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Tashii Brown-Farmer Asked For Help; LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Tased And Choked Him To Death Instead

Unarmed and Seeking Help, But Tasered and Then Choked to Death Instead

Shortly after midnight on May 14th, Tashii Brown-Farmer approached two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers inside the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Stating that he was being chased by someone, Brown-Farmer requested help from Officer Kenneth Lopera and a partner who has not yet been named. Although Brown-Farmer had a history of mental illness and was described as “acting erratically” at the time, there has been no indication or allegation that he was behaving violently at any time that night. He also was not armed in any way whatsoever, nor was there any indication that there was ever any reason to believe he might be armed.

Instead of being dealt with as someone seeking help, Brown-Farmer was instead treated by the officers (who ironically are part of the tourism safety division of the LVMPD). This caused Brown-Farmer to feel threatened and run away, initiating a chase through an employees area of the casino and eventually into the parking garage of the Venetian. That is where Officer Lopera caught up to Brown-Farmer and proceeded to taser, beat, and eventually choke him to death.

In the end, Tashii Brown-Farmer was tasered seven times, punched repeatedly, and finally placed into a “rear naked choke hold” for over a minute until he was no longer conscious nor breathing. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The video embedded below shows body camera footage of the entirety of that chase and the deadly conclusion, in which Officer Kenneth Lopera unnecessarily decides to practice his mixed martial art skills on a man who is already being held down by at least two Venetian security guards.

Note: The media and the police have referred to Brown-Farmer both as “Tashii Brown” and “Tashii Farmer” (during their initial press conference, the LVMPD also spelled his first name wrong, excluding the second “i” that belongs at the end) without any official explanation for the discrepancy .

Bad Rationalizations and Media Complicity

The justification given for the deadly violence that Officer Lopera unnecessarily inflicted on Brown-Farmer was the typical “he wouldn’t comply” mantra that is often used. However, you can clearly see in the video that Lopera began using his taser on Brown-Farmer without allowing for much time at all for him to follow his orders. He then continued yelling at and tasing a man who was already having mental health issues.

The other thing that is readily apparent in the Venetian surveillance videos (embedded below within the full press conference video) is that when Ofc. Lopera began punching and hitting Brown-Farmer security guards from the casino had already began holding him down. Even more unnecessary than the punches Lopera threw was the choke hold he soon used to choke the life out of Brown-Farmer.

Not only were the security guards already there, but not long after numerous Metro police officers also arrived. There was no reason for Lopera to start choking him in the first place and there was no reason for him to continue choking him for over a minute, even after he had already lost consciousness. In spite of the initial claims released by the LVMPD, Brown-Farmer never attempted to use violence against anyone, including Officer Lopera at any point during this entire confrontation that Lopera initiated and then escalated.

However, not surprisingly, the local media has asked few questions about the official narrative and instead even allowed Metro’s PR department to downplay controversy by initially describing the prohibited rear naked choke hold as a “department authorized neck restraint.” They’ve also yet to challenge the LVMPD’s claim that Brown-Farmer was attempting to car jack the truck that was entering the parking garage as he ran by. Contrary to that claim, which the driver of the truck himself states he didn’t believe to be the case, the video only shows Brown-Farmer briefly touching the tailgate as he stops running. Not attempting to open it and not trying to enter the front (or any other part) of the truck as has been stated.

Instead, the LA Times published a fluff piece that was probably printed word for word as it was received from Metro’s PR department fawning over how “transparent” the LVMPD has become when they murder someone.

The Inevitable Smear Campaign

Of course, the one consistency with Metro is that they never fail to dig up dirt on their victims to try and deflect the attention away from the violent, unnecessary, and unrelated crimes of their officers. Brown-Farmer’s previous criminal record was displayed and highlighted during the press conference, including a murder charge that he was not convicted of. When Officer Kenneth Lopera confronted, chased, and then choked to death Tashii Brown Farmer, he was not at all aware of any of that information. Nor was that in any way relevant to the actions that Lopera took and that were clearly documented on video that night, regardless.

During that press conference, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill also continuously (and purposefully) referred to Brown-Farmer as “the suspect,” in spite of the fact that he was not actually wanted for or even suspected of any crime whatsoever. McMahill even admitted that had he not died Brown-Farmer would not have been charged with any crime. In reality, he was someone that was experiencing a medical issue. In fact, Officer Lopera’s treatment of Brown-Farmer as a suspect for a non-existent crime is what prompted him to run away in the first place.

As you can see in the video below, these type of smear campaigns are business as usual for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police (and other departments). It’s also especially hypocritical given the skeletons within Undersheriff McMahill’s own closet.

A Continued Lack of Accountability At The LVMPD

In spite of the PR campaigns they orchestrate and the willingness of the media to unquestioningly support those phony claims of “transparency” and progress, the simple truth remains that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department still has never held a single police officer within the history of their department accountable for killing someone. Regardless, of how questionable or downright unbelievable the circumstances are behind them, they get a free pass and nothing more than a paid vacation every single time.

Nothing about this case or Metro’s handling of it, indicates that it (or any other case in the near future) will be different.

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Update: Las Vegas School Cop Who Assaulted, Pulled Gun on Teen Victim During DUI Reinstated With Back Pay

In October of 2015, I posted about Sgt. Anthony Russo of the Clark County School District Police Department. Russo was arrested after he got drunk, ran a red light, hit another car, assaulted the teenage driver of the car he had just crashed into at 60 mph, and then pulled a gun on witnesses who tried to intervene to stop his attack on a completely innocent person who was already “incapacitated” from being hit by some drunk maniac’s car.

