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Update: Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Charged With Defrauding Elderly Couple of Over $700,000

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton is facing charges relating to defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton, along with three other people, is facing charges relating to the defrauding of an elderly Las Vegas couple.

In August of last year, I reported on Lt. Tom Melton, the commander of one of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT teams. At that time, it had just been announced publicly that Melton was under investigation in relation to the financial exploitation of an elderly couple.

As part of that exploitation Lt. Melton persuaded a court to name him as legal guardian and trustee for a couple named Jerome and Beverly Flaherty. On February 14, Melton was was indicted on charges of defrauding an 87 year old widow, who suffered from dementia.

According to the charging documents, he also deceived a court into believing that Beverly Flaherty was still alive after she had died in order to gain control over several of her accounts and then name himself as the beneficiary. One of the couple’s accounts Melton stole from in this manner was the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

All told, Lt. Melton was able to steal over $700,000 from Beverly Flaherty and her husband Jerome, both of whom are dead now. In addition, he’s accused of stealing a Ford Explorer. The fraud reportedly took place between December 2010 and May 2017.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Lt. Tom Melton a SWAT team commander at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Commander Lt. Tom Melton

In order to facilitate that fraud, Melton hired April Parks, the corrupt and abusive owner of a private for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons, were also indicted along with Melton for defrauding the Flahertys.

The three of them were already facing over 200 felony charges related to taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision. A fifth person, Gary Neal Taylor, who was not indicted in Melton’s case, is also facing seven felony charges for similar crimes he committed in conjunction with Parks, Simpson, and Simmons.

The individual charges include (Melton uses his middle name):

  • Lt. James Thomas Melton: Two counts Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category B), one count Theft (category C), seven counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Grand Larceny Auto (category C), two counts Perjury (category D)
  • April Parks: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), six counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)
  • Mark Simmons: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C)
  • Noel Palmer Simpson: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category C), eight counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)

Local Media Coverage

Parks, Simmons, Simpson, and Taylor are all scheduled to begin trial on their previous charges in May of this year. It’s not clear yet exactly when Lt. Melton will be facing trial. However, since the charges are felonies he will no longer be collecting his $300,000+ yearly salary, like he had been while on paid vacation since the formal investigation began last July.

I will update you once again whenever Lt. Melton receives the inevitable plea deal that will allow him to be sentenced to probation.

Original Investigation Report

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Was Las Vegas Cop Who Guarded Stephen Paddock’s Door at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st “Set Up” on Sex Charges?

One of the officers assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's door after they (finally) entered his room was Officer Bret Theil

    Bret Theil, one of the LVMPD officers that (eventually) entered Stephen Paddock’s room, was arrested for sexual abuse of a child, leading to speculation of ulterior motives for those charges.

Yesterday, I did a post about LVMPD Officer Bret Theil, the latest in a long and fast growing line of Las Vegas cops facing charges related to violence against women and/or sex crimes. He was indicted on Wednesday on over two dozen counts related to the sexual abuse of a child. That child is reportedly a family member and a according to several sources that abuse began when the victim was only seven years old.

Theil was arrested after an armed standoff with a Las Vegas SWAT team that began Wednesday night and didn’t end until early Thursday morning. As I reported yesterday, this was the second Metro cop that was involved in a “barricade situation” within the past week. There have also been over a half dozen Las Vegas area police officers involved in some sort of crime against women just since the beginning of this year.

Since that story was posted though, some additional information about Officer Theil has surfaced. The nature of that new information has led to a lot of speculation and theories about those charges being some sort of retaliation or method of “keeping him quiet” by Las Vegas police and the MGM corporation.

Did He See/Do Something He Shouldn’t Have?

It turns out that Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Based on the LVMPD’s Force Investigation Team (who are usually assigned to investigate when Metro police officers kill someone) report, Theil and another officer named Burns were assigned to guard the door to the suite Paddock had been staying at.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

LVMPD report shows Officer Bret Theil was assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's room at the Mandalay Bay.

LVMPD report naming Theil as one of the officers that guarded Stephen Paddock’s door. (Click for full size)

So the theory goes that Theil saw or was somehow involved in something shady that happened during the October 1st shootings. Variations of the theory are that he was set up with the sexual assault charges either to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw or to retaliate for some unspecified thing he did since then. The basics are that Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM ownership want to destroy his credibility and/or scare him into not talking.

