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Update: LVMPD Officers Helped Fellow Vegas Cop Accused of Child Sex Abuse Intimidate Victim During Investigation

Officer Bret Theil LVMPD cop charged with dozens of counts related to the sexual abuse of a child

After he was informed that an investigation had been launched into the sexual abuse of a child against Officer Bret Theil some of his friends at the LVMPD helped him locate and attempt to threaten her.

Last month, I posted about Bret Theil, who was one of two LVMPD officers to be involved in an armed standoff with Metro’s own SWAT team during the same week. Unlike most regular citizens, Theil survived his encounter with SWAT completely unscathed, in spite of being armed, and was subsequently charged with over two dozen charges related to the sexual abuse of a child (purportedly a family member).

Those charges include six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

Soon after, Officer Theil’s case took on more of a national interest once it was revealed that he was present at the Mandalay Bay during the Route 91 Festival Shooting on October 1st. The fact that Theil was one of the Heroes that stood around in the hallway for over an hour doing nothing outside the hotel room of Stephen Paddock after he had already shot at a crowd of defenseless people fueled a lot of speculation.

Most of that speculation revolved around the idea that Theil had been “set up” to prevent him from (or warn against) revealing some nefarious details involving the Las Vegas Mass Shooting. As I posted earlier, I don’t personally believe that the charges (with a very real victim) were somehow fabricated for several reasons.

One of those reasons being that Theil is still alive after being involved in an armed standoff with the people that supposedly want to keep him quiet. Another being that charging somebody with several crimes that carry the possibility of life sentences is a pretty terrible way to prevent someone from spilling secrets. They simply don’t have much to lose by talking at that point.

The reality is that with the prevalence of sexual abuse and domestic violence among police officers, in general, and Las Vegas police, in particular, it’s not at all shocking that one (if not more) of those officers heroically hanging out in the hallway would face such charges.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Court Documents Reveal Details of Abuse

Officer Theil appeared in court on February 14th for an arraignment hearing. Included within the court documents filed as part of that hearing were grand jury transcripts that included details of the allegations against him. Those details illustrate how Theil used his position as a police officer to abuse and intimidate his victim. That abuse began when she was just eight years old and continued until she was nineteen.

According to  

The victim testified that in one of the most recent attacks, Theil used police-issued handcuffs to secure her to a bunk bed ladder for about an hour as he scolded her.

Before forcing her to perform sex acts on him, according to the testimony, he often used his position of authority as intimidation. An officer with Metro since August 1998, Theil would remove his police uniform and degrade the victim, sometimes erupting into fits of rage, she said.

Because of his job, his respect among neighbors and the cache of weapons she knew he kept, she was afraid to tell anyone about the ongoing abuse, she said.

“I felt drained,” she testified. “I felt fearful of what would happen if I told anyone, and I didn’t know if they would believe me.”

The first of more than 50 forced sexual encounters, including 10 after she turned 18, occurred inside the bathroom of his friend’s home, she testified.

In another incident, Theil allegedly struck the girl in the mouth, causing her to bleed.

At one point, he used a slick red plastic rope to tie her hands to the underside of a sit-up bench, she said.

Theil often would watch pornography on his cellphone or laptop while abusing her, according to the victim’s testimony, sometimes dragging her by the hair into submission.

“If I fought back with him,” she said, “I’m afraid he would probably knock me out.”

Other LVMPD Officers Helped Theil Locate Victim

Those grand jury transcripts also revealed that Officer Theil’s use of his position to intimidate and threaten his victim wasn’t just limited to the times he was actually committing those abuses. They also reveal he had a “little help from his friends” at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Once Theil was informed of the investigation into his crimes, he began an “urgent effort” to locate the victim before she could talk to the North Las Vegas police officers conducting that investigation. Among other things, he hired an attorney and a private investigator to search for her.

In addition, other officers within the LVMPD accessed a confidential law enforcement database in order to help Theil find her.

An intelligence database known as SCOPE, which contains personal and address information, was accessed to search for the victim from either Metro headquarters or a substation and an office at the College of Southern Nevada, according to testimony from Carey McCloud, a North Las Vegas detective.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins asked, “Do you know whether law enforcement was involved in looking for her?”

McCloud replied, “Just his friends, from what I understand.” – (same source as above quotes)

The victim was eventually located by the private investigator and prior to her contact with NLV detectives Theil threatened her repeatedly in an attempt to intimidate her into not cooperating with their investigation. Fortunately, it didn’t work this time.

As disgusting as it is that other Metro officers would not only look the other way, but actively assist Theil in abusing his victim, it shouldn’t be surprising. Las Vegas area police have a long and widespread history of engaging in, covering up, and condoning abuse by their own. And the list of Bad Apples goes all the way to the top of the tree.

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Was Las Vegas Cop Who Guarded Stephen Paddock’s Door at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st “Set Up” on Sex Charges?

One of the officers assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's door after they (finally) entered his room was Officer Bret Theil

    Bret Theil, one of the LVMPD officers that (eventually) entered Stephen Paddock’s room, was arrested for sexual abuse of a child, leading to speculation of ulterior motives for those charges.

Yesterday, I did a post about LVMPD Officer Bret Theil, the latest in a long and fast growing line of Las Vegas cops facing charges related to violence against women and/or sex crimes. He was indicted on Wednesday on over two dozen counts related to the sexual abuse of a child. That child is reportedly a family member and a according to several sources that abuse began when the victim was only seven years old.

Theil was arrested after an armed standoff with a Las Vegas SWAT team that began Wednesday night and didn’t end until early Thursday morning. As I reported yesterday, this was the second Metro cop that was involved in a “barricade situation” within the past week. There have also been over a half dozen Las Vegas area police officers involved in some sort of crime against women just since the beginning of this year.

Since that story was posted though, some additional information about Officer Theil has surfaced. The nature of that new information has led to a lot of speculation and theories about those charges being some sort of retaliation or method of “keeping him quiet” by Las Vegas police and the MGM corporation.

