Tag Archives: Chris Collins

Jesus Arevalo, the LVMPD Cop Who Murdered Stanley Gibson, Ends Up in Jail (For 10 Days)

Jesus Arevalo LV Police Murder Stanley GibsonThe former Las Vegas cop, who in December of 2011 fired the shots that killed Gulf War vet Stanley Gibson as he sat unarmed in a car, has been sentenced to 10 days of jail for contempt of court by Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Heidi Almase. This particular sentence is related to a subsequent charge in which Jesus Arevalo was found guilty of harassing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. Arevalo was seen and heard by numerous witnesses making death threats against Steve Delao, who is now married to Arevalo’s former wife Catherine, in public at a church.

It’s not exactly clear what constituted that charge of contempt. However, one of the stipulations of his sentencing was that if he violated the protection order his wife has against him after his release he would have to serve the 179 day suspended sentence that he received from that conviction. This would imply that the contempt charge involves some sort of violation of that protection order.

stanley_gibson_shootingAt the time that Jesus Arevalo shot him, Stanley Gibson was not even suspected of being armed (as testified by other officers at the scene), was suffering from a panic attack precipitated by a mental illness and PTSD related to his wartime military service, and was merely sitting in a car that had been blocked in and completely immobilized by police vehicles (see video embedded below). He was incoherent, unresponsive and not in any way threatening or even capable of harming anyone. The police had responded to a suspected break in after Stanley became confused and went to the wrong apartment thinking it was where he lived after having just moved.

Arevalo was a problem cop with an extensive history of complaints and internal discipline, who should have been fired long before he got the opportunity to kill Stanley Gibson. Instead, he was moved from one unit to another and eventually put on the graveyard shift. According to his ex-wife, he had in fact stated that he wanted to kill someone in order to get paid time off, as well as making disparaging and racist comments about Gibson to her after the shooting. Arevalo is just one example of the LVMPD’s abysmal history of refusing and even actively working to prevent accountability for the criminals within their ranks.

Jesus Arevalo's Court Record

Jesus Arevalo’s Court Record

Although on paper he was punished by being fired, Jesus Arevalo was never held accountable or punished in any real way for the murder of Stanley Gibson. Instead, he was effectively rewarded for his deadly actions that day. First, he was given two years of paid vacation while his former coworkers at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “investigated” the shooting. Then former Sheriff Gillespie dragged his feet long enough before “firing” Jesus Arevalo to allow him to put in for disability (for the stress of being called a murderer after he murderer someone).

He was approved for that disability just one month before his “firing” by the LVMPD. Among those on the board that approved his disability were Chris Collins, who at that time was the president of the LVPPA (the police union for departments within the Las Vegas area). Collins stated that he didn’t feel it was a conflict of interest because they “didn’t hang out together.” As part of his “disability,” Arevalo now receives just under $30,000 (plus future cost of living increases) per year for the rest of his life. Unlike Social Security disability, people receiving government disability are also not precluded from working, they are just not allowed to be employed in the same field. So, Arevalo will receive that $30k/year Killer’s Bonus on top of whatever he makes in another job.

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Did Las Vegas Police Retaliate Against Nevada Cop Block for Local Activism?

Kelly W. Patterson. NVCopBlock.org editor and local activist, shortly after a hit and run "accident."

Kelly W. Patterson. NVCopBlock.org editor and longtime local activist, shortly after a hit and run “accident.”

A Week of Oddly-Timed “Coincidences”

Two months ago, on March 5th, I was struck by a hit and run driver while walking in downtown Las Vegas. Anybody that’s familiar with Las Vegas traffic knows that in itself isn’t exactly an unusual event. However, a string of incredibly oddly timed and interconnected events surrounding my own incident, including another local activist being hit by a car the previous day, have made many within the local activist community wonder if there wasn’t more to it than just a random car “accident.” In fact, some have even classified it as an assassination attempt by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Personally, I’m putting this out there because I feel that it’s important that people know about it and that there be a public record of it. Because of my injuries, which included a broken back, and the medication that I was taking for those injuries, it did take me a while to get this written, but once again, I think it is important to get this on the record. Not unlike other issues involving Cop Block related activities, when those activities make you a target, visibility and transparency are important not just to ensure accountability but to provide protection for those involved. I really don’t want to see any other “coincidences” happen to any of my friends or other activists within the Las Vegas area and making it public makes it difficult for it to happen again without people connecting the dots.

