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Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder Scheduled for Today

dandre-berghardt-murder-videoAt 9:00 AM this morning (March 2, 2015), the Clark County District Attorney’s office will be conducting a “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” for the murder of D’andre Berghardt Jr., who was shot to death by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents on February 14, 2014 after he asked passersby near Red Rock Canyon (just outside Las Vegas) for water and some of them called to report that he may need assistance. Those BLM agents, along with a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper,  subsequently showed up and instead of offering assistance (or simply leaving him alone if he refused assistance), began to antagonize, pepper spray, taze, and beat Berghardt.

Not surprisingly, Berghardt attempted to get away from the people that were assaulting him and tried unsuccessfully to get into several nearby cars. Unfortunately, when he did finally find a vehicle that he could get into, it ended up being NHP Trooper Lucas Schwarzrock’s SUV. That prompted the two (unnamed) BLM agents to shoot and kill Berghardt, presumably because they were afraid that he would use the rifle that was locked up (according to the BLM’s own official statement) inside the trooper’s passenger seat.

Although a video (which is embedded below), taken by two people that witnessed the incident from their car while stopped on the road, surfaced within a few days of the shooting, there actually should be another video that would show a much better view of what happened that day. Unlike the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police, Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles have dash cams. That video has never been released, nor has any explanation ever been offered for it not being released. It’ll be interesting to see if that will be included in the presentation or, at the very least, if some sort of excuse for it’s lack of availability will be given.

In spite of it’s Orwellian name, the “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” is, in reality, designed to do anything but provide facts to the public. It was created after the LVMPD and Police Protective Association were unable to have reforms to the old Coroner’s Inquest overturned via lawsuits. The much maligned original Coroner’s Inquest had functioned as a rubber stamp process of automatically justifying police shootings for about 40 years. In spite of the proposed reforms standing up to those legal challenges and being declared constitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court, the entire process was scrapped in favor of this newer version that is even worse and less transparent than the Coroner’s Inquests had ever been.D'andre Berghardt Jr

Basically, the new method of rubber stamping police shootings consists of the District Attorney declaring (every single time) that the killing was justified, then having someone present to the public the police version of events without any cross examination, witness testimony, presentation of evidence, or impartial representation. It essentially is designed in order to facilitate an official, institutionalized coverup, with very little opportunity for the public to question the official story they are being fed. You couldn’t ask for a much better opportunity to hide the truth and bury facts while advancing the official narrative. Nor could you more effectively sow mistrust and hostility within the communities that are effected by these killings, which historically have never resulted in any sort of accountability, regardless of how questionable they have been and whether the victims of the LVMPD’s trigger happy cops were completely innocent and/or unarmed.

Details for Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder:

Via www.clarkcountynv.gov

The Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review into the February 2014 death of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. will be held Monday, March 2, at 9 a.m. in the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. The review will be aired live on Clark County Television (CCTV) and streamed over the County Internet site at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov.

According to reports, Berghardt was shot and killed during a confrontation with law enforcement officers on state Route 159 near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The review of this incident will be presided over by Hearing Officer Chip Siegel. Mark Bailus will serve as ombudsman for the review. Both are longtime criminal defense attorneys in the community. Presiding officers and ombudsmen are selected by the county manager from lists approved by the County Commission. The ombudsman represents the public and the deceased’s family in this fact-finding review.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Staudaher will represent the District Attorney’s Office in this proceeding.

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Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas – Feb. 26, 2015 (Update)

Insert Coins Condones Violent BouncersThe following press release is being issued by Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, and the Sunset Activist Collective in regards to an event being held in response to a Feb. 12, 2015 incident, in which a man was beaten by security guards employed by Insert Coins on the public sidewalk in front of their business on Fremont Street, in Las Vegas. The egregious nature of that incident, as well as the continued refusal to address the actions

Insert Coins Protest

You Can’t Wash Away the Truth

of their security staff by the management of Insert Coins, has and will continue to prompt actions to bring attention to this incident for as long as is necessary.

You can view the original story about Insert Coins’ overly aggressive and violent bouncers and the condoning of that behavior by Insert Coins owner ,Chris Laporte, here and you can watch the video of them beating a man while he is already lying on the ground defenseless here. The Facebook invite page for this event can be found here. Join us and bring your dancing shoes.
Dance Dance Revolution at Insert Coins

It’s the Real Dance, Dance Revolution!

8:30 PM Thursday, February 26th
On the public sidewalk in front of Insert Coin(s) – Located at 512 E. Fremont St.

This is no game, but we know how to have fun with a serious matter. Since word spread about the homeless man getting beat up outside Insert Coin(s) by security (full story and link to video are included below), word of a potential dance protest has also spread and this Thursday, Insert Coin(s) is holding a weekly “futurefunk” show where the flyer states “Dancers Welcome.” Dancing is surely being encouraged. So it is time. Bring your dance moves, no need to be a good dancer or even have any experience. We can dance if we want to, on the public sidewalk outside their property, without having to fear that their bouncers will beat us.

Our goals are for Insert Coin(s) to:
1) Terminate those responsible for brutality perpetrated on a member of the community.
2) Formal apology to the brutalized party
3) Drop the charges against the brutalized party
4) Formal retraction of defamation against the injuries party for wrongful, unsubstantiated accusations of misconduct.

As well as for the general public including the downtown community:
5) To be able to walk, dance, stand or sit on public sidewalks without fear of retribution, retaliation or brutality.

Backstory:

Recently, an unidentified (at this point) man was beaten and then choked while he was already on the ground by security guards working for Insert Coins outside the bar on the public sidewalk. Although it doesn’t show what happened immediately before on the public video, it’s been reported that the security guard involved in the beating was the instigator, based on the surveillance tape.

