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Nevada Police Have Received $11.8M Worth of Military Gear

Ferguson Militarized Police

Nobody really saw much of a difference.

After the heavy-handed and overzealous response to protesters by Ferguson police put the militarization of police in a national spotlight, it is becoming increasingly apparent just how much of a dotted line the boundary between the police and military has become over the past few years.

As Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate reports, Nevada police departments have been doing their share of feeding at the trough of leftovers generated by Washington’s perpetual wars over the past 20+ years:

“RENO, Nev. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies in Nevada have accumulated $11.8 million worth of military gear from the Pentagon through a surplus program under increasing scrutiny since the police response to protests over the killing of an unarmed Missouri teenager.

Defense Department records show over the past 17 years Nevada officers have received about 300 semi-automatic rifles, a half dozen mine-resistant and armored vehicles, three helicopters and a pair of grenade launchers.

Picture Taken BEFORE the National Guard Troops Arrived in Ferguson

Picture Taken BEFORE the National Guard Troops Arrived in Ferguson

Tod Story, head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada , says the militarization of local police sends the wrong signal to communities where officers are supposed to protect residents, “not assault them.”

Washoe County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon says the Huey helicopter worth nearly $1 million they obtained in 1997 has helped save many lives during rescue and firefighting missions.”

 

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Active Duty Soldier with PTSD Shot and Killed by Reno/Sparks Police

Kenneth Stafford, who was killed by Reno police in June of 2013

Kenneth Stafford, who was killed by Reno police in June of 2013

This post was received via submission (included in its entirety below the video) from Terry A. Colgrove, who is the mother of Kenneth J. Stafford, a soldier from the Reno area that was killed by the police in Sparks, NV (a suburb of Reno), while suffering a PTSD-related episode on July 11th, 2013. His wife had called 911 to report that he was suicidal and, as has increasingly become the case when people call the police for help with medical or mental health issues, police responded by killing him.

Note: Currently, there is a FaceBook page, entitled “Justice for Kenneth Jewel Stafford,” where you can connect with his family and find out more about the case. In addition, there is a GoFundMe account that has been set up to collect donations for his family.

With the never-ending middle east wars and the amount of soldiers returning from them with mental health issues, such as PTSD, cases of veterans being killed by police have been on the rise and increasingly in the spotlight. Here in Las Vegas, inadequate care by the VA and the inability of the police to deal with PTSD sufferers was one of the main factors that led to the murder of Stanley Gibson, a veteran from the first Persian Gulf War, by Jesus Arevalo, who was an officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department until they “fired” him one week before announcing that he would be collecting $30,000/yr. for the rest of his life, because murdering Stanley had caused him to be stressed out.

While researching the submission, I found an article from shortly after Kenneth Stafford was shot. The video from that article is embedded below. The article is a little vague on details, but includes this statement from the police:

“According to Washoe County Officials, while officers were attempting to negotiate with Stafford, officers opened fire. Authorities have not said what prompted police to shoot him, that’s still under investigation.”

PTSD is becoming an epidemic among veterans.

PTSD is becoming an epidemic among veterans.

To say the least, that leaves a lot of questions about why “officers opened fire,” especially when the police have a tendency to claim the people they shot were making some sort of threatening gesture or movement immediately after they kill someone. Other questions brought up in the video include why Stafford’s wife (who states that she begged them not to hurt him during the 911 call), mother, and a very close family friend were prevented from talking to him.

Another article, from June of 2014, references the final report from the DA (which they “forgot” to notify the family of) and provides an explanation that is a little (but not much) less questionable. In the report, the DA declared Kenneth Stafford’s shooting justified, in part based on the commonly used “Argument from Authority” (I.E. you’re not a cop, so you don’t know) and partly because all five cops shot at Kenneth:

According to reports, Kenneth Stafford, an active military member on leave, left the home he was visiting in Sparks with a shotgun. 11 minutes after police made contact with the 27 year old Army soldier, officers say negotiations weren’t successful.

In the final report Washoe County District Attorney, Richard Gammick determined the shooting to be justified under all applicable laws.