Did He See/Do Something He Shouldn’t Have?

It turns out that Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Based on the LVMPD’s Force Investigation Team (who are usually assigned to investigate when Metro police officers kill someone) report, Theil and another officer named Burns were assigned to guard the door to the suite Paddock had been staying at.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

LVMPD report shows Officer Bret Theil was assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's room at the Mandalay Bay.

LVMPD report naming Theil as one of the officers that guarded Stephen Paddock’s door. (Click for full size)

So the theory goes that Theil saw or was somehow involved in something shady that happened during the October 1st shootings. Variations of the theory are that he was set up with the sexual assault charges either to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw or to retaliate for some unspecified thing he did since then. The basics are that Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM ownership want to destroy his credibility and/or scare him into not talking.

Personally, I think there are some real holes in that theory, though. The first would be that if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. They pretty much have nothing to lose at that point.

So why wouldn’t they go ahead and tell everything they knew to anyone that would listen? Of course, the other side of this coin is that the nature of the charges would ruin his so no-one would listen. The truth is though that someone will always be willing to listen if you are telling them something they want to hear. Plus, if you’re trying to pull attention away from something that’s a terrible strategy, even if most people won’t believe it.

Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is easily the best way to do that. If a big part of your argument against Metro’s handling of the Mandalay Bay investigation is that they control investigations and cover-up facts (which is actually very true), then it follows that he would be very dead right now if they were trying to keep him quiet.

And, by extension, nobody who would want to question it would be given access to evidence that would enable them to raise those questions. The fact that they didn’t just shoot him like they do with most people that get involved in armed standoffs, but aren’t cops, tends to counter that argument that they were “out to get him.” Instead, Theil will live to get his beneficial plea deal and serve the probation he is likely to be sentenced to.

The other much more pragmatic reason why I don’t believe Officer Thiel was set up is the fact that it wasn’t a case of child porn being found on his computer or in his possession. (The fact that police claim to have found child porn on Paddock’s computer and that his brother is facing child porn charges in California is something that has factored into the theories.) Something like that could conceivably be planted on his computer.

However, these allegations are that he preyed on an actual known person and that person was a very young child. I believe those two factors make it very unlikely (not at all impossible, though) that he was just set up with false charges. I personally think the reality is that there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD and such a total lack of any sort of accountability (as well as within other departments nationwide) that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

What Happened in Vegas?

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, the movie 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.

A portion of that documentary is also devoted to the shootings that happened at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st. Among other things, it explores the reasons why Sheriff Joe Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been so willing to cover up and even lie about what happened.

It also ties those irregularities within the Mandalay Bay shooting investigation to the similar motives for the cover-ups of the murders of Cole, Scott, Gibson, and Farmer-Brown. As pointed out in the movie by director Ramsey Denison, by and large it’s a matter of liability and pressure from the casinos to assure tourists they should feel safe and continue coming to Las Vegas, since that is the single major industry within the city.

Of course, there’s also a fair amount of incompetence and corruption among the police themselves that has to be factored into that. That holds true with the investigation around the Mandalay Bay Shooting as well. They were already holding press conferences before the investigation had hardly even begun painting themselves as heroes and assuring everyone that there was only one shooter and that he was dead.

After that, they didn’t want to talk about the fact their officers stood around in a hallway outside the room of a man who had already fired on a defenseless crowd (and a security guard in that same hallway) or anything else that contradicted those narratives.

What Happened in Vegas” is currently available on DVD or Video on Demand (VOD) if you want to learn more about just how corrupt (and violent) the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is and what their role has been in the cover-up surrounding the October 1st shooting you can order it at WhatHappenedInVegasTheMovie.com by clicking here.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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LVMPD Officer Charged with Sexual Assault of Child is Second Vegas Cop Involved in Armed Standoff Within Week

SWAT standoff at Cold Creek Canyon area with accused pedophile Officer Bret Theil

Las Vegas Police Officer Bret Theil, who was indicted on over a dozen charges of sex abuse against a child, engaged in an armed standoff with SWAT overnight Wednesday.

On Wednesday (Feb. 7), it was announced that Officer Bret Theil, who has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 1998, had been indicted on charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. After his indictment was announced, Theil was involved in an armed standoff with LVMPD SWAT teams.

Update: Coincidentally (?), Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Obviously, that has led to speculation that Theil was set up with the sexual assault charges to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw. (Click here to view LVMPD report listing Officer Theil as one of two officers assigned to guard door to Paddock’s suite.)

Personally, I think if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. The pretty much have nothing to lose at that point. Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is about the best way to do that.

Basically, there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

That standoff took place at Corn Creek Canyon, a camping/hiking area about 23 miles outside of Las Vegas. Officer Theil lives in the suburb of North Las Vegas and the NLV police were initially conducting the standoff until it was determined he was an LVMPD officer and Metro took over. Beginning late Wednesday night, the “barricade situation” continued until early Thursday morning. Theil was described as being armed and suicidal.

Not many other details have been released about the standoff at this point. However, it was confirmed that Officer Theil was (of course) taken into custody without injury. He was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. From there he will be transferred to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC).

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Not very many details have been released regarding the charges he was indicted on earlier in the day, either. It was reported that he was facing charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. The victim of those crimes, which took place over the span of several years, was also a family member. In addition, local media has reported that the victim had been receiving unspecified threats via email after Theil was notified of the impending indictment.

Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was arrested during SWAT standoff on charges of sexually assaulting a child

SWAT standoff with LVMPD Officer Bret Theil

Currently, he faces six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

The charges were filed by North Las Vegas police and include felony charges that carry the possibility of life sentences if he is convicted. Of course, the fact he is a cop means he will likely receive a very generous plea bargain offer. He’s probably more likely to receive probation than a long prison sentence. (As always, I’ll be following the case and providing updates.)