Regardless of whatever might have happened beforehand, beating and choking someone after they are already on the ground and rendered defenseless by three bouncers is wrong and it is pretty clear that that is what is happening in the video. Further, a fourth bouncer attempted to prevent a witness from recording the assault. later a fifth bouncer, who actually works for the Griffin (across the street), took that witnesses phone away from him, broke it, and assaulted him as well, in order to keep it from being recorded.

Finally, an officer from the LVMPD, who was responding to the call, refused to talk to the witness, view the video he told him he had, or in any way try to discern what had happened. Instead he told that witness to “get the f@!! out of here!” and arrested the person that had been beaten.

YouTube Description from attorney Stephen Stubbs:
“On the evening of February 12, 2015, A man (who appeared to be homeless and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol) was dancing on the sidewalk in front of Insert Coins on Fremont Street.

Security guards were yelling at him to leave and the dancing man ignored them (continued dancing). When the Security guards taunted the dancing man to attack them, my client (who does not wish to come forward with his identity) took out his phone and started recording.

A security guard attacked the dancing man, beat him up and continued to choke and beat him even after he was lying motionless on the ground. A plain closed security guard tried to obstruct my client from videotaping the incident and even physically pushed him away.

A security guard from the Griffin on Fremont then crossed the street, attacked my client, grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground (destroying it).

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Why Dustin McCaskill’s Arrest Actually Validates Cop Block’s Accountability

Dustin MccaskillRecently, it was reported that Dustin McCaskill was arrested here in Las Vegas for making threats on Facebook. There is some room for arguments about whether the First Amendment applies in this case, but unlike some other recent cases, Dustin has made specific and persistent threats for well over a year.

One of the things mentioned in the article is that these threats were made on Dustin’s “Colorado Cop Block” Facebook page, which has apparently been removed by someone (possibly FB, but as far as I know, the person and exact reason is not known, at this time). There is a bit of context that needs to be added there. Because of violent threats of the same nature both against police and other citizens on Dustin’s previous CB page, “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block,” which was eventually removed by FB as a result of the threats, Cop Block publicly disassociated itself from Dustin and SOCB last year (almost exactly one year ago). Not only was a post made on the main page explaining the reasons for that action, but SOCB was removed from the directory of official CB pages and content generated by that page was no longer accepted for reposts, either on the site or the main Cop Block FB page.

Later, after Dustin moved to Colorado, he again tried to use Cop Block’s notoriety to gain attention for himself, by creating the “Colorado Cop Block” page. This was even after he had himself claimed he didn’t want to be associated with Cop Block and had only kept “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block” as the title of his page because he wasn’t allowed by Facebook to change it. He also had created several anti-Cop Block pages, including one named “Cop Block Exposed” (which actually predated the Cop Block Exposed page that got a bit of attention recently by “exposing” really easy to find information and pictures about some of the members of CB and prompted him to complain about his page being the “original” CBX page).

Some of Dustin's less than wise advice.

Some of Dustin’s less than wise advice to South Florida Cop Block on Facebook.

It didn’t take long before he was posting violent threats again and had actually escalated to the type of things that got him arrested. So, it also wasn’t long before another post publicly disassociating Cop Block from Dustin and his pages was posted. Instead of listening to that advice about avoiding aggressive behavior, Dustin ran around Facebook posting insults and threats to the admins (myself included) of any of the affiliate pages he could find that had shared that post and stating that admitting to the FBI that he made those threats, as well as the threats themselves, were “the way to get things done” or some variation of that.

We can have discussions about when and if people should defend themselves against aggression by the cops, which is something Cop Block has done in the past, as evidenced by the “controversial” (mostly among people that have never watched it) Larken Rose video “When Should You Shoot a Cop?,” which discusses that very issue. Also, as stated, there is some level of argument that can be made about the First Amendment protection of speech vs. actions. However, making public threats (that Dustin obviously wasn’t even capable of carrying out) isn’t actually the way to get anything done, but more realistically, just a good way to get yourself put in prison, where you can’t do shit but sit and stare at a wall, or maybe even get murdered yourself.

The real moral to this entire story is that, unlike the police, Cop Block does blow the whistle on people that are potentially dangerous and that aren’t upholding the purpose and principles of Cop Block as an organization. Rather than making excuses for and covering up for Dustin, when we saw that he might likely do something that would reflect badly on all of us and prevent us from doing the positive mission that we set about to do, we publicly disassociated ourselves from him and warned others that he did not represent us or our goals as an organization. As has been stated numerous times, Cop Block is committed to non-aggression in our efforts to eliminate police abuses and aggression from them against others.

In addition, as I personally stated in a post the morning before I and three other individuals were arrested for peacefully and legally protesting the incredible lack of accountability by the LVMPD in August of 2013, it would benefit police themselves if they would exercise the same sort of responsibility when members of their group do things that will reflect badly on them and hinder their ability to accomplish their “mission,” instead of reacting with even more aggression toward those who rightfully point out those transgressions.

The transgressions of individuals reflect badly on a group at an inverse level dictated by the positive actions that a group takes to address those actions. When a group covers up for and enables an individual to continue negative behavior, the actions of those individuals rightfully reflects badly on the entire group. When a group does the right thing, then people understand that no group can keep every individual that has ever been involved with that group from doing something bad. “Bad Apples” have to be removed before they spoil the whole barrel, not used as an excuse that allows the rot to continue.

Cop Block can point to a legitimate and consistent history of holding our bad apples accountable for their adverse actions, while the police have a long and constant tradition of protecting theirs from any sort of repercussions for their actions, regardless of how bad or deadly they might be.

Kelly W. Patterson – admin of Nevada Cop Block  and Cop Block Press Passes (as well as a contributing writer on CopBlock.org and primary writer/editor for NVCopBlock.org)

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