Personally, I think there are some real holes in that theory, though. The first would be that if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. They pretty much have nothing to lose at that point.

So why wouldn’t they go ahead and tell everything they knew to anyone that would listen? Of course, the other side of this coin is that the nature of the charges would ruin his so no-one would listen. The truth is though that someone will always be willing to listen if you are telling them something they want to hear. Plus, if you’re trying to pull attention away from something that’s a terrible strategy, even if most people won’t believe it.

Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is easily the best way to do that. If a big part of your argument against Metro’s handling of the Mandalay Bay investigation is that they control investigations and cover-up facts (which is actually very true), then it follows that he would be very dead right now if they were trying to keep him quiet.

And, by extension, nobody who would want to question it would be given access to evidence that would enable them to raise those questions. The fact that they didn’t just shoot him like they do with most people that get involved in armed standoffs, but aren’t cops, tends to counter that argument that they were “out to get him.” Instead, Theil will live to get his beneficial plea deal and serve the probation he is likely to be sentenced to.

The other much more pragmatic reason why I don’t believe Officer Thiel was set up is the fact that it wasn’t a case of child porn being found on his computer or in his possession. (The fact that police claim to have found child porn on Paddock’s computer and that his brother is facing child porn charges in California is something that has factored into the theories.) Something like that could conceivably be planted on his computer.

However, these allegations are that he preyed on an actual known person and that person was a very young child. I believe those two factors make it very unlikely (not at all impossible, though) that he was just set up with false charges. I personally think the reality is that there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD and such a total lack of any sort of accountability (as well as within other departments nationwide) that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

What Happened in Vegas?

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, the movie 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.

A portion of that documentary is also devoted to the shootings that happened at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st. Among other things, it explores the reasons why Sheriff Joe Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been so willing to cover up and even lie about what happened.

It also ties those irregularities within the Mandalay Bay shooting investigation to the similar motives for the cover-ups of the murders of Cole, Scott, Gibson, and Farmer-Brown. As pointed out in the movie by director Ramsey Denison, by and large it’s a matter of liability and pressure from the casinos to assure tourists they should feel safe and continue coming to Las Vegas, since that is the single major industry within the city.

Of course, there’s also a fair amount of incompetence and corruption among the police themselves that has to be factored into that. That holds true with the investigation around the Mandalay Bay Shooting as well. They were already holding press conferences before the investigation had hardly even begun painting themselves as heroes and assuring everyone that there was only one shooter and that he was dead.

After that, they didn’t want to talk about the fact their officers stood around in a hallway outside the room of a man who had already fired on a defenseless crowd (and a security guard in that same hallway) or anything else that contradicted those narratives.

What Happened in Vegas” is currently available on DVD or Video on Demand (VOD) if you want to learn more about just how corrupt (and violent) the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is and what their role has been in the cover-up surrounding the October 1st shooting you can order it at WhatHappenedInVegasTheMovie.com by clicking here.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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LVMPD Officer Charged with Sexual Assault of Child is Second Vegas Cop Involved in Armed Standoff Within Week

SWAT standoff at Cold Creek Canyon area with accused pedophile Officer Bret Theil

Las Vegas Police Officer Bret Theil, who was indicted on over a dozen charges of sex abuse against a child, engaged in an armed standoff with SWAT overnight Wednesday.

On Wednesday (Feb. 7), it was announced that Officer Bret Theil, who has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 1998, had been indicted on charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. After his indictment was announced, Theil was involved in an armed standoff with LVMPD SWAT teams.

Update: Coincidentally (?), Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Obviously, that has led to speculation that Theil was set up with the sexual assault charges to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw. (Click here to view LVMPD report listing Officer Theil as one of two officers assigned to guard door to Paddock’s suite.)

Personally, I think if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. The pretty much have nothing to lose at that point. Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is about the best way to do that.

Basically, there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

That standoff took place at Corn Creek Canyon, a camping/hiking area about 23 miles outside of Las Vegas. Officer Theil lives in the suburb of North Las Vegas and the NLV police were initially conducting the standoff until it was determined he was an LVMPD officer and Metro took over. Beginning late Wednesday night, the “barricade situation” continued until early Thursday morning. Theil was described as being armed and suicidal.