At the time the Las Vegas Review Journal described the incident this way:

Troopers said Russo was at fault in the crash that escalated into fight where the off-duty school police sergeant drew his gun. He faces charges that include driving under the influence, failure to obey a traffic signal, possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, drawing a deadly weapon in a threatening manner and two counts of battery, NHP said.

Witnesses said Russo ran a red light at the off-ramp while going about 60 mph before hitting the car, according to arrest records obtained by the Review-Journal. Bystanders went to check on the Hyundai’s passengers, and Russo, wearing “dress clothes,” punched the car’s passenger in the face three times.

When bystanders pulled Russo away from the passenger, he punched one of them in the face and lifted up his shirt, where his firearm was holstered. He pulled out his gun, and a female bystander stood between Russo and others at the scene, according to the arrest record.

That’s when Russo went back to his car.

The arrest record said he failed to take a field sobriety test. He was taken to University Medical Center — as were three other people involved in the crash. Troopers got a warrant to draw four vials of blood from Russo, the arrest record said. He was then booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

That’s obviously some outrageous shit for anyone, let alone a guy who is carrying a gun around a school and in fact already had a prior history of shooting children. There’s no way they could have just swept this under the rug. He had to have been in for some serious punishment after this. Amirite?

Rest assured officers, that’s not the case when you have one of those Magic Uniforms that renders you impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for your actions, no matter how violent or outrageous they might be. Especially when you’re talking about a department that ruled officers covering up for cops that held an underage drinking party which led to one of the juvenile attendees killing a woman in a drunk driving accident was “within the scope of their duties.”

Not only were the laundry list of charges Sgt. Russo was originally facing reduced to two misdemeanors that resulted in just a fine and a temporary suspension of his license, but his firing has now been reversed. Apparently, according to an arbitrator, repeatedly punching a teenager and pulling a gun (while drunk) and threatening to shoot innocent people trying to stop him from committing assault on that innocent teenager doesn’t represent “a damaging impact to the workplace” or an indication of malice.  That workplace, of course is a building full of teenagers that he carries a gun around in. I can’t see any way his drunken rampage against an “innocent, incapacitated teenager” would be an indicator of some sort of potential workplace threat.

And he’s getting back pay for the two years he sat home. No word yet on whether he also will be getting reinstated as the head of the CCSD police union.

Local News Coverage

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Update: NYPD Cop Who Got Drunk, Broke Into a Woman’s House, and Repeatedly Assaulted Her Given Probation

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted on the CopBlock Network about Officer Eugene Donnelly of the NYPD. As I reported then, within hours of having received an award for bravery at a June 2014 ceremony (pictured above) presided over by both Mayor De Blasio and former NYPD Commission Bill Bratton, Donnelly went out with a group of fellow officers to celebrate. That victory party culminated in him passing out drunk at a friend’s apartment in the Bronx.

However, that was not the end of the festivities for Officer Donnelly. Sometime during the night, he forced his way into an apartment within the same building, threw the woman who lived there to the ground while yelling about children and guns, and then hit her at least twenty times in the head, because he (apparently) thought she worked for Child Protective Services. After some unspecified amount of time, he then realized he had done some crazy shit and ran out of the apartment in nothing but a pair of black boxers. (See video embedded below.) Before that though, he reportedly added insult to injury by drinking milk out of his victim’s refrigerator – straight from the carton, no less.

He later tried to claim that all of this happened because he was sleep walking.

Via the New York Post:

Eugene Donnelly, who gave the snoozy defense in court last week, is wearing only a pair of black boxers as he tries to flee a Bronx building where, moments earlier, he allegedly pummeled the total stranger.

Donnelly first enters the frame in the lobby at 5:43 a.m. and runs out to the street. He then tries to get back inside but is locked out and leaves again. When a cop car passes by, he goes back to the vestibule where he frantically rings buzzers.

Seconds before the damning footage, his alleged victim is seen running through the lobby in her bathrobe as she desperately tries to get away.

A day earlier, Donnelly had been given a Combat Cross by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton for ­arresting a gunman who fired at him in 2012.

Sources said he spent the night drinking before crashing at a fellow cop’s place in the victim’s building.

The 32-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, shared details of the 2014 nightmare for the first time with The Post.

She said she was in bed when Donnelly kicked in her door wearing nothing but the shorts.

She ran toward the door, screaming, “Help!”

“He came rushing toward me and punched me in the face, hard enough to knock me to the floor,” she recalled.

“It was so sudden.”

He then got on top of her and continued hitting her, she said. “I was lying on the ground and he . . kept punching me, really fast, nonstop, pummeling me.

“He was screaming, ‘Shut the f–k up, you ACS bitch! I know there are kids in here! I know there are guns!’

“I had no idea what he was talking about . . . I thought I was going to die,” she said.

At one point, the fearful woman dialed 911, but was afraid to speak because he was still in the apartment.

When she heard him walk into her kitchen, she put on a bathrobe, ran out of her apartment and knocked on neighbors’ doors for help.

To sweeten the deal a little bit, Officer Donnelly also is facing a DWI charge from May of 2016. In that incident, Donnelly had to be pried out of his own car after it collided with three parked cars and flipped on its side. (See second video embedded below.) He was reportedly, according to witnesses, going 65 to 70 miles per hour on a city street prior to the collision.

These charges would probably tell you that Officer Donnelly has some serious issues with self control and either one of them would probably indicate that he’s a danger to the public when he inevitably loses control. So this is a guy you’d think should more than likely not be working as a cop and should even be given some sort of harsh punishment to discourage him from this type of behavior in the future.

Or not. Instead Donnelly will be sentenced to three years of probation as part of a plea deal and “could” be fired from the NYPD if he is convicted on the DWI charges, which have yet to go to trial. That’ll keep him on the straight and narrow.

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