concerned members of the public in both countries will be outraged by the BCA’s request to search the home.

Instead of investigating Noor’s deadly actions, the first reaction to a completely unjustifiable murder by a police officer against an innocent woman was to go and file for a search warrant for her house. The focus of that search on the victim rather than the shooter, along with the statements about Damond being “panicked” during her 911 calls, Noor being startled by a loud noise, and the references to ambushes of police officers tells you what their true intent was in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

They were hoping to find something to smear her name with and make it appear that she was acting irrationally or in some way that could somehow be construed as threatening. Just for good measure, they’ve also made sure to say that a cell phone was found near her body, so they can claim he thought she was holding a gun. As is common practice for police departments when one of their own kills an innocent person, they were already setting up a scenario where Damond had caused her own death.

Meanwhile, Noor reportedly feels that his Brothas in Blue have “thrown him under the bus.” According to an anonymous friend, “His colleagues are accusing him of not showing proper police conduct on Saturday night.” To be fair, cops will normally support one of their own, regardless of how heinous and obvious their crime might be. However, it’s a bit hard to argue with anyone that says that shooting an innocent, unarmed woman is proper conduct.

In another development last week, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has been forced to resign by Mayor Betsy Hodges. It’s been a bad couple weeks in the arena of public opinion for Chief Harteau. In rapid succession, she has had another murderous cop get off after shooting Philando Castile and video surface an officer executing a family’s pet dogs.

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