Not many other details have been released about the standoff at this point. However, it was confirmed that Officer Theil was (of course) taken into custody without injury. He was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. From there he will be transferred to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC).

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Not very many details have been released regarding the charges he was indicted on earlier in the day, either. It was reported that he was facing charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. The victim of those crimes, which took place over the span of several years, was also a family member. In addition, local media has reported that the victim had been receiving unspecified threats via email after Theil was notified of the impending indictment.

Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was arrested during SWAT standoff on charges of sexually assaulting a child

SWAT standoff with LVMPD Officer Bret Theil

Currently, he faces six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

The charges were filed by North Las Vegas police and include felony charges that carry the possibility of life sentences if he is convicted. Of course, the fact he is a cop means he will likely receive a very generous plea bargain offer. He’s probably more likely to receive probation than a long prison sentence. (As always, I’ll be following the case and providing updates.)

Metro Officer Involved in Domestic Disturbance

As indicated by the title of this post, Officer Theil apparently wasn’t the only cop to engage in an armed standoff within the past week. On Super Bowl Sunday, there was another incident in which a “suicidal man armed with multiple guns” barricaded himself in his house and also had to be coaxed out by a SWAT team. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that he also was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. There was no indication of what (or if) he would be charged with criminally.

Neither the LVMPD nor local media have officially identified the man involved yet. However, sources have stated that he is Metro Officer Jeffery M. Arrigo. Those sources also said that this standoff was the result of a domestic disturbance. Not surprisingly, given the high percentage of domestic violence among police (and the cover ups involved), Officer Arrigo already has a previous history of domestic abuse. In September of 2015, he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

Other Recent Incidents

It’s been a busy past couple of months for Las Vegas police officers involving sexual crimes and crimes against women:

And that’s just since the beginning of this year.

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Update: Details Revealed About Evidence, Previous Arrests of Las Vegas Ex-Cop Finally Charged in 1997 Rape and Murder

Previous Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer Murder

At a preliminary hearing, court documents revealed LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall already had a criminal history before the 1997 rape and murder he was finally charged with in January.

Last week, I wrote about former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr., who was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. The original story was that a “lack of funding” prevented the testing of the Iverson’s rape kit and other DNA evidence from the crime scene. Presumably, that made it impossible to prosecute him at the time from a lack of evidence.

After receiving a grant from the New York District Attorney’s Office, the rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016. Then, in February of 2017, Sewall’s DNA was positively matched to that rape kit. As a result, Officer Sewall was finally charged with rape and murder earlier this month (Jan. 10th).

A sample of Sewall’s DNA had actually been available since 1999, when he was sentenced to (just) probation for a separate arrest on multiple on duty sex crimes, and he was accused by prosecutors of Iverson’s murder the very same day her body was found. Once again though, since they couldn’t scrape together the cash to test that one rape kit, Sewall was able to avoid prosecution for twenty-plus years.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

When he was eventually arrested  last month Sewall essentially confessed to the murder of Iverson in a statement to Metro detectives. Although, in a quote published by Mike Shoro of the Las Vegas Review Journal it does sound like he is looking to claim it was an accident:

“During the interview, he admitted to engaging Iverson in sex for money,” Sewall’s arrest warrant said. “During their sexual encounter, Iverson was shot. Sewall couldn’t account for why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson. He knew she was shot in the head and he immediately fled the scene.”

A Previous History of Violence Against Women

However, like most cases of crimes and misconduct committed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, it has now come out after the fact that the real story is quite a bit different than what was originally reported. Not only did court documents reveal even more details about his arrest history that predated the murder, but it also raises serious questions about why he couldn’t have been prosecuted even without the DNA evidence.

Rape Murder Charges Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.

Those documents, which were made public at a preliminary hearing last week, also show that Metro police officers had responded to a domestic violence call at Sewall’s house in 1995, two years prior to the murder. Although he (not surprisingly) was never charged with a crime as a result, a .357 revolver was confiscated from Sewall by those officers.

