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The LVMPD Agrees That You Shouldn’t Talk to Them

KnowYourRightsNVCopBlock 240x300 The LVMPD Agrees That You Shouldnt Talk to Them

Know Your Rights and how to protect them when dealing with police.

About a month ago, in early September, I did an interview with Joe Bartels of “8 News Now,” the local CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. Although the actual interview went really well, once it was broadcast it was fairly obvious that the intent of the piece was already set even before Joe talked to me.

That predetermined slant being the nonsense claim that Cop Block promotes violence against cops and has ties to the Millers, a married couple who recently murdered a couple of Las Vegas Metro cops, but had no actual ties or even any evidence that they so much as followed Cop Block. (Their Facebook pages, which were pretty widely viewed after the incident, contained a grand total of two shares from Cop Block going back three months.) In spite of the fact that I pointed out that neither I nor anyone I know had ever met or even heard of the Millers prior to the day they shot those cops and that in doing so they had actually made it more difficult for those of us advocating for accountability in peaceful ways, he chose to leave all that out and just do a very incomplete paraphrasing of my statements about them.

They also left out all of the discussion about downtown and the increase in harassment by cops there or the historically nonexistent accountability that is so prevalent in Las Vegas area police departments, which was presumably the reason for the interview in the first place. However, I got nothing but positive feedback from it and several people came down to First Friday while other Nevada Cop Block members and I were handing out flyers and actually asked for one, stating that they saw the interview. Plus, the headline of the text version was pretty accurate (“‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing with officers“). It’s also rather funny to hear all of them making sure that they enunciate properly to make sure they didn’t slip up and say something else when they said “Cop Block.”

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Flyering During First Friday in Downtown Las Vegas

Beyond that, that little spinning flyer graphic they made is obviously going to be the opening of all my videos from here on out. Also, as the title of the post states, Metro decided they didn’t want to respond to any of my statements (they held the broadcast back a day in order to talk with a Metro spokesperson), but they did state that they agreed with everything on the flyer, which would presumably include the advice not to speak to cops and to film them. The other thing about this interview that made me rather happy is that it was prompted by someone placing one of our downtown “know your rights” flyers on their news van one day while they were at lunch.

I actually asked everyone that I thought might be out flyering that day and none of them had put it there. Therefore, someone apparently downloaded the file of the flyer that is available here at Nevada Cop Block, printed it off, and went out flyering on their own. I think it is awesome that people are taking advantage of that resource and that people I don’t even actually know are out there spreading the word to protect people from the harassment that has become so commonplace in downtown Las Vegas.

Finally, they also interviewed Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney that does free monthly “Know Your Rights” seminars for Las Vegas area residents, and he confirmed that the flyers contained “sound legal advice.” You may remember Stephen Stubbs from having been arrested for refusing to leave the area after one of his clients had asked for a lawyer during questioning by the LVMPD Gang Unit. He also represents the man who was beaten by Metro cops in a bar downtown because they didn’t think he was walking fast enough.

‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing… by Copwatch_World-News

Excerpts from the interview:

‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing with officers

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Know Your Rights!

LAS VEGAS – A group critical of police is warning downtown visitors of what they’re calling police harassment. The group known as ‘Cop Block’ said it feels that police are overstepping their authority, so they want people to know their rights.

Cop Block is a nationwide movement, and their main goal is to be an advocate for individual rights, so the group likes to hand out flyers with  a series of suggestions on how to handle interactions with police authorities…

The group said it’s handing out these flyers because of an increase in run-ins with police and the alleged harassment people see downtown.

“That flyer is basically a ‘know your rights’ flyer. It’s meant to educate people on what their rights are,” Kelly Patterson, a member of the Nevada chapter of Cop Block said.

Patterson said there’s a systemic problem that exists between police and the public.

“I’m advocating for them to be accountable; for them to do reasonable investigations when things appear questionable,” Patterson said…

We reached out to Metro Police, but they didn’t have anyone available to talk about the alleged harassment, or the flyers being handed out downtown.”

A spokesperson did tell us that the department was aware of the flyers and they agree with the information on them. The flyers five suggestions for people to take in consideration when they come into contact with officers consist of:

  1. Record your interaction on camera.
  2. Do not talk to the police or answer questions.
  3. Ask whether you are being detained, if not leave.
  4. Never consent to a search.
  5. Be polite, but firm.

We caught up with Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney, and he said that’s sound legal advice.