Metro Officer Involved in Domestic Disturbance

As indicated by the title of this post, Officer Theil apparently wasn’t the only cop to engage in an armed standoff within the past week. On Super Bowl Sunday, there was another incident in which a “suicidal man armed with multiple guns” barricaded himself in his house and also had to be coaxed out by a SWAT team. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that he also was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. There was no indication of what (or if) he would be charged with criminally.

Neither the LVMPD nor local media have officially identified the man involved yet. However, sources have stated that he is Metro Officer Jeffery M. Arrigo. Those sources also said that this standoff was the result of a domestic disturbance. Not surprisingly, given the high percentage of domestic violence among police (and the cover ups involved), Officer Arrigo already has a previous history of domestic abuse. In September of 2015, he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

Other Recent Incidents

It’s been a busy past couple of months for Las Vegas police officers involving sexual crimes and crimes against women:

And that’s just since the beginning of this year.

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Update: Details Revealed About Evidence, Previous Arrests of Las Vegas Ex-Cop Finally Charged in 1997 Rape and Murder

Previous Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer Murder

At a preliminary hearing, court documents revealed LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall already had a criminal history before the 1997 rape and murder he was finally charged with in January.

Last week, I wrote about former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr., who was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. The original story was that a “lack of funding” prevented the testing of the Iverson’s rape kit and other DNA evidence from the crime scene. Presumably, that made it impossible to prosecute him at the time from a lack of evidence.

After receiving a grant from the New York District Attorney’s Office, the rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016. Then, in February of 2017, Sewall’s DNA was positively matched to that rape kit. As a result, Officer Sewall was finally charged with rape and murder earlier this month (Jan. 10th).

A sample of Sewall’s DNA had actually been available since 1999, when he was sentenced to (just) probation for a separate arrest on multiple on duty sex crimes, and he was accused by prosecutors of Iverson’s murder the very same day her body was found. Once again though, since they couldn’t scrape together the cash to test that one rape kit, Sewall was able to avoid prosecution for twenty-plus years.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

When he was eventually arrested  last month Sewall essentially confessed to the murder of Iverson in a statement to Metro detectives. Although, in a quote published by Mike Shoro of the Las Vegas Review Journal it does sound like he is looking to claim it was an accident:

“During the interview, he admitted to engaging Iverson in sex for money,” Sewall’s arrest warrant said. “During their sexual encounter, Iverson was shot. Sewall couldn’t account for why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson. He knew she was shot in the head and he immediately fled the scene.”

A Previous History of Violence Against Women

However, like most cases of crimes and misconduct committed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, it has now come out after the fact that the real story is quite a bit different than what was originally reported. Not only did court documents reveal even more details about his arrest history that predated the murder, but it also raises serious questions about why he couldn’t have been prosecuted even without the DNA evidence.

Rape Murder Charges Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.

Those documents, which were made public at a preliminary hearing last week, also show that Metro police officers had responded to a domestic violence call at Sewall’s house in 1995, two years prior to the murder. Although he (not surprisingly) was never charged with a crime as a result, a .357 revolver was confiscated from Sewall by those officers.

As I mentioned in the original post, Officer Sewall was also arrested earlier in 1997 in a video sting operation for forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts. He was on duty and used the threat of arrest in those sexual assaults. That arrest led to his resignation from the LVMPD.

In addition, although he was only sentenced to probation for those rapes, that sentence is what required him to submit a DNA sample in 1999. As was once again mentioned in the previous post, Sewall also was arrested while he was awaiting sentencing in 1999 for propositioning an undercover cop who was posing as a prostitute in San Diego.

Sufficient Evidence Twenty Years Ago?

Based on those court documents, that .357 revolver and those previous arrests would have represented a pretty significant piece of evidence in the 1997 case for which Sewall currently faces charges. In fact, had it been pursued that alone probably would have been more than enough to tie him to the murder and secure a conviction.

Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Sewall Murder Rape Victim Nadia Iverson

An Undated Photo of Nadia Iverson.

Back then, before Clark County’s “Blue Card” law was overturned, all handguns had to be registered with Metro. As a result, Sewall’s was officially listed as an owner of such a weapon. Obviously, there was also a record of that from when he had it impounded during his domestic violence incident as well.

According to the current arrest warrant detectives at the time determined a bullet “consistent with a .357 revolver Sewall previously registered with Metro” was used to kill Iverson. In spite of that, Las Vegas police seemingly did not even attempt to match the bullet to the gun they knew Sewall had at the time.

Not only that, but when Sewall was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego while he was already awaiting sentencing for raping prostitutes, he had that same revolver in his possession. Meanwhile, neither the LVMPD or Clark County prosecutors mad any effort to acquire the gun they obviously suspected he had used to murder someone after it was confiscated by San Diego police.

Instead, Sewall was sentenced to probation and that revolver was later destroyed by the SDPD, eliminating any chance it could be tested for a ballistics match. Officer Sewall proceeded to violate that probation numerous times over the course of the next five years with relatively little consequences for those violations. Also, as can be evidenced by his Facebook profile, Sewall was living a pretty comfortable life during the twenty years Iverson’s rape and murder went unpunished.

Incompetence or an Intentional Lack of Effort?

As has already been pointed out in previous posts, the excuse that there was a lack of funds is a ridiculous excuse for not testing the thousands of rape kits that have sat untouched in evidence rooms from as long ago as the mid-eighties. Las Vegas area city governments and police departments have had no problem coming up with well over a billion dollars in total for new government buildings, publicly funded NFL stadiums, and faulty radio systems.

They even came up with $400,000 to pay off the police chief and deputy chief at the Henderson Police Department after they were forced to resign for sexual harassment. The idea that they couldn’t somehow come up with enough money to test that one rape kit that would positively identify the person they suspected in the case literally from day one should be considered an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

But even if you disregard the DNA evidence altogether, they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time charging and even convicting Sewall. Detectives investigating the crime scene had already determined she was killed by a gun matching one they knew for a fact he owned.

The fact he had it impounded by the San Diego police during his 1999 arrest obviously means he still had it in 1997 after the murder. They very easily could have gotten a warrant to have it tested right after the murder or while it was in the possession of the San Diego police.