Stafford’s wife, Aimee doesn’t accept that decision, “I don’t see anything about that situation that was justifiable, um he was shot 15, 14 or 15 times. There’s no need for that ad the places he was shot, there’s no need for that.”

The autopsy report reveals 14 bullets hit Stafford, in his forehead, neck, chest, abdomen, ankle, knee and thigh.

Gammick says, “The officers have to make a call. Unless you’ve warn the badge, unless you’ve been out there and confronted people with weapons, you don’t understand that those decisions are made in split seconds, it’s not something you can 20/20 hindsight and spend the next four months analyzing.”

Prior to officers opening fire, reports indicate that police requested a less lethal device, “Officers requested a 40mm launcher, which would have had a mid-range potential solution,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

That device was never used and officers say Stafford escalated his behavior “to the point of quickly turning towards the officers in the backyard in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them.”

Calling the cops can get someone killed

Calling the cops can get someone killed

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen says the audio and video captured that day illustrates that all five shooting officers reacted simultaneously firing 22 shots, 14 of them hitting Stafford.

“The fact that all the officers on scene perceived the same thing at the same moment really they all took independent and justifiable actions against Mr. Stafford. The fact that there are 22 rounds, if you take the number of officers involved it’s a relatively low number of rounds per officer,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

Another thing revealed within that article is that the cops who shot Kenneth Stafford that day were given awards for doing so, something that had been a fairly trendy practice with cases of questionable shootings for a while. That has kinda tailed off lately though, after it became a point of criticism, for what should be obvious reasons.


Note: This is the statement received from Kenneth Stafford’s mother with the only editing being some obvious spelling and punctuation mistakes and the insertion of paragraph breaks where appropriate. Any legal or factual claims made within the block quotes are solely attributable to Ms. Calgrove and have not been verified by anyone involved with NVCopBlock.org or CopBlock.org.

kenny-and-fam-at-the-space-needle

Kenneth J. Stafford and his family

My son, SPC Kenneth J. Stafford, was being treated for PTSD at his duty station Joint Base Lewis McChord in Fort Lewis, Washington. He came home with his family on leave around the 4th of July, which was the 1 year anniversary of his brother in law’s murder that the police still haven’t solved. They are trying to say it was gang related, because of the area he lived in and the people he hung around.

My son and his family were pulled over a couple of times in the first week they where home and harassed by the Reno police, because they were in the area and the cops knew who they were. Then with the Travon Martin case and the fireworks my son kept getting angrier and angrier. I have never seen him so angry in his life. I didn’t know what PTSD was until he came home and I looked it up. Only because I asked his wife what was going on and she told me about it, but she said she didn’t know what it was either. Here she is living with him and seeing the changes in him and she didn’t know what it was.

He was in contact with his doctor for the first week he was here and things weren’t as bad as the last few days of his life. Then, his phone broke and he couldn’t call his doctor anymore. Prior to that, he was calling him four or five times a day. I told his wife she needed to call his Sergeant or doctor and let them know how bad he was getting and needed help, but she said she didn’t have the numbers. I told her to get on line and look them up on their phone bill. Then she said she didn’t want him mad at her. I told her do you want him mad at you or dead. She never called them.

Kenneth Stafford's Birthday was Aug. 17th

Kenneth Stafford’s Birthday was Aug. 17th

On the morning that he was killed July 11, 2013 he had been up for about 72 hours and was getting paranoid. He asked me for a gun. I told him I didn’t own one and asked him why he needed one. He said he wanted it for protection. I asked him protection from what and he just said, “do you have one or not?” I called the VA hospital to try to get help they told me because he wasn’t in their system we needed to bring him in or call the police and let them know what was going on and then they could bring him in. The VA convinced me the cops were trained and wouldn’t hurt him.

I called his wife and told her what they said she said he was calm and eating lunch and watching a movie with his girls.  However, 15 minutes later she called me and said he had a gun and that she had called 911. He didn’t threaten her with it was just showing it to her and she freaked out screaming and then he got mad and started walking down the street. The cops found him 3 blocks away in a backyard by himself.

