Tag Archives: crime scene

Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Under Investigation For Financial Exploitation of Elderly Couple

Lt Tom Melton LVMPD SWAT Commander Elderly Exploitation

Last week, it was announced that Lieutenant Tom Melton had been placed on administrative leave (AKA paid vacation) as the result of a criminal investigation. Melton is the commander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT team. He’s also been one of the public faces of the LVMPD, oftentimes being interviewed by local media and frequently providing briefings at crime scenes.

Initially, Metro declined to give any details about what the nature of that investigation was. However, soon after his suspension was announced a search of public records indicated that he has ties to a woman already facing over 200 charges of defrauding elderly people placed under her care. Lt. Melton had been appointed as legal guardian and trustee for Jerome and Beverly Flaherty, an elderly couple, who have since died. April Parks, the woman previously charged, was awarded co-guardianship of the Flahertys with Melton.

In March, Parks was indicted on charges including perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation, as part of a for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks has been characterized as the “ringleader of a small group” that included her husband; Gary Neal Taylor, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons. All four have been accused of taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision.

After confirmation was received that Lt. Melton was in fact the focus of an investigation into exploitation of an elderly couple, his attorney denied that he was involved in the fraud. Instead, he maintains that he had only hired Parks to care for the couple, whom he describes as friends of Melton. No other details relating to the nature of the investigation into Lt. Melton’s involvement have been released by the LVMPD.

Of course, it very well could be that he had no involvement in the fraud Parks and her partners are accused of. However, the timing of the suspension could potentially indicate otherwise. The fact that the other people involved were indicted in March and Melton didn’t come under investigation until the end of July would seem to imply that there’s more to it. It’s also a bit contradictory that none of the family members of the hundreds of other victims Parks exploited appear to be under investigation.

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Harris County Deputies Harass and Try to Intimidate Photographer During Fire in Old Springs, Texas

The following post and video were shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The submitter stated that they wanted to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation, which are well founded given the history of police.

As is stated in the description the videos are fairly self-explanatory. The person taking the video and another person were attempting to shoot photos of a fire in a shopping district known as Old Springs, Texas, which is located just outside of Houston. At one point they reach an area where a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy tells them is off limits. They then ask where they can go without being in the restricted area and after receiving an answer relocate to that area.

However, shortly after that conversation they are approached by three other deputies who begin demanding their ID. Initially those deputies state that the men are not being detained, but once they decline to provide ID they are then told that they are going to be detained based on having entered the crime scene area.

From that point, the deputies tried to intimidate them into complying with their demand for ID. The man filming correctly points out that there is no clear marking of where the crime scene is and that once they were told they couldn’t be there they promptly and without argument left that area. Rather than attend to the fire, which they supposedly were concerned with the men taking photos might have prevented them from doing, the deputies instead chose to waste their time escalating a resolved situation into an argument and then attempting to intimidate someone who, at worst, made a genuine mistake that would have been prevented by them properly marking the crime scene.

Eventually, the men were allowed to leave without providing ID, although they were told they could have been arrested, and the restricted area was marked off by crime scene tape, as it should have been originally. Although the deputies refused to identify themselves when asked for their badge numbers, the two most aggressive of them were able to be identified by the names printed on their shirts as Deputy Zavala and Deputy A. Torres.

Date of Incident: October 26, 2016
Officers Involved: Deputy Zavala, Deputy A. Torres, and two unidentified officers
Department Involved: Harris County (TX) Sheriff’s Office
Department FaceBook Page: Harris County Sheriff’s Office on FB
Department Twitter Profile: @HCSOTexas
Department Youtube Account: The HCSOTexas
Department Phone Number: (713) 755-6044

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

I was out responding to a two alarm fire at Old Town Spring, Tx for media footage. The video stands for itself. I feel like the officers escalated the situation and got angry when they did not like my answers. I was told I was not being detained, but once I wouldn’t give them my ID, I was then told I was being detained. They then tried to use intimidation tactics.

Part One:

Part Two:

Just dont want my e-mail address or any identifying elements in the story. I fear there always can be retaliation.

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Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement (Update)

About a year and a half ago, Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs submitted a story to the CopBlock Network about a man who had been beaten by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

That man, Dominic Gennarino, could be seen on surveillance video (embedded below) from the Vanguard Lounge, a bar/nightclub located on what is known as Fremont East in Downtown Las Vegas, being assaulted by a group of Las Vegas police officers. One officer in particular, identified as Officer Kolkoski, visciously jabbed Gennarino’s body with his nightstick during the attack and had to be restrained by another policeman.