As I mentioned in the original post, Officer Sewall was also arrested earlier in 1997 in a video sting operation for forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts. He was on duty and used the threat of arrest in those sexual assaults. That arrest led to his resignation from the LVMPD.

In addition, although he was only sentenced to probation for those rapes, that sentence is what required him to submit a DNA sample in 1999. As was once again mentioned in the previous post, Sewall also was arrested while he was awaiting sentencing in 1999 for propositioning an undercover cop who was posing as a prostitute in San Diego.

Sufficient Evidence Twenty Years Ago?

Based on those court documents, that .357 revolver and those previous arrests would have represented a pretty significant piece of evidence in the 1997 case for which Sewall currently faces charges. In fact, had it been pursued that alone probably would have been more than enough to tie him to the murder and secure a conviction.

Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Sewall Murder Rape Victim Nadia Iverson

An Undated Photo of Nadia Iverson.

Back then, before Clark County’s “Blue Card” law was overturned, all handguns had to be registered with Metro. As a result, Sewall’s was officially listed as an owner of such a weapon. Obviously, there was also a record of that from when he had it impounded during his domestic violence incident as well.

According to the current arrest warrant detectives at the time determined a bullet “consistent with a .357 revolver Sewall previously registered with Metro” was used to kill Iverson. In spite of that, Las Vegas police seemingly did not even attempt to match the bullet to the gun they knew Sewall had at the time.

Not only that, but when Sewall was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego while he was already awaiting sentencing for raping prostitutes, he had that same revolver in his possession. Meanwhile, neither the LVMPD or Clark County prosecutors mad any effort to acquire the gun they obviously suspected he had used to murder someone after it was confiscated by San Diego police.

Instead, Sewall was sentenced to probation and that revolver was later destroyed by the SDPD, eliminating any chance it could be tested for a ballistics match. Officer Sewall proceeded to violate that probation numerous times over the course of the next five years with relatively little consequences for those violations. Also, as can be evidenced by his Facebook profile, Sewall was living a pretty comfortable life during the twenty years Iverson’s rape and murder went unpunished.

Incompetence or an Intentional Lack of Effort?

As has already been pointed out in previous posts, the excuse that there was a lack of funds is a ridiculous excuse for not testing the thousands of rape kits that have sat untouched in evidence rooms from as long ago as the mid-eighties. Las Vegas area city governments and police departments have had no problem coming up with well over a billion dollars in total for new government buildings, publicly funded NFL stadiums, and faulty radio systems.

They even came up with $400,000 to pay off the police chief and deputy chief at the Henderson Police Department after they were forced to resign for sexual harassment. The idea that they couldn’t somehow come up with enough money to test that one rape kit that would positively identify the person they suspected in the case literally from day one should be considered an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

But even if you disregard the DNA evidence altogether, they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time charging and even convicting Sewall. Detectives investigating the crime scene had already determined she was killed by a gun matching one they knew for a fact he owned.

The fact he had it impounded by the San Diego police during his 1999 arrest obviously means he still had it in 1997 after the murder. They very easily could have gotten a warrant to have it tested right after the murder or while it was in the possession of the San Diego police.

Regardless of any other evidence (which I’m sure there was), matching the gun to crime would by itself be pretty damning. A prostitute being raped and then killed using a gun owned by someone with a history of sexual assault and violence against women (and in particular prostitutes) would be pretty hard to explain away.

Instead of presenting (or apparently even seeking) that evidence however, investigators just filed it away along with the rape kit that they don’t seem to have had any interest in ever having processed. At best, this would have to be classified as a huge case of incompetence by the Las Vegas police and prosecutors.

In fact, it’s almost like they intentionally tried to avoid prosecuting one of their own by making sure the evidence didn’t get found. Almost exactly like that.

Original Local News Report

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Grand Jury to Review Manslaughter Charge Against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera in Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Grand Jury Manslaughter

A Las Vegas grand jury will review the involuntary manslaughter charge against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera, who used an unauthorized choke-hold to murder Tashii Brown in May 2017.

Lawyers for Las Vegas Police Officer Kenneth Lopera (he didn’t personally attend) were in court Thursday (Jan. 25) for a preliminary hearing. It was described in a story by the local Fox affiliate as a date-setting hearing.