“If you want to talk to police, talk to police. The fact is that you don’t have to. The supreme court has said very clearly that you do not have to talk to police,” he said.

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Police Violence and Gentrification in Las Vegas

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Ballentine speaking during the May Day march in 2012

Note: This was originally posted by   at the Seattle Free Press on . I’ve added a picture of Ballentine, who wrote this essay, made the original first sentence a section header, and added a caption to the picture that originally accompanied the Seattle Free Press’ post.

Otherwise, it has been reposted in its entirety as it originally appeared, which you can view here. Ballentine is one of the three members of the Sunset Activist Collective (along with Gail Sacco, who is not a member but has been a long time associate and supporter of both the Sunset Activist Collective and Nevada Cop Block, as well as other local activist groups, such as Food Not Bombs Las Vegas) that filed a lawsuit against the LVMPD over the August 2013 arrests of four people associated with Nevada Cop Block last week.

 Police Violence and Gentrification in Las Vegas

Trevon Cole’s family attending the Coroner’s Inquest for his murder by Bryan Yant

I never knew Trevon Cole. I have never met his girlfriend, and, like Trevon Cole himself, I have never met his child. This is because he was murdered by Officer Bryan Yant of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department during a drug raid.

Cole, unarmed, was shot in front his girlfriend while on his knees in his bathroom. His girlfriend, Sequoia, gave birth to a baby girl only five days later.

The pig that shot Trevon Cole was punished with a desk assignment. Cole was the third fatal shooting he was involved in.

I shouldn’t even know who Trevon Cole is. I shouldn’t know about Stanley Gibson, a gulf war vet who accidentally went to his old apartment building one night by mistake and paid for it with his life. Officer Jesus Arevello put 7 rounds from an assault rifle into Gibson’s head.

Stanley, like Cole, was unarmed. He and his car were boxed in, unable to be a danger to anyone.

In the last 10 years over 150 people have been shot by the Las Vegas police. A dozen stories I have heard detailing unarmed people shot by the police, some in cold blood.

Erik Scott was armed but by most accounts was not holding the pistol he was legally entitled to carry when he was shot outside a crowded wholesale super market. The police tried to blame his murder on prescription drugs and the store’s security camera footage was mysteriously never found.

Adding fuel to fires of police violence are businesses in the are which encourage a larger police presence downtown.

The Zappos Shoe Corporation, for example, has duped the local government into letting them “revitalize” the downtown area. Working with the city’s blessing and assistance, the company is spearheading gentrification in the area many of us have lived our whole lives in.

The media of course promotes this effort as though Zappos were some prophetic savior, come to rid us of the “dirty” and “unsafe” downtown, and, as usual, the police are front and center in this mafia-style protection racket.

Companies with more than one hundred patrons are now required by law to hire Las Vegas Police Officers as security, to aid in cleaning up the downtown corridor.

Of course, we don’t need corporations like Zappos to save our city.

We don’t want them having the ear of the mayor.

We don’t need the police to patrol our neighborhoods and escort Zappos employees to their cars after work because “they’re scared to be downtown.”

I am of the opinion that the police are an occupying force doing the bidding of the corporate state. And if you protect the rich, then you should be counted among them, as their willing puppet. Anyone with this desire is in effect the bloodied arm of the corporate overlords with its hand clasped around the throat of the people.

Small response to a big problem:

In response to the Gibson shooting, we in the Sunset Activist Collective created a list of demands against the city and the police department which listed, amongst other things, justice and compensation to the families of the murdered, resignations of the district attorney as well as that of Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

We called for an end to the militarization of the police force, who are now equipped with AR-15 rifles and an armored car that they proudly displayed during the last two MLK day parades.

We demanded an end to the tactic of “neighborhood saturation” which pours dangerous, steroid-amped police freshly home from Iraq and Afghanistan into the poorest neighborhoods and leaves the affluent suburbs pig-free.

Part of our outreach has included “chalking” against the Clark County Government Center, the county seat of authority and the main police head quarters a short distance away.

A few times a month, we sweat in the cold. We write the stories of victims most of us never knew.

As I took a bruised knee, dirtying my work pants to write “F@@K Pigs” upside down so that those pigs could read it from their office window, I notice Rhonda Gibson looking down and reading it. She doesn’t seem to mind the language.

I hope these actions help her cope with her loss, and give her some sense that not everyone is awful. Writing like mad on the sidewalk.