Prior to that the cops had been clearing people out of the club after a stabbing (which Gennarino wasn’t involved in) took place there. Apparently, Gennarino’s “crime that precipitated that beating was that he wasn’t moving fast enough as he exited the bar, even though the video pretty clearly shows that the large crowd had prevented him from walking any faster.

Of course, once the video was made public the false charges (Obstructing a Public Officer) against Gennarino used to justifying the beating were dropped. Also, in response to the beating and the negative publicity it generated, the LVMPD promised that they were going to implement “fundamental policy changes” in their use of force policies, as well as their procedure for investigating use of force incidents. Those “fundamental” changes that were promised have since gotten some not so glowing reviews by Las Vegas residents, though.

Officer Kolkoski knocks himself down in the process of beating Domonic Generino with his nightstick

Officer Kolkoski in his enthusiasm for beating Domonic Generino knocks himself down.

Not surprisingly, given the history Las Vegas area police departments with regards to accountability, Metro’s Internal Affairs also concluded during their investigation that “the actions taken by employees did not rise to the level of misconduct or was not a policy violation” and those cops caught on camera beating an innocent man for no good reason wouldn’t face any sort of meaningful repercussions for those actions, whatsoever.

Of course, you have to consider that Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson refused to prosecute a group of police officers from the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson after they beat a diabetic driver they suspected of being drunk. The reason he cited for that inaction was because they train Henderson police to kick people in the head at the academy. So, even misconduct and policy violations are fairly hard to come by out here in Vegas with such a low bar of acceptability for pretty much whatever cops want to do on any given day.

In the latest update to this particular story, Stephen Stubbs posted to his Facebook profile on April 14th (2016) that Gennarino had received a settlement of $31,500 to compensate him for the actions taken by those LVMPD “employees.”

In that post (embedded below), Stubbs states:

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department paid my client $31,500 today. He was beaten by police because he wasn’t moving fast enough, and then the police officer lied in the official report.

A special thank you to Jared Richards. We did this case together and Justice won the day.

Dominic Gennarino certainly deserves to be compensated for the assault and wrongful arrest perpetrated against him that day and probably by even more than the amount he received. (Apparently, he was satisfied with Metro’s first settlement offer.) However, as is always the case due to qualified immunity protections, this settlement will be payed by the taxpayers and not in any genuine way personally effect those officers who actually committed the crimes against Gennarino and then lied in official police reports in order to justify doing it.

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Those of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs is a frequent contributor of submissions to the Cop Block Network. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy 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. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  2. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  3. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  4. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  5. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  6. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  7. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  8. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  9. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  10. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  11. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  12. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  13. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  14. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

 

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Fresno, CA Police Apologize To Cop Blockers

This video and the accompanying post were shared with the CopBlock Network by “Nasty” Nathanial Thomas, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Nathanial has been featured several times previously on CopBlock.org. Those posts can be viewed here, here, and here.

Date of Interaction: January 24, 2016
Department involved: Fresno Police Department
Department Address: 2323 Mariposa St, Fresno, CA 93721
Department Phone Number: (559) 621-7000

Howdy folks,

How are all of my fellow Cop Blockers doing out there? Nasty Nathanial here with you all. I still have not set up a WordPress account yet so I can start writing for Cop Block full time. I am actually preparing to head off to Manila and begin the “Life On The Beat With Nasty Nathanial: Cop Block World Tour“. Let’s see how cops in other countries treat their citizens.

But before I share the story behind this latest Cop Block submission of mine, I would first like to thank legendary activist/filmmaker Brian Sumner for encouraging me to film the police, and legendary writer Josh Hotchkin for encouraging me to write about it and for always posting my material. A big THANK YOU for that.

Anyways, last month I found myself in beautiful Fresno, California, one of America’s finest cities. The purpose of this visit was to spend a few days with my good friend, activist and filmmaker Brian Sumner, and the rest of the Fresno Cop Block crew to do some police filming. I enjoy spending time with these guys. They are great people who are passionate about what they do.

While cruising around the city in my little Fiat, which is becoming the Cop Block Mobile, we came upon a squad car parked in front of a residence on Olive Street. As we were preparing to go check this out, we noticed more squad cars heading into a residential neighborhood. At the speed they were traveling we figured they had to be in a hurry to get to wherever they were going. So we decided to head in their direction and see what was going on.