In May of 2017,  Lopera used an illegal choke-hold to murder Tashii Farmer-Brown, who had approached Lopera and another officer at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip asking for help. (See description below) Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statements have referred to it as a “unauthorized restraint technique” in order to try and make it sound less violent than it actually was.

During the hearing, it was announced that prosecutors will have a grand jury review Officer Lopera’s involuntary manslaughter charge. Lopera has also been charged with one count of “oppression under the color of law.” That too will be reviewed by the grand jury.

The LVPPA, the Las Vegas police union, is providing legal defense (and has set up a fundraiser that violates the GoFundMe rules, but GoFundMe has refused to take down) for Lopera. Steve Grammas, their president is quoted as saying that they “welcome the review.” But then he’s also on record stating that he thinks hiring a cop who has murdered three people to officially advise cops that shoot someone is a good idea because “he has a lot of experience with that.”

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office was given until March 26th to seek an indictment against Lopera by the judge. The grand jury can choose to endorse those previous charges or could revise them.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Ploy by Police & Prosecutors to Drop the Charges?

Of course, that last part about “revising” the charges is something that likely will cause people who have followed this case to take notice. Grand jury hearings are usually just a formality within the process of filing charges. The old saying, “any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich” is often used to illustrate just how easy it is.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Officer Kenneth Lopera

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera

However, as has been pointed out before here at NVCopBlock.org, prosecutors often use grand juries to justify not indicting police officers after they kill someone. District attorneys are in full control of the proceedings and decide what evidence is presented (or not). Essentially, they throw the case then use the fact the grand jury didn’t issue an indictment to claim they did everything they could but the case just wasn’t strong enough.

They are also ostensibly the representatives of the victims during the grand jury proceedings, although they really work for the other side. Much more often than not, that carries over to when cops are accused of criminal behavior. The fact that grand juries are by law a secret hearing, with criminal penalties for anyone that discusses what transpired, ensures that no one (including even the jurors) can expose or even criticize their lackluster efforts.

The fact that Officer Lopera is only facing a manslaughter charge (involuntary at that) is itself a point of contention among locals. Most who have seen the body camera footage (embedded below) of Lopez repeatedly tazing, beating, and then choking Tashii Farmer-Brown to death feel it was a pretty clear cut case of murder.

If a grand jury somehow decides not to uphold even those charges, things are going to get hot early this year in Vegas.

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Farmer-Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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Murder Charges Filed Against Former Las Vegas Cop After 1997 Rape Kit is Finally Processed Twenty Years Later

Rape Kit 1997 Murder Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. has been charged with murder after a rape kit from 1997 was finally processed in 2017.

Earlier this week, former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. Iverson’s body had been found by a construction crew at an unoccupied apartment in May of that year. He was finally arrested on January 11th in Reno, where he had been living recently.

Sewall was named by prosecutors as a suspect the very same day that her body was discovered. However, although they had acquired a sample of his DNA in 1999, a positive identification of Sewall wasn’t made until February of 2017. The reason for that is because, due to a lack of funding, the rape kit collected from Iverson was not sent for processing until March of 2016.

In the meantime, Sewall spent a large percentage of those twenty years on probation for sex crimes committed while on duty prior to Iverson’s murder. In February of ’97 Officer Sewall had been caught on video attempting to force a woman to perform oral sex on him. Instead of being fully prosecuted for that crime, he was allowed to resign from the department and given a plea deal for two charges of oppression under the color of law.

He was then sentenced to probation, even though he was arrested in San Diego for soliciting a prostitute while awaiting sentencing. During that time on probation, he was caught in possession of a knife and gun by probation officers, failed to submit required reports, and also did not comply with a sex offender counseling program he had been ordered to complete.

Finally in 2004, he was sentenced to almost two years in prison for repeated probation violations. Even after being released from prison, he still didn’t comply the restrictions he was subject to as a convicted felon. At the time he was arrested in Reno, he had not registered his address change after moving from California and had to be tracked down by detectives. According to media reports (video embedded below), he then confessed to the murder of Iverson.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The failure of police departments and city governments to fund the testing of rape kits across the country has left huge backlogs and prevented the arrest and conviction of rapists. As a result, many of those perpetrators have been able to continue victimizing women and committing other violent crimes for years and even decades in some cases. Others have been falsely convicted only to be exonerated once the testing was finally conducted.