This account is rather long, but I don’t think I could have condensed it much more and still shown all the various connections and commonalities between the incidents of the week in question and the past two years that establish the possible motives and “likely suspects.” To make things a a little easier to follow, I did create a timeline that lays out most of those connections in a visual manner, which you can find a thumbnail to below.

A Timeline of Events Surrounding the Week of Oddly Timed “Coincidences”

Click for a larger, more readable version

Click for a larger, more readable version

That week actually consisted of four separate incidents involving members or associates of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective (a local activist group that several members of NV Cop Block also belong to). All four of those involved members with ties to anti-police brutality activism, in general, and protests using chalk, in particular. That detail is fairly significant because last August the LVMPD dedicated an entire task force and two months of their time to investigate, charge, and arrest four people (the “Sunset 4“), including myself, for conducting chalk protests relating to police killings in the Las Vegas area and the lack of accountability for questionable shootings or even several that amount to outright murder.

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY "punishment" is paid leave.

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY “punishment” is paid leave.

The first of these incidents, on March 4th, 2014, was when one of the “Sunset 4” arrestees was stopped by Metro police for the rather arbitrary reasoning of supposedly following the car in front of her too closely. To further complicate this incident, just prior to the stop, she had dropped off Ballentine, who had also been among those of us arrested in August of 2013, prior to being stopped.

During the stop, the cops brought up the fact that she had been arrested for chalking and questioned her about her involvement in protesting. At the time, it was considered harassing, but because it was the first incident, it was assumed that they had just noticed the arrest on her record and wasn’t widely believed to be a targeted act.

Later that same evening, the second incident took place, this time involving local activist Jen Harney, who had organized a widely publicized protest shortly after the chalking arrests. Similar to my own incident, while crossing the street downtown she was hit by a car. Later, it was determined that the person driving the car she was hit by was not only an ex-cop, but that he currently works for a company that sells weapons and equipment to police departments.

The very next night, on March 5th, I was walking to the bank down Charleston near Las Vegas Blvd. As I (legally) crossed 8th street, a car made a right turn off of Charleston, ran into me, and kept going. During the collision, I suffered a concussion, and as is often the case in accidents, I don’t remember much beyond the initial point where I saw the car was going to hit me. However, I do have some hazy memories of afterwards and I’m pretty certain that the car didn’t make any effort to stop at all.

Finally, the last incident happened two days later on March 7th, 2014, during a “First Friday” art festival, which is held every month in downtown Las Vegas. Once again, this involved Jen, who was holding the official grand opening for a gallery and art supply store she owns. Late in the evening, a group of uniformed LVMPD officers came to the store.

While there, they displayed no actual interest in shopping, but instead stood together outside looking through the window. Soon after, they approached the doorway and again just stood watching as Jen’s partner, who is not particularly involved in activism, spoke to some customers. She asked them if there was anything she could help them with and subsequently asked them if they would like her to give them a tour of the gallery. They refused both those requests and continued for some time behaving in a way that made her feel very “freaked out” and intimidated, in general.

The Connections

Metro Doesn't Like When people Bring Attention to All Those Murders

Metro Doesn’t Like When People Bring Attention to All Those Murders

As previously stated, taken separately none these incidents are particularly unusual in Las Vegas. Even those clearly involving intimidation and harassment are pretty standard behavior for Las Vegas area police departments. While it gets a little more suspicious, even the two incidents involving people being run down by cars within less than 24 hours could conceivably just be wild coincidences. However, taken as a whole and factoring in all the common connections paints these as a rather unlikely and most oddly timed set of “coincidences.”

First of all, as has already been pointed out, all four of the incidents involved someone with both a connection to anti-police brutality protests and the previous chalking arrests. Secondly, three of those four incidents involved obvious, direct, and provable connections to the police and even to the LVMPD. The lone exception to that is the hit and run against me, in which the driver has not been identified. Thirdly, the limited time frame itself casts suspicion on the randomness of these events. All four of these incidents happened within a 96 hour period and three of the four took place within 24 hours of each other.

Expanding beyond that, there are even more common connections than those simple, obvious ones. On February 14th, 2014 officers from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) abused and subsequently murdered a man after cyclists called 911 to report that he was attempting to flag people down and appeared to be in need of assistance by Red Rock Canyon, just north of Las Vegas, and instead of offering that assistance they sent police to arrest him. In response, members of Nevada Cop Block conducted a protest involving chalking at the headquarters of the Nevada Highway Patrol, which had also had an employee present at the shooting, a few days later.