Regardless of any other evidence (which I’m sure there was), matching the gun to crime would by itself be pretty damning. A prostitute being raped and then killed using a gun owned by someone with a history of sexual assault and violence against women (and in particular prostitutes) would be pretty hard to explain away.

Instead of presenting (or apparently even seeking) that evidence however, investigators just filed it away along with the rape kit that they don’t seem to have had any interest in ever having processed. At best, this would have to be classified as a huge case of incompetence by the Las Vegas police and prosecutors.

In fact, it’s almost like they intentionally tried to avoid prosecuting one of their own by making sure the evidence didn’t get found. Almost exactly like that.

Original Local News Report

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Murder Charges Filed Against Former Las Vegas Cop After 1997 Rape Kit is Finally Processed Twenty Years Later

Rape Kit 1997 Murder Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. has been charged with murder after a rape kit from 1997 was finally processed in 2017.

Earlier this week, former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. Iverson’s body had been found by a construction crew at an unoccupied apartment in May of that year. He was finally arrested on January 11th in Reno, where he had been living recently.

Sewall was named by prosecutors as a suspect the very same day that her body was discovered. However, although they had acquired a sample of his DNA in 1999, a positive identification of Sewall wasn’t made until February of 2017. The reason for that is because, due to a lack of funding, the rape kit collected from Iverson was not sent for processing until March of 2016.

In the meantime, Sewall spent a large percentage of those twenty years on probation for sex crimes committed while on duty prior to Iverson’s murder. In February of ’97 Officer Sewall had been caught on video attempting to force a woman to perform oral sex on him. Instead of being fully prosecuted for that crime, he was allowed to resign from the department and given a plea deal for two charges of oppression under the color of law.

He was then sentenced to probation, even though he was arrested in San Diego for soliciting a prostitute while awaiting sentencing. During that time on probation, he was caught in possession of a knife and gun by probation officers, failed to submit required reports, and also did not comply with a sex offender counseling program he had been ordered to complete.

Finally in 2004, he was sentenced to almost two years in prison for repeated probation violations. Even after being released from prison, he still didn’t comply the restrictions he was subject to as a convicted felon. At the time he was arrested in Reno, he had not registered his address change after moving from California and had to be tracked down by detectives. According to media reports (video embedded below), he then confessed to the murder of Iverson.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The failure of police departments and city governments to fund the testing of rape kits across the country has left huge backlogs and prevented the arrest and conviction of rapists. As a result, many of those perpetrators have been able to continue victimizing women and committing other violent crimes for years and even decades in some cases. Others have been falsely convicted only to be exonerated once the testing was finally conducted.

In Southern Nevada alone 6,473 rape kits went untested, including approximately 5,600 connected to investigations within the LVMPD. It wasn’t until they received a $2.7 million grant from the New York State District Attorney’s Office that those kits began to get tested within the past couple of years.

Over 4,000 of those rape kits are still in the process of being tested or have not been sent out for testing to this day. Meanwhile, in recent times Metro has spent almost $300 million on a new headquarters complex, $42 million dollars on a new radio system that never worked properly (of which allegations of favoritism and kickbacks have been made), and another $26 million dollars to pay for the radio system that replaced it.

The City of Las Vegas also spent $185 million to build a new City Hall. That and the LVMPD’s HQ were both initiated in 2008. So somehow they managed to find the funding for those optional (and heavily criticized) expenditures during the worst recession in 70 years, but not for the (relatively) tiny fraction of cost that would be involved in the testing of the rape kits.

And that doesn’t even take into account the annual cost of payouts to victims of the misconduct and violence perpetrated by Las Vegas area police officers. In several recent years that money alone would have paid for all of the rape kits to be processed. That’s especially relevant when discussing a crime that was committed by one of those officers and then went unsolved for twenty years because there was no money for the rape kit to be processed.

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Kirstin Blaise Lobato Freed After 15 Years in Prison for Las Vegas Murder Prosecutors Knew She Couldn’t Have Committed

Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned Kirstin Blaise Lobato

In spite of evidence of her innocence, the Clark County DA’s Office did everything they could to prevent Kirstin Blaise Lobato from being freed after over 15 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit.

After spending her entire adult life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, a Las Vegas woman has finally been released. Kristin Blaise Lobato spent over 15 years behind bars in spite of evidence that she was over 150 miles away at the time the killing took place. However, she was finally able to walk out of the Clark County Detention Center a free woman for the first time since she was 18 years old on January 3rd.

Meanwhile, even after a judge had declared her innocent and ordered her release, prosecutors with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office refused to acknowledge the improprieties carried out during her trial(s). In fact, they even briefly had plans to force her to spend another year in the county jail for having been caught having sex with another inmate during the time that she was wrongfully imprisoned.

Fortunately, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez also dismissed that case, instead ruling that the time she had already spent in prison for a crime she didn’t commit was sufficient punishment for that as well and giving her credit for time served. Judge Gonzalez then ordered that Lobato be released from custody immediately.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, 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. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo have attempted to justify their efforts to keep an innocent woman in prison by contending that the fact she was found guilty at trial by two juries means she is. However, the case against Lobato was very much flawed from the start and those verdicts were more a product of what was kept from the juries than the strength of the evidence actually presented to them.

Kirstin Blaise Lobato Released From Prison

There was virtually no physical evidence tying Lobato to the murder of Duran Bailey, a homeless man who was found beaten to death and castrated in a Downtown Las Vegas dumpster in 2001. The only real justification for her to even be a suspect was a story that she told to several people that she had fended off a rape attempt by cutting her attacker’s penis with a knife.

She had told that story weeks prior to the murder, though, and had identified the location where that incident happened as a different area of town. In spite of that, police investigators characterized her description of stabbing a man attempting to sexually assault her in the groin during an interrogation as a confession of Bailey’s murder.

