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

New York Premier What Happened in Vegas Cinema Village Theater

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

New York Premier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Los Angeles, Las Vegas Showings, and Beyond

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

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

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

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

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

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

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

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  2. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding
  3. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  6. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side
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LA Supreme Court: It’s Reasonable to Believe “Give Me a Lawyer Dog” was Request for a Dog Who is a Lawyer

Lawyer Dog Louisiana Supreme Court Canine Attorney

Lawyer Dog should really ask Grumpy Judge to recuse herself. #JusSayin

Recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a ruling on a motion to suppress evidence against Warren Demesme, who is currently awaiting trial in New Orleans. By a 6-1 majority the court denied that motion, which maintained that statements Demesme had made should be thrown because the police had ignored his request for legal counsel during interrogations.

What’s gotten a lot of attention (and rightfully so) since that ruling is the courts’ contention that Demesme’s request was ambiguous and unclear. But even more so for the reasoning behind the ruling. Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly argued in his response to the motion that Demesme’s statement, “just give me a lawyer dog,” could be misinterpreted by a “reasonable officer” based on the use of the words “lawyer dog.”

In a brief accompanying the decision, Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton agreed that the defendant’s use of “lawyer dog” could be misconstrued to mean something else and therefore did not qualify as a request for counsel.

Via the Washington Post:

Warren Demesme, then 22, was being interrogated by New Orleans police in October 2015 after two young girls claimed he had sexually assaulted them. It was the second time he’d been brought in, and he was getting a little frustrated, court records show. He had repeatedly denied the crime. Finally, Demesme told the detectives:

“This is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog ’cause this is not what’s up.” The punctuation, arguably critical to Demesme’s use of the sobriquet “dog,” was provided by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office in a brief, and then adopted by Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton.

Demesme subsequently made admissions to the crime, prosecutors said, and was charged with aggravated rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He is being held in the Orleans Parish jail awaiting trial.

The public defender for Orleans Parish, Derwyn D. Bunton, took on Demesme’s case and filed a motion to suppress Demesme’s statement. In a court brief, Bunton noted that police are legally bound to stop questioning anyone who asks for a lawyer. “Under increased interrogation pressure,” Bunton wrote, “Mr. Demesme invokes his right to an attorney, stating with emotion and frustration, ‘Just give me a lawyer.’” The police did not stop their questioning, Bunton argued, “when Mr. Demesme unequivocally and unambiguously asserted his right to counsel.”

Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton

Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton

Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly responded in his brief that Demesme’s “reference to a lawyer did not constitute an unambiguous invocation of his right to counsel, because the defendant communicated that whether he actually wanted a lawyer was dependent on the subjective beliefs of the officers.” Daly added, “A reasonable officer under the circumstances would have understood, as [the detectives] did, that the defendant only might be invoking his right to counsel.”

Bunton’s motion to throw out Demesme’s statement was rejected by the trial court and the appeals court, so he took it to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in a ruling issued last Friday and first reported by Reason, could have denied the appeal without issuing a written ruling, which it does in most cases. But Justice Crichton decided to write a brief concurrence “to spotlight the very important constitutional issue regarding the invocation of counsel during a law enforcement interview.”

Crichton noted that Louisiana case law has ruled that “if a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal . . . the cessation of questioning is not required.” Crichton then concluded: “In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a ‘lawyer dog’ does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview.”

So…

There’s a lot of things wrong with that decision. The most obvious issue is that they didn’t actually provide him with a dog who is a lawyer, as they claim they thought he had requested. It’s probably not the wisest move to request a dog to represent you in court, but if he’s a good boy and graduated from an accredited law school, who am I to cast aspersions?

Of course, that’s kind of the biggest problem with the “logic” of this ruling. They couldn’t give him a “lawyer dog” because, outside of memes on the internets, it’s not an actual thing. At this point in history, not one single dog has ever managed to pass the bar exam. Not Lassie, not Rin Tin Tin, not Benji, not even Snoopy. Scooby Doo is way to high to even think about taking the SAT’s, let alone the LSAT’s, and don’t even get me started on Marmaduke.

If any dog could have pulled it off, it obviously would have been Brian Griffin, but he died tragically after eating chocolate out of the garbage years ago. So, he’s not available right now.

What it boils down to is, if somebody asks for legal council, as is their constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment, you shouldn’t just be able to pretend you didn’t understand them because they used some (not uncommon) slang. In fact, if for some reason they ask for a “lawyer dog,” but there aren’t any available (or willing to work pro bone-o), then you give them a lawyer human instead.

It’s hard to have a lot of faith in the U.S. Injustice System, especially after rulings like this (not to mention all the coerced confessions and false convictions they allow for). However, you would hope that some sense of common decency and shame would compel the next appeals court this goes in front of to render a proper ruling on this nonsense.

I have a suspicion this might be a big part of the reason why the State of Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world.

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Nevada Cop Block Will Be Attending Freedom Fest 2017 and the Anthem Film Festival

Freedom Fest Las Vegas Nevada Cop Block CopBlockThis year, members of Nevada Cop Block will be attending Freedom Fest, which is held annually here in Las Vegas. Freedom Fest 2017, which will be hosted by the Paris Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, marks the tenth anniversary of the “world’s largest libertarian gathering.”