This particular protest took place roughly two weeks prior to the beginning of the four incidents. In addition, an undercover police officer in an unmarked vehicle was parked across from the NHP headquarters when those taking apart arrived, even though it hadn’t been announced publicly until about thirty minutes before it was scheduled to take place. This clearly shows that the police are still closely monitoring (the justification for those earlier illegal arrests involved surveillance by the LVMPD, both online and in person, which was detailed in the arrest reports) the activities of NVCB and the Sunset Activist Collective.

Yet another “coincidence” is that these incidents all took place during the week prior to the second Saturday of the month. This is significant because “Second Saturdays” are the days on which the regular monthly anti-police brutality protests that lead to the arrests for writing things the cops didn’t like with chalk are typically held. And a protest at the headquarters of the BLM was in fact scheduled for that day, although it was postponed by one day (see below) due to the four incidents that week.

The Motives and Previous Examples of Retaliation

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

There are no shortage of clear motives for Las Vegas police to go after members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective. Members, both individually and as a group, have a long history of being very active within local grassroots organizations. This has often involved acts of civil disobedience and many times has involved direct criticism of the police and their historical lack of accountability. After the murder of Stanley Gibson in December of 2011, a regular, sustained pattern of such protests began.

Metro showed their willingness to engage in retaliation and intimidation against those who would dare to criticize them and their policies by engaging in a targeted and concerted effort to justify arresting us on trumped up charges. Not only did they attempt to characterize drawing with chalk as a graffiti crime, but they also threw in the old standby for “stacking” charges of conspiring to commit the non-crime. In order to do so, they created an actual task force dedicated to investigating, charging, and arresting some people writing stuff with chalk. Also, as detailed in the police arrest reports, they engaged in surveillance of those they wished to arrest. This included monitoring of online and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc), as well as actual, physical surveillance.

Additionally, even the bogus graffiti charges only allowed for a citation to be issued, which the city had already refused to prosecute, unless the “damage” caused amounted to more than $250. So, in order to arrest the “Sunset 4” they had to convince the county District Attorney to actually prosecute it and they had to inflate the clean-up costs for something that throwing a little water on would remove. All of that (once again) was for some people writing stuff with chalk on sidewalks.

Not surprisingly, there was a rather large uproar within the community once the ridiculousness of the charges and the outrageous $1550 clean up bill was made public. This led to the charges being dropped shortly after and was yet another in a long string of embarrassing incidents that would eventually lead to Clark County Sheriff Gillespie announcing that he would not be running for office again in the upcoming election. The story also got picked up by the AP and received national press coverage, which had the inverse effect of shining a bright light on all the questionable killings and complete lack of accountability toward them that we had been protesting in the first place and which they were trying to intimidate us into not bringing attention to.

Political Prisoners

Political Prisoners

Those arrests were, of course, not the first time Metro has abused their authority or retaliated against someone. In a pretty well publicized incident, they came to the house of the widow of a man they murdered and held her brother hostage until she agreed to allow them to search that house in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find a weapon or some other incriminating evidence to justify their killing of him. Another well known case involves a woman who was arrested while appearing in Family Court after she reported having been sexually assaulted by one of the marshals working at the court. Similarly, a Las Vegas Constable was recently placed under investigation for stalking and sexually harassing a woman and then shooting her dog when she refused his advances. In yet another case, the lawyer for a group of bikers involved in a harassment lawsuit against Metro was himself arrested.

The LVMPD doesn’t limit themselves to retaliating against and harassing everyday citizens, either. It was recently reported by a former Metro captain that the top brass within the LVMPD held an internal meeting to coordinate an effort to dig up dirt on Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak. The reason that they wanted to do so was in order to discredit him after he opposed a proposal to raise Las Vegas area sales taxes to finance the hiring of additional cops (more on that later).

Why Would They Come After Me Specifically?


Pointing at Gillespie

This is something that people not familiar with local police issues and the people involved in those issues might ask. One of the more obvious reasons why I would be chosen is a simple matter of convenience. I’m pretty well known around town for being an avid bike rider and prior to being injured I rode on the average about three hundred miles a week between commuting and recreational group rides. So, if you were going to pick someone to target with a car “accident,” picking the guy who’s on a bike in traffic at least two or three hours every day is a pretty easy choice to make.

However, anyone familiar with Nevada Cop Block‘s and my own actions over the past two years probably already has a pretty good idea of the deeper reasons. I founded NVCopBlock.org shortly after Officer Jesus Arevalo, who was at that time an employee of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department, murdered (on video) a friend of mine from high school, named Stanley Gibson, on December 12, 2011. While I had been involved for quite a while in activism and anti-governmental abuse issues locally and informally with Cop Block on a national level, this unnecessary, and in my opinion intentional, killing of an innocent, unarmed person that I actually knew made things personal for me.