In Southern Nevada alone 6,473 rape kits went untested, including approximately 5,600 connected to investigations within the LVMPD. It wasn’t until they received a $2.7 million grant from the New York State District Attorney’s Office that those kits began to get tested within the past couple of years.

Over 4,000 of those rape kits are still in the process of being tested or have not been sent out for testing to this day. Meanwhile, in recent times Metro has spent almost $300 million on a new headquarters complex, $42 million dollars on a new radio system that never worked properly (of which allegations of favoritism and kickbacks have been made), and another $26 million dollars to pay for the radio system that replaced it.

The City of Las Vegas also spent $185 million to build a new City Hall. That and the LVMPD’s HQ were both initiated in 2008. So somehow they managed to find the funding for those optional (and heavily criticized) expenditures during the worst recession in 70 years, but not for the (relatively) tiny fraction of cost that would be involved in the testing of the rape kits.

And that doesn’t even take into account the annual cost of payouts to victims of the misconduct and violence perpetrated by Las Vegas area police officers. In several recent years that money alone would have paid for all of the rape kits to be processed. That’s especially relevant when discussing a crime that was committed by one of those officers and then went unsolved for twenty years because there was no money for the rape kit to be processed.

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Las Vegas Protest at Mandalay Bay to Demand Release of Video Related to Route 91 Mass Shooting

October 1st Shooting Protest Mandalay Bay

A protest has been scheduled for December 21st at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip regarding the lack of transparency about the October 1st shooting during the Route 91 Festival.

Earlier this week, a local group called for a protest at the Mandalay Bay via Facebook. The group has stated that the protest will be aimed at putting pressure on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay, to release information about the Las Vegas Route 91 Festival mass shooting that took place on October 1st.

The protest is scheduled for 1pm on January 21st in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The Mandalay Bay is located on the Las Vegas Strip at 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. The group has stated that they intend to make this a ongoing regular protest until they are satisfied that their demands and concerns have been appropriately addressed.

Specifically, they intend to demand that surveillance footage from the Mandalay Bay be released publicly. As was reported here at NVCopBlock.org a couple days ago, LVMPD Sheriff Lombardo would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.” However, the lack of transparency on even very basic aspects of the shooting, as well as previously exposed inconsistencies, have left many questions unanswered and created doubts about the official narrative(s). Those #KeyboardBandits he is so frustrated by want those questions and discrepancies answered before they just “move on.”

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Members of NVCopBlock will be there to report on the protest. Obviously, we will be also be monitoring and filming any interactions protesters have with the police and/or security to ensure their rights and safety are protected. I’ve also been told that several other independent news organizations will be in attendance.

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

 

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Update: Las Vegas Cop Charged With Arson And Fraud Not Prosecuted Because Video Evidence “Somehow” Became Corrupted

Officer Jeffrey Harper LVMPD K-9 Fired Arson Evidence Destroyed

LVMPD K9 Officer Jeffrey Harper was not prosecuted on arson and insurance fraud charges after video evidence was “corrupted.” Instead, he was fired for burning a trailer in January 2016.

In April of 2016 I wrote about LVMPD K-9 Officer Jeffrey Lynn Harper, who was facing charges of arson and fraud after he was caught intentionally  burning a “four-wheeler” and a trailer used to haul it in an attempt to collect money from the insurance policies covering the vehicles.

In spite of Officer Harper’s claims that the fire was started by a flat tire he  got while driving on a highway just outside of Las Vegas, firefighters determined that gasoline had been poured on the trailer and rolls of paper had been used as a makeshift wick. Also, as they were fighting the fire Harper returned to the scene of the crime and made some incriminating comments.

One of those statements was, “I’ll bring it up. It’s the elephant in the room. Yeah, I’m upside-down on my trailer,” according to an arrest report. A reference to being behind on the payments for the trailer, which is a pretty good motive for burning it. Those statements were made to a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and recorded on his dash-cam video.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

So, obviously, this should be a fairly cut and dry case for prosecutors. Except, that video never made it to court. At least not the part where he incriminates himself on camera. Somehow, that one portion of the video ended up getting “corrupted” and is now unviewable. By some luck of the draw however, everything up to and after that point is perfectly fine.