More importantly, Lobato was positively verified to have been at her parents’ house in Panaca, Nevada, nearly 200 miles from Las Vegas on July 8, when Bailey was murdered. Based on that and other inconsistencies in the physical evidence, experts brought in by her defense attorneys testified that it would have been impossible for her to have carried out the murder.

However, that testimony was suppressed by Judge Valorie Vega during the original trial. Meanwhile, the prosecution was allowed to present a expert witnesses that made the ridiculous claim that flies in Las Vegas act completely different than flies anywhere else in the world do.

In addition, the district attorney’s office actively fought to prevent additional DNA testing on the physical evidence recovered at the scene, even after the Innocence Project offered to pay any costs involved. All previous DNA testing had excluded Lobato and, due to the violent method of Bailey’s death, it’s unlikely the person who murdered him could have done so without leaving their own DNA behind (such evidence from an unknown source was in fact found).

Of course, if Lobato was guilty those tests would more than likely definitively prove she was present at the crime scene. So realistically the district attorneys should have had their own incentive to cooperate with the DNA tests.

Regardless of that, Judge Vega ruled against allowing the testing. Shortly after, Vega chose not to run for reelection following an (unrelated) official reprimand against her by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. In what’s probably not a coincidence, almost exactly three years after Judge Vega left the bench Kristin Blaise Lobato walked out of the front door of the Clark County Detention Center.

Background on the Case and False Convictions

Not Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and his underlings at the DA’s office have gone to great lengths to keep someone who was obviously innocent in prison. Not too long ago, I reported on the case of Demarlo Berry, who was falsely convicted of murder based on testimony from a witness that was coached and paid off by detectives from the LVMPD.

Not only were the prosecutors in the case complicit in manufacturing evidence against Berry, they also delayed his release for four years after that witness recanted his testimony and the real murderer had confessed. Then, once they finally realized that they couldn’t prevent his release, they portrayed it as if they were responsible for freeing him.

In another case, Fred Steese was issued a pardon last month in order to clear his record of a murder he was falsely convicted of and spent twenty-one years in prison for after he was beaten and coerced into confessing. Prosecutors also hid evidence that definitively proved he was in another state at the time and photo lineup results that pointed to his innocence.

Instead of releasing him after he was declared “actually innocent” by a judge, they threatened to refile the charges and drag out the process coercing Steese into accepting a plea deal for second degree murder to ensure he wouldn’t have to stay in prison for years while fighting those new charges.

Numerous other convictions in Clark County have been overturned recently, including several death penalty cases, due to racial discrimination by prosecutors during jury selection. Obviously, for Wolfson and his prosecutors the important issue isn’t guilt or innocence, but rather simply whether they can get a conviction, even if it they know it’s a false conviction.

Related Posts on Nevada Cop Block

Wife of Henderson Police Lieutenant Arrested For Forgery, Stealing From Las Vegas College, and Drug Charges

Apparently, while Lieutenant John DeVaney of the Henderson (Nevada) Police Department’s Corrections Division was out throwing drug addicts and thieves in a cage his wife was at home trying to see how she could stretch their meager budget of just under $220,000 to accommodate her own drug habit.

Seems like Heidi DeVaney came up with a solution for that problem back in April when she got a job with the College of Southern Nevada, a local community college and then started going the extra mile by stealing and forging checks in order to make ends meet with their limited income.

Unfortunately for her, it looks like someone forgot to tell the CSN police that her husband has one of those Magic Suits and they arrested her. She was fortunate in one respect, though. They took her to the Downtown Las Vegas jail and not the Henderson jail where her hubby works. Cuz that woulda been awkward for everyone.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

The wife of a Henderson police lieutenant was arrested on forgery and theft charges Wednesday in her College of Southern Nevada office.

Spokeswoman K.C. Brekken said CSN police arrested Heidi B. DeVaney, 50, at the college’s campus on West Charleston Boulevard. DeVaney was being held Thursday at the Clark County Detention Center.

Her husband, John C. DeVaney, is a corrections lieutenant with the Henderson Police Department and in 2015 made total salary and benefits of $219,455, according to Transparent Nevada. A Henderson spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday.

Brekken said Heidi DeVaney was hired April 4 as a “temporary classified employee” in the role of an administrative assistant II at the community college. Her annual base salary was $31,090, and her last day of employment was Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

Officials said Heidi DeVaney’s arrest report was not available Thursday. Jail records show her charges include burglary, petit larceny and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

You know the old saying about Bad Apples not falling far from the tree.

Of course, I’ll guarantee you right now that she’ll still qualify for the Policeman’s Discount and unlike other people that commit crimes to support a drug habit, we’ll be told how tragic the situation is how much she needs help. Then she’ll get a very small slap on the wrist, at worst.

Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court

Via a public Facebook post (embedded below) Stephen Stubbs released an order from Justice of the Peace Anne Zimmerman stating that Lt. Yasenia Yatomi must appear in her court to answer contempt charges for having committed perjury and withholding evidence that would have shown that perjurious testimony to have been false.

The full order from Judge Zimmerman reads:

“Now Therefore, Lieutenant Yesenia Yatomi is hereby ordered to appear on August 9, 2016 at 9:30am in Las Vegas Justice Court, Department 8, 200 Lewis Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101 to show cause why she shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for her perjurious trial testimony and withholding of exculpatory evidence.”

The charges stem from an incident in which Lieutenant Yatomi arrested Stubbs for refusing to leave the side of a person who was being questioned by then-Sergeant Yatomi and the LVMPD Gang Unit and whom had requested that Stubbs represent him as his lawyer. (See video embedded below.) Later, she made false sworn statements within charging documents that were sent to the District Attorney’s Office to justify the filing of criminal charges against him. That original arrest report was revealed during discovery for a civil case resulting from those false charges.

In addition, she withheld the original arrest report, which accurately described the incident and her unconstitutional reasons for arresting Stubbs, from the DA. Once the case went to court, Judge Goodman found Stubbs not guilty without even requiring him to present a defense, because the case was so obviously based on lies. Subsequently, Judge Goodman recused himself from the perjury case while stating that he had such a negative opinion of Yatomi based on that previous case that there is no way he could be fair and impartial toward her.