During the arrest that has already been discussed there were several indicators that things soon became personal toward me for the cops, as well. Not only were several references made to Cop Block or “that Cop Block guy” by people during our booking, but I personally overheard a phone call (once again during booking) in which one of the members of the task force they created to arrest us stated “we got Kelly.” The fact that he mentioned me by name shows that there was some effort to target me personally. (I was actually rather pleased that they displayed such an awareness of Cop Block, since I think it’s important that they know we’re watching them and it showed that we were doing an effective job.)

At the same time, the LVMPD and their lobbyists within the Clark County government were busy undoing reforms that had been created to address the glaring lack of accountability that the much criticized Coroner’s Inquest process allowed. They were, in fact, working to replace those reforms with a new system for reviewing police fatalities that was even worse and less transparent than the original Coroner’s Inquests that had failed to hold even one single cop accountable for shooting someone, even when that person was unarmed and/or completely innocent in the entire history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments' Pathetic History of "Accountability"

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments’ Pathetic History of “Accountability”

Knowing that they intended to ensure Stanley Gibson would join Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, and Henry Rowe on the long list of people blatantly murdered by local police for which no accountability would be afforded or even pursued. I and others involved with Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective began staging demonstrations against the circumvention of the inquest reforms and police brutality, in general. This soon evolved into regularly scheduled protests held every “Second Saturday” of the month and came to include writing with chalk as a regular method of exposing police abuses and paying tribute to their victims.

This continued for about nine months before police first tried to intimidate us by issuing us citations for writing on sidewalks with chalk that is specifically sold for the purpose of writing on sidewalks. While those bogus tickets were never even filed, they set into motion the chain of events that led to the even more bogus arrests about two months later. That in turn led to even more embarrassment for Metro after public outrage at the ridiculousness of the charges and inflated clean up costs required to justify them led to those charges being quickly dropped.

MoreCopsFlyerShortly after that, Sheriff Gillespie announced amidst an almost constant barrage of scandals involving the LVMPD that he would no longer be seeking reelection for the next term, but that he would instead be putting his full efforts into passing the “More Cops” tax, which would increase the county sales taxes in order to fund the hiring of additional cops, and that getting it passed would be considered his legacy as sheriff.

Lines Out the Door Against "More Cops"

Lines Out the Door Against “More Cops”

I don’t normally get very involved in the formal political process because it usually amounts to nothing more than a waste of time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. However, partly because of my desire to connect with and support some very cool people and groups that had supported me while I was in jail and partly because it presented me with an opportunity to bring even more public attention to Metro’s abuses and personally confront those enabling and even encouraging it, such as Sheriff Gillespie and Las Vegas Police Union spokesman Chris Collins, I did become very involved in the fight against the More Cops tax.

Although they kept trying to bring it back hoping to outlast the opposition, ultimately Sheriff Gillespie’s “signature proposal” was defeated and in the process those that spoke out against it were able to bring a lot of attention to the waste and abuses within the LVMPD. Our “graffiti” arrests and the inflated clean up costs used to justify them, were often cited as examples of both those things. During the first time I spoke against the tax, a picture of me pointing at Sheriff Gillespie and calling his decision to refuse a recommendation to fire a cop that had shot an unarmed man because he thought his hat was a gun disgraceful was posted in the local paper as part of the coverage of the Commission’s vote against it.

Also by chance, during the public comments for the final vote a few months later, when the tax was ultimately defeated (until the next sheriff gets into office and brings it back), I actually ended up at the podium at the same time Chris Collins, head of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association – the police union – and was able to reference a previous comment he had made that all the money being wasted and all the people being wrongfully killed “had nothing to do” with the More Cops tax.


That'd be great Metro

That’d be great Metro

Those two instances of public defiance of the two biggest mob bosses in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, along with the ongoing protests and the public embarrassment caused by their previous attempts to bully us into stopping with citations and arrests, would by themselves be enough motive for someone to want to send a message to members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective and to want to personally retaliate and try to intimidate me. As was shown by their plan to discredit Clark County Commission Chairman Sisolak, the defeat of the tax increase that was so coveted was enough to make them want to strike back at those involved in opposing it.