So, if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas, you might take a moment to ignore the neon and look down at your feet. The sidewalk is our horizontal, traveling monument to the victims of police repression.

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Nevada Cop Block Members Sue LVMPD for Chalk Arrests/Harassment

Chalk is Temporary 300x197 Nevada Cop Block Members Sue LVMPD for Chalk Arrests/Harassment

Chalk is Temporary; Murder is Forever

Lawsuit Filed Over Intimidation Arrests

Earlier today (Sept. 26, 2014), four people associated with Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective filed a civil rights lawsuit over arrests by the LVMPD in August of 2013 during anti-police brutality protests in which drawing on sidewalks with “sidewalk chalk” was labelled as graffiti, as well as a pattern of harassment by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, both before and after those arrests, designed to intimidate us into ending our advocacy for victims of police brutality in the Las Vegas area.

The federal lawsuit filed by attorneys Maggie McLetchie and Robert Langford on behalf of Ballentine, Catalino Dazo Jr., Gail Sacco, and I (Kelly W. Patterson), was reported this afternoon in the Las Vegas Review Journal which includes these details of the lawsuit (some of the links within the quoted content have been added by me):

“Four activists who express themselves with sidewalk chalk filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday against the Metropolitan Police Department.

According to the federal lawsuit, the department has engaged in ‘a policy and practice of deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of individuals engaging in peaceful protests

‘Plaintiffs have been improperly arrested, cited, and harassed for engaging in free speech,’ the complaint alleges…

According to the lawsuit, the Police Department has allowed its officers to harass, cite, arrest and search the plaintiffs ‘for peacefully writing in water-soluble chalk on a public sidewalk’ that Las Vegas police officers had instructed them to write on.

The document claims these actions violated the plaintiffs’ ‘constitutional rights to free speech, expression and assembly, rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and unlawful arrests, and substantive and procedural due process rights.’

Additional state tort claims in the lawsuit include false imprisonment, negligent training and supervision, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress

Las Vegas police began harassing protesters on May 1, 2013, according to the lawsuit, and three of the plaintiffs were cited during a protest at the department’s headquarters on June 8, 2013…

On that date, the lawsuit alleges, Sgt. Mike Wallace approached the three protesters and told them that writing with chalk on the sidewalk constituted graffiti. He then detained them on the sidewalk for about 45 minutes, according to the lawsuit…

During two demonstrations in July 2013, protesters used washable colored chalk to write critical statements of police on the sidewalks outside the department’s headquarters and in front of the Regional Justice Center.

Police said it cost city workers $1,500 to clean up the chalk using power washing equipment.

As a result of the July protests, Ballentine, Patterson and Dazo were charged with gross misdemeanor counts of placing graffiti on property and conspiring to commit a crime.

Police arrested Ballentine and Patterson on Aug. 10, 2013, while they were walking to the department’s headquarters to chalk, according to the lawsuit

Ballentine spent three days at the Clark County Detention Center, where he was denied his medications and suffered from anxiety, according to the lawsuit, and Patterson spent four days at the jail.

The charges were later dropped. District Attorney Steve Wolfson said new evidence showed that courthouse marshals had directed the protesters to chalk in a specific location outside the justice center.

‘There wasn’t expressed permission, but there was implied permission to use the chalk on the sidewalk outside the courthouse,’ Wolfson said.

But McLetchie said the district attorney fails to understand that “the Constitution forbids the government from requiring prior permission before you engage in First Amendment-protected activity.”

According to the lawsuit, the citations issued in June 2013 and the arrests made in August 2013 were designed ‘to chill future speech.'”

The full Review Journal article can be read here.

Further Reading

Chalking Offer 300x132 Nevada Cop Block Members Sue LVMPD for Chalk Arrests/Harassment

Still stands

I’ve been advised by our lawyers not to comment in detail on the case while it is active, but you can read pretty much every article ever written about the case right here. (It actually progresses from the most recent stories to the latest. So, if you want to start at the beginning you have to backtrack to the last page.)

As I said, I won’t be doing any extended commentary on the case in this post. However, I will point out that I made Metro and Sheriff Gillespie a very reasonable offer (see the picture to the right) early on during the protests that I don’t believe they ever even considered accepting and still haven’t shown any real interest in to date.

Also, I think it’s amazing that the main cops involved in these ridiculous arrests are named “Mike Wallace, Chris Tucker, and Lt. Liberty.” I’m tempted to think they are just making up names at the LVMPD.

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