As is also pointed out in the Facebook post, Yatomi was recently promoted and named the head of the Internal Affairs Bureau for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in spite of the fact she had already been exposed as a liar in open court and was potentially facing these perjury charges. The LVMPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is the department assigned to investigate police officer accused of misconduct or criminal acts, such as perjuring themselves in court and/or withholding evidence, for example. (See second video embedded below.)

(See the “related posts” section below for links to these and other stories involving or relating to Stephen Stubbs posted on the CopBlock Network previously.)

Note: Within the comments on this FB post Stubbs is asked about the nature of the charges:

Question: I thought perjury was a felony, not contempt of court
Stephen Stubbs: Contempt is a civil remedy in the court that the perjury was committed in. There is also a criminal remedy, and yes, it is a felony.

It’s not actually clear from that exchange whether these charges are just being prosecuted by the court as contempt and not as a felony or if Lt. Yatomi could also potentially face felony charges for perjury afterwards as well.

Original Arrest Video

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

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed NVCopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs is a frequent contributor of submissions to the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  2. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  3. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  4. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  5. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  6. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  7. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  8. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  9. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  10. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  11. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  12. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  13. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  14. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  15. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  16. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  17. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Four Days in a Las Vegas Jail for Protesting Government Murder by Drones

The following post was originally posted at the blog “Dissident Voice” under the title, “My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail” by Brian Terrell.

It describes the experience Terrell had dealing with the Las Vegas “justice” system after having been arrested during an anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base, which is located just north of Las Vegas and from where most of the drones murdering people in the Middle East are controlled remotely.

Although it is rather long, it is well worth reading as it makes many important points about the nature of the court system and the way that the courts have essentially become a giant ATM machine for the government.

Previously, I have written about these issues in relation to the Las Vegas courts. Those posts can be found here, here, and here.

“My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail”

“What happened to us was a shakedown by gangsters wearing police uniforms and judges’ robes, not for the sake of justice, but to maintain the civic infrastructure behind the glittering façade of Las Vegas with dollars squeezed out of its poorest citizens.”

“The degree of civilization in a society,” wrote the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, “can be judged by entering its prisons.” As a frequent visitor to Nevada in recent years, I have often been surprised by the cultural diversity and spiritual richness that can be found in Las Vegas. Still, I think that Dostoyevsky was right. A more accurate assessment of the degree of civilization in Las Vegas and for the broader society that the city claims to be “The Entertainment Capital” of can be made by entering the cells of the Clark County Correctional Center than by going to the top of the Stratosphere, cruising the Strip or even by taking in a Cirque du Soleil show.

I was one of twenty five arrested by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at Creech Air Force Base, the center of drone assassination by the US Air Force and the CIA some forty miles northwest of the city on March 31 and April 1. “Shut Down Creech” was a weeklong convergence of activists from around the country. Most of us staying in tents at a makeshift “Camp Justice” in the desert across the highway from the base, our days of discussion, study, song, reflection and strategizing built up to a dramatic series of coordinated actions, including street theater and blockades, that disrupted the lethal business as usual of Creech. While we expected to be arrested, this was not our desire or our goal. Once again, the police arrested the wrong people as they abetted the criminals and took those who acted to stop a crime in progress down town to be booked.

Since 2009, I have had at least two other trips on the police from Creech to the county jail at the prestigious address, 330 S Casino Center Blvd in Las Vegas, to undergo the tedious process of booking, the fingerprinting, mugshots and other indignities before getting kicked out onto the sidewalk a few long hours later. This time, however, after my friends and comrades were released one by one, I remained behind. I was kept in jail for the next four days, not for my part in the day’s protest, but on a bench warrant due to an unpaid traffic fine.

I had been arrested a year before at another protest at Creech and cited for the misdemeanor crime of impeding traffic and released with 30 some others on our promise to return for trial. Some weeks later, the charges on ten of us were reduced to the traffic offence of “pedestrian soliciting a ride or business on a roadway” and we were assessed a $98 fine with no apparent way to plead not guilty. While those who eventually went to trial on the original charges were found not guilty or had their charges dismissed, those of us in the “hitchhikers’ club” all failed in our various attempts to have our cases heard. “How can I contest this ticket?” I asked the clerk at the Justice (sic) Court in Las Vegas. “You don’t contest it,” was the answer, “you PAY it.” In Las Vegas, it is easier to plead not guilty to a violent felony than it is to contest a traffic ticket.

Pay The Fine Las Vegas CourtIn due course I got a glossy postcard in the mail with a color photo of a perp getting handcuffed against a Metropolitan Police squad car, with the clever warning “Pay the Ticket, Avoid the Click-it.” This image, that can also be found on the court’s website, came with this threat: “The Las Vegas Township Justice Court will issue arrest warrants for all unpaid traffic tickets. An additional warrant fee of $150 and a late fee of $100 will be added to all tickets that proceed into warrant status. In addition to warrant fees and penalties, all unpaid traffic tickets will be reported to national credit reporting agencies.” A search of my case on the court’s website showed that I had been charged to pay for my own warrant and another “compliance fee,” apparently to pay for my account getting referred to a collection agency, bringing my bill up to $348.

These mounting fines and lack of access to the courts and the calls that started to come from a collection agency were a small annoyance to me, but are an indication of a larger systemic problem. The Las Vegas Justice Court Mission Statement (“The vision of the Las Vegas Justice Court is to maximize access to Justice, in order to achieve the highest possible level of Public Trust and Confidence”) notwithstanding, these practices and those like them in courts around the country are illegal.

A March 16, 2016, “Dear Colleague” letter from the Office for Access to Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, addressed to state and local courts lays it out:

Recent years have seen increased attention on the illegal enforcement of fines and fees in certain jurisdictions around the country—often with respect to individuals accused of misdemeanors, quasi-criminal ordinance violations, or civil infractions. Typically, courts do not sentence defendants to incarceration in these cases; monetary fines are the norm.  Yet the harm caused by unlawful practices in these jurisdictions can be profound.  Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape.  Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.