I drove down to where they were and asked the cops to let me talk to him, but they wouldn’t let me. Instead, they lied to me and said there Sparks  Policewas a military negotiator with him. They asked me his name and race. I said, “he is mixed” and Deena a friend of  Kenny’s wife, Aimee, yelled “he’s black, they consider him black.” I didn’t understand why they would ask his race. A few minutes, later a cop ran up to me saying Kenny wanted a cigarette. Before the cop got halfway back with the cigarette, about 10 cops opened fired and shot and killed him.

The Washoe County Sheriff Office is the department handling the investigation. It has currently been over 10 months and we still haven’t got any answers. I don’t know if we ever will, but his wife is still calling three times a week. We are not going away. The army did a investigation, but they haven’t told us anything either. The cops keep telling us its an open investigation,but I don’t think they will ever close it because they knew they where in the wrong killing my son. I feel cops shouldn’t be investigating cops. We need that changed. We need a civilian investigation board. The VA needs to be able to help whether or not they are in their system. Wen people call for help they need help right away.

All we want is answers to why the cops feel they needed to kill him why then couldn’t of disarmed him tasered him or something else. The cops need to be retrained and held accountable for their actions. Something needs be be done and they need to be stopped they aren’t any better than a criminal.

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“Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights

Stop and ID Statutes Map States Nevada Cop Block

Everyone should know their rights regardless, but it’s even more essential that you do if you intend to go out and film the police. Therefore, you should know if the state you live in has passed “stop and identify” statutes. If that is the case, then you should also know what is and isn’t required under such laws.

In 24 states police may require you to identify yourself. (If they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.)

“Stop and identify” statutes are laws in the United States that allow police to detain persons and request such persons to identify themselves, and arrest them if they do not.

Except when driving, the requirement to identify oneself does not require a person who has been detained to provide physical identification. Verbally giving identifying information is sufficient to satisfy that requirement.

In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall into three general categories: consensual (“contact” or “conversation”), detention (often called a Terry stop), or arrest. “Stop and identify” laws pertain to detentions.

Consensual

At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. However, the person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time.

Police are not usually required to tell a person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his business. A person can usually determine whether or not the interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”

Detention

Police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Embedded below are videos from Flex Your Rights describing what reasonable suspicion is and when you are required to provide ID to the police. Police may question a person detained in a Terry stop, but in general, the detainee is not required to answer.[10] However, many states have “stop and identify” laws that explicitly require a person detained under the conditions of Terry to identify himself to police, and in some cases, provide additional information. (As of February 2011, the Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of requirements that a detainee provide information other than his name.)

Arrest

A detention requires only that police have reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in criminal activity. However, to make an arrest, an officer must have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. Some states require police to inform the person of the intent to make the arrest and the cause for the arrest. But it is not always obvious when a detention becomes an arrest. After making an arrest, police may search a person, his or her belongings.

Variations in “stop and identify” laws

  • Five states’ laws (Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, and Ohio) explicitly impose an obligation to provide identifying information.
  • Fourteen states grant police authority to ask questions, with varying wording, but do not explicitly impose an obligation to respond:
  • In Montana, police “may request” identifying information;
  • In 12 states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin), police “may demand” identifying information;
  • In Colorado, police “may require” identifying information of a person.
  • Identifying information varies, but typically includes
  • Name, address, and an explanation of the person’s actions;
  • In some cases it also includes the person’s intended destination, the person’s date of birth (Indiana and Ohio), or written identification if available (Colorado).
  • Arizona’s law, apparently written specifically to codify the holding in Hiibel, requires a person’s “true full name”.
  • Nevada’s law, which requires a person to “identify himself or herself”, apparently requires only that the person state his or her name.
  • In five states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), failure to identify oneself is one factor to be considered in a decision to arrest. In all but Rhode Island, the consideration arises in the context of loitering or prowling.
  • Seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont) explicitly impose a criminal penalty for noncompliance with the obligation to identify oneself.
  • Virginia makes it a non-jailable misdemeanor to refuse to identify oneself to a conservator of the peace when one is at the scene of a breach of the peace witnessed by that conservator.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

When Are You Required to Provide ID to the Police?

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