Furthermore, their attempts to have us arrested and jailed for four years (contrary to the single year that was widely reported, we actually potentially faced one year for each of the four charges against us) for drawing on a side walk with something that would take a couple minutes to clean up with some water and a broom (and in fact didn’t need to be cleaned up unless someone didn’t want people reading the things written about them), shows their vindictiveness toward us.

Even with all of those reasons to potentially want to go after NVCopBlock in general and myself in particular, it might still seem a bit farfetched that they would actually try to assassinate me with a car. In fact, I hadn’t been on the look for that sort of tactic and wasn’t entirely convinced it was the case until after the “First Friday” incident, simply because it’s so incredibly easy for Las Vegas area police to get away with murder that I always figured if they wanted to come after us they would just shoot at us.

This Offer Still Stands

This Offer Still Stands

However, within the past few days a story surfaced in which a Muslim that the FBI was trying to pressure into becoming an informant actually recorded a federal agent warning him that he “might get hit by a car.” So it’s not exactly a foreign concept to them.

For decades, law enforcement agencies have employed “COINTELPRO” type programs to intimidate, falsely imprison, disrupt, and even kill activists and members of activist groups. On a federal level, the FBI used such tactics against MLK, Malcolm X, Jerry Rubin, Fred Hampton (who was drugged by a police informant and then murdered by Chicago police in his sleep), and even Albert Einstein, based primarily on their political activities and perceived threat to the power that those in authority at the time held. On a side note, while I don’t actually suspect that the Feds were involved in our incidents, someone self-identifying as a member of military intelligence did show up to our chalking actions at the Regional Injustice Center, one of the actions for which we were later arrested.

The “Aftermath” – AKA: Did It Work?

Not gonna Stop

Not Gonna Stop

If that question is taken literally, then it did almost work. As a result of the hit and run, I suffered a pretty severe concussion, a very badly bruised shoulder, and worst of all a compression fracture to my spine (which necessitated the ridiculously uncomfortable brace in the picture at the top of this article that I had to wear nonstop, including while sleeping, for an entire week). While I’m much better and at this point it’s just a matter of some residual pain, I am still recovering from that broken back two months later. I’m also quite certain that had I been hit even a fraction of a second earlier and been more to the center of the car, rather than toward the right corner, I probably would have been killed rather than injured.

However, since I wasn’t killed, the answer is an unequivocal no. If anything it makes me more determined to expose them for the criminals they truly are. Not only did they not intimidate me into stopping, the “Second Saturday” protest that we had scheduled to bring attention to D’Andre Berghardt Jr., the person the BLM murdered out by Red Rock Canyon in February, 2014, went on as planned with just a one day postponement to Sunday. Personally, I think that the fact they felt they needed to take me out just shows that what we’ve been doing is working and getting to them. Plus, I think we owe it to the people that have been murdered in the past without any justice or accountability to keep at it.

Although, both the arrests and the recent incidents have actually caused some of the people who originally came to our demonstrations to back off, the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments can count on the fact that I won’t be going away anytime soon and nothing they do will ever be enough to intimidate or scare me away from demanding true accountability from them.

Still chalking

Support NVCopBlock – Because We Always Support You

Front and Back Examples of Cop Block Press Passes

Front and Back Examples of Cop Block Press Passes

Nevada Cop Block T-shirt

Nevada Cop Block T-shirt

In somewhat unrelated news, Nevada Cop Block recently had personalized Cop Block t-shirts created bearing the fancy new NVCopBlock logo, which is awesome (and I’m not just saying that because I’m the one that designed it). And of course, as always you can still order the Official Cop Block Press Passes via the Nevada Cop Block Site shop.

Additionally, the entire shop has been updated to accommodate the T-shirts and other new items that will be added soon. One of the new features is the ability to use Bitcoin and other “crypto” currencies within the shopping cart, if you’re into alternate currencies. (You can still donate directly to our Bitcoin wallet, also: 1JaQEAyPS71GW2JPPCMqMN53mTGMjVqctT).

Another really cool new feature with the new shop is that it has the option to sign up as an affiliate. What that means is that you can obtain a personalized referral link to share on your own website, Facebook, Twitter, or pretty much anywhere else you can post links. Whenever someone using that link purchases something on NVCopBlock.org, the person assigned to that link will receive 10% of any amount spent. So you can actually make a little money yourself by referring people.

Support Cop Block in Nevada and Get Some Cool Stuff in Return


Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibson’s Murder by LVMPD

Las Vegas is an increasingly more dangerous place anytime police are in the area.