This letter cites a Supreme Court ruling that the due process and equal protection principles of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit “punishing a person for his poverty” and further insists that:

The use of arrest warrants as a means of debt collection, rather than in response to public safety needs, creates unnecessary risk that individuals’ constitutional rights will be violated.  Warrants must not be issued for failure to pay without providing adequate notice to a defendant, a hearing where the defendant’s ability to pay is assessed, and other basic procedural protections.  …  When people are arrested and detained on these warrants, the result is an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.

Somehow, the memo did not make it to Las Vegas. While the statistics are not available, during that long weekend I was not the only inmate in the Clark County jail locked up solely for not paying fines on minor offenses.

The deplorable conditions and cruelties of this jail defy exaggeration and are as extravagant as the floor shows at the city’s casinos and hotels. It was more than eight hours after getting arrested that I was finally taken out of shackles. We were packed standing room only, more than forty people in a small cell those first hours in chains.

Not long after I arrived, as a guard opened the door to push in yet another prisoner, a very slight young man edged his way to the front and tried desperately to explain that he was suffering an anxiety attack and needed air. Not listening, the guard tried to slam the door on this young man who stepped forward into the door jamb. The guard then grabbed the young man, threw him down onto the hallway floor and even though his hands were shackled at his waist and he could not hit back, at least five guards, all larger than him, all had their knees on his body and were pummeling him with their fists. The last I saw of him, his face was bloodied and he was being wheeled away, his wrists and ankles chained to a restraint chair. This was the jailers’ response to a normal human reaction to an inhuman situation and those suffering from mental illness or the effects of withdrawal were treated no less harshly.

Like some bizarre board game, we prisoners were inexplicably moved from cell to crowded cell at all hours. Sometimes a prisoner would only just arrive before their name was called for another move. Sometimes the guards went from cell to cell shouting a name of someone they had somehow misplaced. Some of our cell mates insisted that they had been in the same place for many days and worried that they had been lost as well. Guards were constantly giving contradictory and erroneous “information,” such as when we would get to court or be moved to more spacious and comfortable quarters upstairs. Some of the guards, not restrained by their own lack of credentials, were generously distributing legal advice to those preparing to see a judge. I found out later that my friends outside were likewise misled by jail employees as they tried to keep track of me.

I had arrived at the jail early on a Friday and was kept in these holding cells until Monday morning at 3 o’clock. Meals were unsatisfactory nutritionally and esthetically, but also, served as they were at 3 AM, 9AM and 3PM, did not even serve to mark the passage of time in this dungeon without windows and where the lights never dimmed. These cells varied in size and the body counts in them varied hour to hour. There were narrow benches around the walls where a few could lie down and nap, but most of us were lucky when there was room enough to stretch out without a blanket on the cold, filthy concrete floor. There was an open toilet in each cell- to use toilet paper, one had to find and wake the prisoner who had appropriated the roll for use as a pillow. In the wee hours after my third night on concrete, I was finally taken upstairs, given a change of clothes and a blanket and shown a cot in a fairly quiet and almost clean dormitory of some 80 men.

About 10 on Monday morning, I was chained up again and led through a series of tunnels and elevators to traffic court. There were some 30 of us in that batch, by no means everyone who had been jailed over the weekend for unpaid traffic charges. Each case was decided by the judge in seconds, with no defendant allowed to say anything beyond affirming their identity upon hearing their name called. Most of the fines and added fees assessed against these men and women amounted to many thousands of dollars. Based on an informal formula of dollars per days in lock up, the judge shaved off some off the fines owed and let most of the prisoners out with the threat that if the remainder was not paid in 30 days, more costs would be added, a new warrant issued and the cycle would be repeated.

This is a photo I took of the Brinks truck that they drive up to the front door of the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas every morning.

This is a photo I took of the Brinks truck that they drive up to the front door of the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas every morning.

None of us in traffic court that morning had been granted a “hearing where the defendant’s ability to pay is assessed” that the law demands before putting us in jail. Few of us, if any, had been found guilty by any judicial process before being fined in the first place. Debt collection, not guilt or innocence, was the only concern of this “court.” What happened in court that morning could be called “criminal justice” only in that what was done to us by the court was criminal. What happened to us was a shakedown by gangsters wearing police uniforms and judges’ robes, not for the sake of justice, but to maintain the civic infrastructure behind the glittering façade of Las Vegas with dollars squeezed out of its poorest citizens.

Through this experience, I met many interesting people, mostly young black and brown men. A few of them were locked up for alleged criminal offenses, but many seemed to be caught up in the same collections racket as me. The calls made from the phones in the cells were mostly frantic appeals to family and friends for money to pay the fines or the bail that would get them released. Unless they were wearing badges and carrying keys, there was no one I met at the Clark County jail that I feared as a threat to myself or to the public safety.

If the machinations of the Las Vegas Justice Court are not about justice, neither are the drones controlled from Creech Air Force Base 40 miles away about defense. By remote control and often under the shadiest of orders by the CIA, military personnel at Creech are assassinating suspected enemies far from fields of battle, based on unproven allegations or on “patterns of behavior,” often incinerating their families or the strangers unfortunate enough to be close by. It should not be surprising that a government that executes suspects, sometimes even its own citizens, without trial in places far away will also imprison its poorest people at home without due process.

Among those who stood with me in traffic court that morning, my own debt of $348 was one of the smallest and the judge summarily sentenced me to time served, crediting my four days in jail to wipe away all my fines and added costs. I was not even allowed to explain that I had never solicited a ride on a roadway in the first place. Although the judge said I was free to go, the bureaucracy of the jail took another 12 hours to get me released. It was after 10:30 Monday night that I was finally given back my clothes and sent out the long tunnel that leads from the jail to the bright lights of downtown Las Vegas, onto the sidewalk and into the embrace of faithful friends who had been keeping vigil for me the whole time of my incarceration.