The theme for the Freedom Fest this year is, “Exploring New Frontiers.” A title that is no doubt inspired by the fact that Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, will be serving as a keynote speaker this year. Other notable speakers include John Stossel, Steve Forbes (whose 70th birthday will be incorporated into the events), Nick Gillespie, and John McAffee, along with many more. In addition, as always, there will be multiple panel discussions, debates, and breakout sessions devoted to libertarian ideas and theories.

The Police on Trial

What I expect to be one of the highlights will be the mock trial that this year features “the police on trial.” It is described this way on the event site:

What is the state of policing in America? Are the police overstepping their bounds and eroding the rights of citizens? What about the safety of the police officers who have promised to protect and serve? Fox Business host Kennedy, who hosts her own show on Fox Business, is back as the judge in our mock trial, the most popular event at FreedomFest.

This year we’ll put “The Police on Trial,” accused of violating property rights (through civil asset forfeitures), racial discrimination, and using excessive force with SWAT team and individual arrests. She’ll oversee prosecuting attorney Neill Franklin (Baltimore Police Department), defending attorney Larry Elder (popular radio talk show host), and star witnesses Adam Bates (Cato), Daniel Franklin (NAACP), Larry Burns (Las Vegas Police Department), and Dan Bongino (NYPD, Secret Service). Not to be missed.
FreedomFest Mock Trial Police Las Vegas Nevada Cop BlockThat should be interesting. (I say: Guilty as charged. Watch the video here and see what their verdict was: https://youtu.be/z3eftVK8rFE)

Anthem Film Festival

The other major attraction of Freedom Fest is the Anthem Film Festival, which has accompanied it for the past seven years. The stated goal of the film festival, which includes, documentaries, narrative films, and short features, is to provide a venue for filmmakers who care about individuality and libertarian ideals. In addition to the screenings, each film also features a panel discussion with those involved in making them afterwards.

Of course, if you’ve followed Nevada Cop Block recently you also know that the film festival has special relevance this year for Las Vegas and anti-police brutality activists working within the city. On Thursday, July 20th, at 3:20pm, the documentary “What Happened in Vegas,” by Ramsey Denison, will be screening inside the Versailles 3 Theater.

As I’ve already described several times on this site, “What Happened in Vegas” details the many crimes, corruption, and cover-ups of the LVMPD. Along with other local cases of abuse, racism, and police brutality, it focuses on the murders of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police officers, as well as the cover-ups that followed them. (See below for the official movie trailer and links to related posts on NVCopBlock.org.)

The post screening panel will also include a press conference attended by the mother and other family members of Tashii Farmer-Brown. This will be the first public appearance by Brown’s family since he was murdered by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on May 14th. Lopera has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter, after the local community reacted with outrage at his actions.

Brown had approached Ofc. Lopera and another Metro officer requesting help. Instead of being treated like someone needing help he was instead treated like a criminal even though he was not suspected of or wanted in connection with any crime at the time. After he became afraid and tried to leave, he was chased, beaten, tased seven times, and eventually choked to death by Lopera.

Personally, I’m looking forward to Freedom Fest and especially to the screening of “What Happened in Vegas” during the Anthem Film Festival. Hopefully, you’re going to be there, too. If you see me or one of the other members of Nevada Cop Block out there say hello.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

Related Posts

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LVMPD Police Illegally Detain Then Falsely Arrest Las Vegas Man For Not Telling Them His Birthdate

LVMPD Illegal Detention False Arrest Las Vegas Federal Courthouse

Note: This post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, 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.

Update: I’ve been told that the name of the officer who is wearing the body camera is Officer J. Deel. Also, the officer who orders that Mr. Martinez be (falsely) arrested is named Officer Jenkins. A third officer, who appears on camera at the end while he is being placed in the car, is named Officer Hernandez. (Other officers, who currently have not been identified, were also present.)

In the body camera footage (which was recorded by Officer J. Deel) embedded below, police officers from the LVMPD​ illegally detain then falsely arrest Joshua Martinez outside of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas​. Initially they approach and ask him for his birthdate, claiming that he is required to identify himself because they “are assisting the federal marshals within the courthouse.” Their only explanation for why he is supposedly required to identify himself to them is because when he tried to enter the courthouse the marshals asked him for ID, which he did not give them.

However, in order for someone to have to identify themselves to the police, they need to be legally detained first. In order to be legally detained, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that that person has committed a crime, is currently committing a crime, or is about to commit a crime. Even if there is a requirement to show ID in order to enter a building (I’ve personally been to the courthouse many times and can’t recall having ever been required to do so), not having that ID or opting against showing it to them is not a crime. It simply means they won’t allow you inside. So that does not satisfy the requirement for reasonable suspicion of a crime.

In the meantime, during the video, they readily admit several times that they are not accusing him of having committed a crime. In addition, they admit that he is on public property and confirm that he has not been trespassed from the property by the federal marshals. Contrary to what they claim while demanding the information that Martinez is under no legal obligation to provide, they are by their own admission not investigating him for having committed a crime.

Since they in fact never legally detained him, he is not under any obligation to identify himself to them. They also never ordered him to leave the courthouse property. So, he’s not disobeying any lawful orders. Therefore their charge of obstruction and the resulting arrest is false and illegal. Cops lie a lot and try to trick you into giving up your rights, but they also often don’t know the laws they are enforcing. This actually looks like the latter case.

See the original (raw) body cam video here at Joshua Martinez’ YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/riA0TcO7QnE

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