The first “Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review,” regarding the murder of Stanley Gibson by Metro Officer Jesus Arevalo, is scheduled to take place on Thursday February 28th beginning at 9:00 am and will be located at the Clark County Government Center, where the Clark County Board of Commissioners hold their regular meetings.

We’ll be meeting up at 8:00am in order to organize together and go over the specifics of what we will be doing to bring attention to Stanley’s murder. It’s incredibly important for anyone that cares about justice and supports accountability for police that commit crimes against people within the Las Vegas community to be there and make their voice heard for past victims of police violence and to prevent future innocent victims.

In spite of the long-winded name change, the new process that was created by LVMPD’s Sheriff Gillespie and Chris Collins of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (Police Union) is designed to do anything but allow the public to find facts. The reality is that it is much worse than the original, much maligned, Coroner’s Inquest system that it will be replacing.

Unlike the Coroner’s Inquest, the Police Fatality Review will involve no opportunity for testimony from witnesses and only voluntary testimony by the police involved in the shootings, which the LVPPA has already gone on record as saying that pretty much has no chance of happening. What it amounts to is a choreographed staging of the police department’s version of events with zero representation from a genuine neutral party, the victim’s family, or independent witnesses.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson actually referred to it as a “performance,” while endorsing it, during the Commissioner’s meeting in which it was initially proposed. That’s just how much of a blatant and callous cover up the Police Fatality Review is.

The first case to go before this Police Fatality Review involves the murder of Stanley Gibson, an unarmed man who was shot seven times by Jesus Arevalo in spite of having committed no actual crime and having had his vehicle blocked in by several police cars so that it was unable to move.

Stanley, a disabled veteran, who was lost and suffering a panic attack as a result of PTSD and other ailments he suffered during his time in the Persian Gulf, represented no direct or imminent probability of harming anyone at the time.

There was no reason for any of the dozens of heavily armed police to feel in any way threatened by him. And the fact that of all those cops there, only Jesus Arevalo felt the need to fire the shots that killed Stanley Gibson only supports that conclusion.

Caution Police State ahead

Caution Police State ahead

Instead of holding someone that at best was grossly negligent that night accountable for his actions, D.A. Wolfson, Sheriff Gillespie, LVPPA’s Chris Collins, the Clark County Board of Commissioners, and every other member of the LV Metro Police Department are closing ranks around him in a misguided attempt to cover up yet another officer involved shooting under what could only mildly be called questionable circumstances.

Anyone living in Las Vegas should be well aware that there is a longstanding problem with brutality and outright murder by members of Las Vegas area police departments, especially those of the LVMPD. In several cases, especially those involving Stanley Gibson, Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, Henry Rowe, and Rafael Olivas, the circumstances behind the shooting have been incredibly questionable, if not completely inexcusable.

The obvious reason for the mounting body count by local police is the fact that no Las Vegas area police officer has EVER been held accountable for shooting someone, no matter how questionable that shooting has been.

Replacing what was already a terribly flawed system with one that not only retains those flaws, but incorporates even less transparency and can only be seen as a conscious effort to ensure the police never have to fear being held accountable for deaths they cause not only doesn’t address this problem, but in reality actually makes it harder for the police to do the things they are supposed to do by creating a lack of trust and discouraging any support for police from the people living within the community that they work.

It’s a self-perpetuating downward spiral that only exacerbates an already toxic and often violent relationship. The time to put an end to this has already passed and things can only get worse at this point if the transparency and accountability that Sheriff Gillespie promises so often isn’t actually upheld truthfully and with honest intentions.

As of right now, I have been unable to find any info regarding the specifics of the expected length of the kangaroo court that will begin Thursday or restrictions on public entry into the chambers where it will be held. Although, I suspect this lack of information is intentional, if I do come across that information I will post it here.

Don’t Let Coroner’s Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

Las Vegas Coroner's Inquest

Why are Las Vegas area police so afraid of transparency and accountability?

Tomorrow, Dec. 4th, beginning at 9:30 AM the Clark County Commission is scheduled to vote on proposed reforms to the Coroner’s Inquest process in which killings by Las Vegas area police are reviewed and facts surrounding them are made public.

If you have any desire to see transparency in cases where police shoot people and accountability for those innocent people amongst that rapidly growing number you should do everything you can to attend that meeting and let your feelings be known. (See map below.)

Reportedly, with the exception of Chris Giunchigliani, the commission is preparing to vote against the proposed reforms, which would effectively end the Coroner’s Inquests.

As has been well documented, the original Coroner’s Inquests served more as a dog and pony show where the official cover story was pushed and contradictory evidence and witnesses were minimized or outright withheld. All of which only served to exonerate police when they murdered innocent people rather than as a true fact finding investigation.