I left the Clark County jail exhausted and happy to be out, but grateful, too, for the hospitality and patient endurance of those who shared their harsh, constricted space with me for a few days. It is a hard but precious privilege for this middle aged white man to visit such places where other good people have no choice but to inhabit.

The same drama is being played out in jails and courtrooms around the United States, the country that imprisons more of its people than any other. With more than 95% of criminal charges now settled with plea bargains instead of going to trial, many defendants are convicted and put away for years with not much more in the way of due process than I was afforded with my little trumped-up hitchhiking ticket.

It is unclear if what happened to me in Las Vegas Justice Court on April 4 was a conviction in the strictly legal sense, but what happened there has certainly deepened my conviction that the so-called war on terror is just one front of the vicious war on the poor and on people with black and brown skin here at home as well as abroad. This conviction will lead me back to Creech and other drone bases, to the places targeted by their Hellfire missiles when I can and, if need be, back to the Clark County Correctional Center.

Drawing on these connections, Voices for Creative Nonviolence is organizing a “NO Thomson Prison De-Incarceration Walk,” 150 miles from Chicago to Thomson, Illinois, from May 28 to June 11. Thomson is where the federal government will soon open a new “super-max” prison that is expected to keep up to 1,900 prisoners in solitary conditions that have been condemned by the international community as amounting to torture. Please join us if you can.

Brian Terrell lives in Iowa and is a Co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. In recent years he has visited Afghanistan three times and has spent more than six months in prison for protesting at drone bases. For more information email [email protected] Read other articles by Brian.

Las Vegas Police Jailed Paraplegic for Two Weeks; Accused of Robbery Where Suspect Ran Away

On May 21st, Antwine Hunter was assaulted by an officer from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and slammed onto the ground outside a pizza place near downtown Las Vegas. Not long after, he found himself inside a cell at the Clark County Detention Center with the leg braces he had worn since being paralyzed in a drive-by shooting 17 years ago in California at the age of twelve having been confiscated.

Initially, he was unable to move without the braces and not much better off once he was given a cheap, undersized, and uncomfortable wheelchair to use. After being informed that he was arrested on a warrant for burglary and larceny charges, Hunter couldn’t fathom how he could be wanted for those crimes. The confusion deepened when he was told that he was being accused of running into a UPS driver’s truck, grabbing his cell phone and scanner, and then escaping by running away.

Obviously, someone who is paralyzed from the waist down couldn’t have ran into and then away from the truck. So, logic would tell you that Hunter wasn’t the man who really committed that crime. Unfortunately for him though, nobody within the LVMPD stopped to actually use logic or anything even remotely close to it.

Not the officer who sadistically threw him to the ground during the arrest. Not the detectives who issued the warrant and then never bothered to even interview him after he was arrested. (In fact, in the video embedded below Hunter states that when he tried to explain to an officer that was reading the description of the charges and the details of the allegations against him that it couldn’t have been him, he was told to “shut up.”) Not even the judge who ordered him held on a $20,000 bail, which was too high for him to pay.

Instead, Hunter suffered for two weeks in jail before he finally went before Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman to face the charges. Amazingly, once a jail guard wheeled Hunter into the courtroom everyone, including the judge, the prosecutor, and the UPS driver whose property was stolen, instantly knew he wasn’t the droid they should have been looking for.

Herbert Hutson, the UPS driver immediately informed Prosecutor Elana Graham that Hunter wasn’t the person who had robbed him. Graham quickly realized, for what should have been obvious reasons that Hunter wasn’t even capable of being the one responsible for committing the crime and Judge Goodman dismissed the case. Meanwhile, the unnamed arresting officer never even bothered to show up for court and Metro had no comment when asked about the case by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

So, how did it get to the point that Hunter was left to suffer for two weeks in jail without proper medical care or the necessary accommodations for his disability, in spite of being completely innocent and very obviously not even being physically capable of having committed the crime he stood (no pun intended) accused of? For some reason, Hunter was included within a photo lineup that was presented to the UPS driver. Even more inexplicably, when Hutson picked him out as the man he believed stole his equipment, instead of explaining that it couldn’t have been him since he couldn’t actually run, detectives simply issued a warrant for his arrest and sent an officer out to (violently) arrest him.

Prosecutor Graham called the dismissal, “a totally fair resolution.” – Because those two weeks of his life and the physical hardships inflicted upon him during his time in jail don’t really count. She also made sure to caution everybody that just because the charges were (finally) dismissed, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a criminal, just that he wasn’t THAT criminal. – Because dragging the reputation of the people accused of crimes through the mud, even if they are shown to be innocent, is kind of a tradition among prosecutors and the police in Las Vegas. You’ve gotta seize every opportunity you get, especially when someone has some old convictions for victimless crimes (that he maintains involved the use of marijuana for the pain caused by the injuries that left him severely disabled).

For his part, Judge Goodman stopped short of throwing the case out altogether. Instead, he ruled that those detectives who did such a great job the first time and/or the prosecutors could refile the charges against Hunter if some sort of evidence surfaced that he was actually involved in the robbery. So, for instance, if it comes out that Hunter has just been faking that he is a paraplegic since 1999 as part of an elaborate ruse to eventually steal a cell phone and UPS code scanner, they can send someone back down to bodyslam him again.

Meanwhile, Roy Nelson, the defense attorney that represented Hunter, stated that his client “could pursue litigation against the police,” as well he should. The only thing more obvious in this case than the incompetence and shitty job pretty much everyone involved did, is the fact that the taxpayers of Clark County, Nevada are going to have to pay a pretty penny to bail Metro out on this one.

Close behind those two factors in obviousness is the certainty that none of those people that completely screwed up this case, then abused and traumatized a completely innocent man, will suffer any sort of consequences, whatsoever. There’s no shortage of precedent for that eventuality throughout the history of Las Vegas area police.