Nasty-Nate-CSISoon we found ourselves approaching what we would later learn was a crime scene. It became apparent that a shooting had taken place as the police were searching for shell casings. I parked my Fiat down the street and we all got out and began heading over towards where all these police vehicles were parked. As soon as the officers saw us approaching they began doing the ol’ shine their flashlights in our lenses. This is typical of officers when they see Cop Blockers. As Brian began explaining that we had a right to be there and to film, one of the officers began yelling out to us that we were walking in a crime scene. Well, if that was the case, than why didn’t this dumb shit, or any of the other officers on the scene, bother to put up crime scene tape and seal off the area? That is a reasonable question don’t you think?

But here is where I give credit where credit is due. The sergeant on the scene immediately stepped up to plate and apologized to us. You can hear him in the video say that their failure to seal off the area was entirely their fault. Wow. It is not too often that you hear the police admit when they have done something wrong.

Now as professional as this police sergeant may have been acting at this particular moment, it makes me wonder how he would have responded if we were not filming. Say we were not Cop Blockers and just some curious bystanders that wanted to check out what the police were doing. Or somebody who actually lives on that street and was just trying to get home after a long, hard day at work. Professionalism would most likely have gone out the door and we would have been treated like second class citizens.

So the point of writing this is to make light of the fact the camera can be used as a weapon. I don’t mean a weapon as a means of hurting or killing anybody. But instead as a means of putting the police in check. I believe that the camera is the objective record and the police are either going to shape up and act professional, like they should always be or they are going to continue to act like jerks. Either way, the camera is there to capture it all and the camera doesn’t lie.

So while I leave you all with that final thought, I look forward to receiving responses from everybody, including the Cop Block haters. To be honest, it’s the haters’ responses that I most look forward to. Although I love to be complimented, the haters seem to give the most entertaining responses. Until next time, may the force be with you. Happy trails.

– Nasty Nathanial

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The Myth of Fingerprint Identification Reliability

It’s a pretty accepted idea that fingerprint evidence is an airtight method of proving that an accused person was at the scene of a crime. However, contrary to what we are told constantly in movies, books, and actual courtrooms; fingerprints are not the judicial bedrock they have been portrayed as. The issue isn’t so much that fingerprints themselves are unreliable, but rather that finding a perfect set of fingerprints to compare to a suspect at a crime scene is very rare. As pointed out in the LA Times, there has been doubt about the reliability of fingerprint identification since shortly after it was first used to convict people and that uncertainty has been revived in recent years:

The year was 1905. Forensic science was in its infancy. Scotland Yard had only recently begun collecting carefully pressed fingerprints from criminals, stashing the cards in pigeonholes of a makeshift filing system…After learning that a man named Alfred Stratton had been seen near the crime scene, he collected the unemployed ruffian’s thumbprint and compared it with the one left at the crime scene. A close inspection showed there were 11 minute features that the two prints shared.

The prosecutor at Stratton’s trial told jurors the similarities left “not the shadow of a doubt” that the crime-scene print belonged to Stratton.

But the defense had a surprising ally at their table: Henry Faulds, a Scottish doctor who two decades earlier was the first to propose using fingerprints to solve crimes.

Faulds believed that even if fingerprints were unique — there was, after all, no scientific basis for the popular assumption — the same was not necessarily true of “smudges,” the blurry partial prints accidentally left behind at crime scenes in blood, sweat or grease.

A single bloody thumbprint, he felt, was not enough evidence to convict anyone of murder…

…Today, fingerprints are once again on trial.

In 2007, a Maryland judge threw out fingerprint evidence in a death penalty case, calling it “a subjective, untested, unverifiable identification procedure that purports to be infallible.”

The ruling sided with the scientists, law professors and defense lawyers who for a decade had been noting the dearth of research into the reliability of fingerprinting. Their lonely crusade for sound science in the courtroom has often been ignored by the courts, but last month it was endorsed by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

The actual question isn’t whether fingerprints themselves are reliable. No case has ever been found of two people with the same fingerprint. Even identical twins’ fingerprints are slightly different. The problem lies in finding a quality fingerprint impression at a crime scene. Unlike when you stick your finger in ink and deliberately roll it back and forth, most fingerprints found by investigators consist of blurry, smudged prints that greatly limit the amount of common points that can be used to identify the actual perpetrators of a crime.

(Originally posted on EYEAM4ANARCHY)

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