The inevitable criticisms and lack of confidence in such an obviously orchestrated and dishonest process led to demands for reforms from the families of people killed by Las Vegas police under suspicious circumstances, several communitty organizations, as well as both the NAACP and ACLU on behalf of victims. The resulting reforms, while not a perfect solution provided for several changes in the Coroner’s Inquest process to bring more transparency and increase the chance for true accountability, such as the ability for the victims to be represented by a lawyer that would have the ability to question witnesses. This in and of itself was an important step forward, since the District Attorney, who controls all the evidence and witnesses presented during the Coroner’s Inquest, has demonstrated a bias toward the police officers involved.

Las Vegas Coroner's Inquests

An all too common in the Las Vegas area lately.

Not surprisingly, the police and in particular the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA) have very little interest in a transparent process that might expose the murders their colleagues have committed. The LVPPA in it’s misguided attempts to “protect” police regardless of how glaringly wrong individual cops might be in a case or how negatively that affects the ability of other cops to do their job, has advised police not to cooperate with the new inquest should it be implemented. They also attempted to have the reforms thrown out as unconstitutional via a lawsuit that failed, but required that some minor procedural alterations be made to who was in charge of the inquest proceedings.

Unfortunately, largely because of that refusal to participate by local police, the County Commissioners are reportedly ready to buckle to pressure and scrap the Coroner’s Inquest process altogether. This would be bad for many reasons, not the least of which are that the alternatives are dramatically worse than the already inadequate original version of the Coroner’s Inquest was.

In most cases since the Coroner’s Inquests were put on hold, District Attorney Steve Wolfson has been issuing statements to explain his lack of desire to hold officers accountable for their actions. The fact that he recently stated that Henderson police are actually trained to kick defenseless people in the head repeatedly as a reason for not punishing a police officer in one of those statements doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in that as a viable substitute.

Nor does the use of grand juries as the other apparent option hold much hope for a fair outcome. As was pointed out on this site a while back, grand juries are highly secretive and in pretty much every other respect, including the DA’s exclusive control over witnesses and evidence, have all the same flaws that the previous Coroner’s Inquest process contained.

The lack of accountability for their actions up to and including outright murder has lead to a shoot first mentality amongst the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and other area police. It’s actually getting to the point where it is hard to keep track of the instances of police involved shooting because they happen so often. Recently approved reforms are the only way to ensure transparency and justice for the families of the victims of questionable shooting by local police.

Further Info and Reasons to Support Coroner’s Inquest Reforms:

Erik Scott

Erik Scott was murdered by Las Vegas Metro police on July 10, 2010. The obvious problems with the Coroner’s Inquest proceeding in his case were likely the final straw that lead to the current reforms.

Statement (via Facebook post) from Bill Scott, Eric Scott‘s father:

Per Lisa’s appeal (below), please consider being at the County Commissioners’ meeting on 4 Dec.

Potential Outcome 1: If the commissioners cave in to the PPA (police union), only the District Attorney will be deciding whether officer-involved shootings were justified. As DA Steve Wolfson has demonstrated, to date, he NEVER finds fault with Metro shootings, because he relies completely on Metro’s flawed “investigations” of OISs.

In a recent case, Wolfson “chose” to not review high-definition security-system video evidence that clearly proved Metro officers shot and killed a young man for no reason (the Olivas murder). If the DA can’t be bothered to look at indisputable data/evidence that counters Metro’s cover-up narrative, how will 1) victims’ families know the facts surrounding their loved ones’ death, and 2) rogue/bad police officers be held accountable for shooting innocents?

Potential Outcome 2: If the county commissioners decide to eliminate the NEW coroner’s inquest process and go back to the long-ago-discredited grand jury process, reviews of OISs will be a secret, closed-door process. The grand jury would be stacked with “citizens” who are cop-friendly, and, again, rogue/bad cops would be routinely exonerated. That outcome is virtually guaranteed, because appointments to the grand jury would be carefully controlled by those friendly to Metro and beholden to intransigent obstructionists, the PPA union.

If the community is to have any hope of holding its police force accountable, getting rid of dangerous “cowboy cops,” and stopping the epidemic of senseless, deadly OISs, it’s imperative that county commissioners modify the NEW coroner’s inquest ordinance to ensure it complies with the recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling.

That’s a simple change to the existing ordinance, but the PPA union is fighting reinstatement of inquest hearings under the new procedures, and any other credible means for “civilians” to hold police officers accountable for their deadly behavior.