Just for good measure, lead investigator Denell Hoggard violated evidentiary rules by failing to turn in any of the video evidence, not even the portions that weren’t damaged. As a result, a mistrial was declared and prosecutors have stated that they have no intentions of refiling charges against Officer Harper.

Via Adam Herbets at Fox5Vegas.com:

The NHP trooper’s dash camera footage was given to CCFD and LVMPD. At that point, investigators learned that the segment of the video in which Harper arrives went “missing.”

“It wouldn’t play and (Trooper McElroy) didn’t know why,” investigator Michael Doughty testified.

As a result, the lead investigator on the case decided not to turn over the evidence because a portion of it was “corrupted.”

“I did not feel like it had any evidentiary value,” lead investigator Denell Hoggard testified.

“Okay, and why? Why is that?” asked defense attorney Andrew Leavitt.

Hoggard stumbled with her words.

“I don’t — have an answer for it really. I — I — uh — me not turning it over? It was an error. I did not do it intentionally,” she said.

“So if you had to do it over again?” Leavitt asked.

“Absolutely. I would totally turn it over,” Hoggard replied. “It wasn’t anything nefarious. It wasn’t anything calculated. It was just an error.”

“You indicated that you wanted to make sure that you dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s,” Leavitt asked.

“Yes,” Hoggard said. “It was an oversight, sir.”

“I can’t think of a piece of evidence in this whole case that would have more evidentiary value,” Leavitt later argued.

Prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office took the stand and said they were blinded by Hoggard and that they were told there was absolutely nothing on video.

Judge Douglas Herndon said he was “dumbfounded” by Hoggard’s ignorance.

“I just can’t fathom how that can happen to somebody trained to do these kinds of investigations,” Herndon said. “I’ve never had a case before, either as an attorney or a judge, that’s involved multiple agencies that seemed to have dropped the ball.”

“It was intentionally withheld, in my opinion, there’s just no excuse for it,” Leavitt argued. “It’s not a misrepresentation. It’s not a mistake. Somebody is flat out lying in this case.”

Officer Harper was fired earlier this month. So, he’ll have to go work for another department in a couple months. Conveniently, Hoggard retired right after “investigating” Harper’s case and now works in real estate. She’s facing no repercussions whatsoever.

FOX5 Vegas – KVVU

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Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo (and the Mandalay Bay) Want People to Just “Forget That (Mass Shooting) and Move On”

Sheriff Joe Lombardo LVMPD Las Vegas Shooting

LVMPD Sheriff Joe Lombardo thinks it’s important that everyone just “move on and forget about” the October 1st shooting by Stephen Paddock at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over the MLK day weekend, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated:

“The frustrating thing for me as the head of the law enforcement is the keyboard bandits the guys who sit at their couches at their home and Monday morning quarterback everything you do and that are smarter than you. The pressure that we are put under to do the right thing and I believe we did the right thing and I am not hiding anything from anybody. You know what I know.

The reason why I say that it is just as important for you to be comfortable living here and have an understanding to prevent another event from taking place, for you to know what exactly happened. So, you know what exactly happened so far. I anticipate a press conference here in about a week to give you more information and to provide the media with more information associated with that event.

But there will not be a keystone or an important piece associated with Mr. Paddock and why he did what he did, so it’s important for us to forget that and move on and be resilient.”  – Via at the Baltimore Post Examiner

Overlooking the Freudian slip of Lombardo admitting that the “keyboard bandits” he’s so frustrated with are smarter than him, it is very much important that Las Vegas residents (and everyone else) know what exactly happened that day and why it happened the way it did. Unfortunately, if anything Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been doing the opposite of that important thing.

What few things they have released publicly have been incomplete on a basic, unnecessary level and in several major instances just plain inaccurate.  And in many cases these aren’t the kind of inaccuracies that have resulted from additional information being discovered during the course of an investigation. Nor are they things being withheld because public disclosure would compromise the investigation.

In fact, oftentimes these have been revisions or disclosures forced upon Lombardo and the LVMPD by those frustrating Keyboard Bandits and their inconvenient facts. Among other things, they were forced to admit that they lied about or withheld information on when Paddock checked in to the Mandalay Bay, the fact a Metro cop had fired his weapon inside the room where he had stayed, and the ever-shifting timeline of when the MGM security guard and Metro officers reached the 32nd floor and timing of the shooting in relation to that.