Unless hundreds of Las Vegas-area citizens show up on 4 Dec. and explain to the commissioners that murders-by-cops will NOT be tolerated, the PPA will prevail, and the commissioners will cave to union and DA pressure. And killer-cops will never again be deterred from shooting, when less-than-lethal alternatives would be more appropriate.

As you think about whether to expend the time and effort to attend the 4 Dec. meeting, please consider: If Officer Wm. Mosher had been TRULY held accountable for his 2006 shooting, he might have been either in prison, or fired from the Metro police force and not on the streets of Las Vegas on July 10, 2010. And my son, Erik, would be alive today.

Letting PPA union thugs run roughshod over county commissioners and a community has deadly consequences. Erik paid for Metro/PPA thuggery with his life. Who will be the next killer-cops’ victims?

Thanks for your kind support of this vital campaign to restore justice.

Bill Scott

The post referencedby Bill Scott in his statement:

When the Government Prosecutes one of Its Own, the Scales of justice are Tipped Heavily Against the Common Citizen


The Clark County Commission will be discussing the coroner’s inquest process for officer-involved homicides on December 4, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. We need the Commission to pass a simple housekeeping measure to allow the inquests to proceed. The Commission needs to understand that the public does not want it to abandon or water down the coroner’s inquests for officer-involved homicides. The LVMPD has a very high rate of officer-involved homicides, and the public deserves to know the facts when a member of the community is killed.

Meet outside the County Commission building at 9:15 a.m. on December 4, 2012. We will have free t-shirts so you can tell the Commission: “START THE INQUESTS. WE DESERVE TO KNOW.”

What is the inquest process?
In December of 2010, the coroner’s inquest process was reformed into a transparent, public airing of the facts when the LVMPD kills a member of the public. The 2010 reforms did not make the process adversarial. They replaced the jury and verdict with a panel and neutral factual findings. To help get at the truth and ensure fairness, they also provided for participation by the officers, family members, and the public. The reforms were responsive to widespread concerns from citizens and the product of a democratic process and public input. The Sheriff supported the reforms and they also had broad public support (including from PLAN, the Las Vegas NAACP, NACJ, and the ACLU).

Why haven’t we had any inquests since reforms were passed?
Unfortunately, the Police Protective Association (PPA) has fought the implementation of the new inquest process, trying to avoid transparency. The Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court of Nevada have both rejected the PPA’s arguments that the process violated their rights, finding that the coroner’s inquest is a fair process. The Nevada Legislature also refused to abolish the inquest.

How can we fix the inquests?
The Nevada Supreme Court recently held that justices of the peace cannot preside over the inquests under current law. The Clark County Commission can easily fix this technical, procedural issue if it has the political will to stand up to the PPA. The issue regarding who should oversee inquests was not part of the 2010 changes. The pre-2007 had hearing master, oversee inquests. Just like justices of the peace, hearing masters are attorneys. They already oversee non-officer homicide inquests and are qualified to preside over inquests into officer-involved homicides.

Why should the inquest be fixed?

Stanley L. Gibson

Stanley L. Gibson, a disabled Army vet, was murdered by Ofc. Jesus Arevalo on Dec. 12, 2012

The public deserves to know what happens when the LVMPD kills a member of the community, and transparency is needed to restore the trust between the LVMPD and the public. The County has spent significant sums of money and time on the 2010 reform process, to defend the inquest in court, and to lobby at the legislature. That money should not go to waste.

Most importantly, since the 2010 changes were passed, there have been 22 officer-involved homicides. This means that a total of twenty two families now stand in line waiting to learn the facts about how their loved ones were killed. Without an inquest, there is no way for families to get direct access to information about their family members’ deaths. The families and the public that employs police officers want and deserve an open and transparent process in place so they can assess the facts surrounding office-involved homicides themselves.

Is there any reason to wait?
There is no reason to keep delaying. While the PPA has appealed the case it lost in federal court to the Ninth Circuit, there is no stay or injunction in place and nothing stopping the inquest from moving forward. In fact, both the Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court have already determined that the process adequately protects the rights of officers. Even if the PPA continues to improperly refuse to allow officers to participate regardless of whether the officers have any right to the protection of the Fifth Amendment claim, the inquests can move forward. Enough other evidence—evidence such as dispatch records, other witnesses, reports, and even video in some cases—can tell the story of what happened.

No more excuses. Start the inquests. We deserve to know.


Be there and make your voice heard!

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