Some of the motives behind the dishonesty and lack of transparency for those particular inconsistencies are fairly easy to figure out. Mostly, it boils down to trying to reduce liability for the Mandalay Bay and Metro itself and eliminate criticism of their lack of a response. If Paddock checked in right before the shooting, then people are less likely to question why no-one saw him do anything suspicious that would point to his intentions in the days prior.

Similarly, if the shooting began at the same time as security guard Jesus Campos had been shot, then people are less likely to question why Mandalay Bay security didn’t respond immediately. If it ended shortly after, people are less likely to ask why the “heroic” Metro police officers stood around in the hallway for over an hour without going into the room where they knew someone had just fired hundreds of bullets into a crowd of unsuspecting people and presumably didn’t know whether he would start shooting again.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Las Vegas casinos are notorious for the amount of video cameras they have in and around them and for the vigilance with which security monitors those cameras. Except for the inside of the hotel rooms and other private areas such as bathrooms, you can’t walk two feet inside one without it being recorded. At least some of the police had body cameras. And Paddock himself had cameras set up both in the hallway and inside his room.

Yet there’s no video of the guard, Jesus Campos, being shot or the police in the hallway that day, no video of Paddock bringing his arsenal of weapons and ammunition from his car in the garage through the check-in area and to the room, no video of him smashing those giant reinforced windows out prior to the shooting. There’s also no video of him barricading the door to the stairwell, setting up cameras in the hallway, or disabling the farm alarms just prior to firing on the crowd.

Lombardo was in a big hurry almost before the sound of gunfire had faded away to assure everyone that only one person was responsible for this shooting. He also was in a rush to make sure everyone knew that that one person was dead and there was no terrorist connection. Even before there was time enough to confirm whether that was true, it was important for them to assure tourists didn’t get scared off by the idea of another incident like this happening in the future.

The problem is that the inconsistencies, altered timelines, and exposed lies that those efforts to keep information from the public have spawned has done nothing but fuel those same fears and mistrust toward the official story. Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM corporation (along with the rest of Las Vegas’ casino industry) would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.”

It’s important that we don’t until we get some real answers.

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

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting already mentioned, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

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Video: The Rotting Barrel of Bad Apples That is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “Leadership”

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Captain Yasenia Yatomi, just one member of the LVMPD’s “leadership,” who have managed to excel at corruption, dishonesty, and a general lack of ethics.

In the video embedded below, Ramsey Denison, the director of “What Happened in Vegas,” and Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who also appears in the documentary, discuss several of the high ranking members of the LVMPD. As is pointed out in the video, those “leaders” have quite a stellar history of corruption and outright criminality.

Specifically, Stubbs discusses in detail his involvement with Captain Yasenia Yatomi, which has transpired over the last several years. In fact, it was Yatomi’s unethical and illegal actions that led to Stubbs’ first appearance at NVCopBlock.org. Yatomi, who was a sergeant at the time, unlawfully arrested Stubbs when he refused to allow her to deprive one of his clients of their Constitutional right to counsel.

She then followed that up by falsifying a police report to justify that arrest. Of course, since police reports are sworn statements, that constituted an act of perjury. However, rather than being prosecuted, fired, or in any way whatsoever punished for that (felony) crime, Yatomi was instead promoted.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

In fact, as her current rank indicates, she has actually been promoted not just once, but twice since then. As a matter of fact, as part of her promotion to Lieutenant, Yatomi was placed in charge of the Internal Affairs Bureau. Without even a hint of irony, the LVMPD put someone who was actively being investigated for a criminal offense in command of the department that investigates misconduct by police officers.

Some of the other highlights include Undersheriff Kevin Mcmahill, the current no.2 in command at Metro who was forced to resign earlier in his career after he sexually harassed a suspect. Also among the notable members of the LVMPD’s upper echelon is Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank, who has a history of domestic violence.

As they say, the fish rots from the head down. So it should be no surprise that the LVMPD is a barrel of Bad Apples from top to bottom.

The LVMPD’s “Dirtbag Dream Team”

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas