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Detained by Las Vegas Police for Openly Carrying a Sword While Walking (Video)

Las Vegas Police Detain Black Men Walking While Open Carrying Sword

Two black men were detained, handcuffed, questioned, and photographed by Las Vegas police officers because they were walking while (legally) carrying a sword.

On Saturday (11-14-17), while I was out on a bike ride, I noticed a Las Vegas police helicopter circling the Walmart parking lot just ahead of me. As I reached the area where it was, I looked over and saw three LVMPD police cars with their lights on at the outer edge of the Walmart parking lot.

Once I was inside that parking lot, I could see that they had two black men in cuffs outside of a Dotty’s Casino (a small local “casino” chain that realistically amounts to more of an oversized bar) within it located on Nellis and Boulder Hwy. across the street from the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. So I started filming them with a GoPro mounted to the handlebars of my bike.

(See Video embedded below)

At the end of the video, I asked those two men what they had been stopped for and they told me that it was because someone had called to report that they had a sword, something that is by itself not actually illegal (as long as it is openly carried it’s legal just like a firearm or any other non-prohibited weapon). They stated they had been taking the sword to a nearby pawn shop, so they could sell it.

Obviously, they were eventually released without any sort of charges, since they had committed no crime, although the cops made them pose for pictures, which generally means they intend to add them to the gang registry and means that they will be harassed and profiled at every opportunity in the future based on that designation. That’s a pretty common practice by Metro for minorities, bikers, and others that they consider to be the “usual suspects.”

Although this fortunately didn’t result in any sort of physical violence being used against the men, Metro’s “finest” felt the need to not only respond with three patrol officers, but also at one point to have their lieutenant come by. And of course, as was mentioned already it gave them an excuse to play with their new “rescue” helicopter that’s usually busy circling downtown. (Apparently, there’s a lot of stranded hikers down there.)

Beyond the question of whether this was a case of racial profiling (whether it be by the police themselves or the security guard who apparently called them), as the men who had been detained stated, there’s a very real chance that someone will end up getting killed anytime the police are called. Not only does Las Vegas have a history of police violence without any sort of consequences, but not too long ago just one state over, in Saratoga Springs, Utah, an innocent man was shot to death for the non-crime of using a samurai sword as part of a cosplay outfit.

The reality is you should never call the police unless you’re comfortable with the idea that the person you called them on might end up dead. The cops don’t murder someone every time they show up (yet), but if do, they will absolutely get away with it every time (and they know that they will, too).

Note: You can share posts with Nevada Cop Block via our reader submission page. So, if you have videos, personal 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. You can also send in links if you a story involving police misconduct or corruption involving someone within the courts. 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.

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One-Third of Bad Apples Fired in Wisconsin are Hired by Good Cops in Another Police Dept

Recently a local news station conducted an investigation after learning that a newly hired officer at Wisconsin police department was previously fired for misconduct. Not only that, but it turns out that Police Captain Steve Lesniewski, who recommended that officer be hired, knew about his history and failed to disclose it.

Back in 2012, then Milwaukee PD Officer Kurt Kezeske was involved in a high speed chase with a motorcycle that included “blazing through Bay View blowing through red lights and stop signs, nearly hitting a semi, and driving over a curb.” The chase eventually culminated in the cyclist almost being killed and another driver’s car being totaled. (See embedded video below.)

Except in the case of violent felonies, high speed chases had been banned by the Milwaukee Police Department two years earlier. Due to that policy and the fact that he lied, both during and after the chase, about the motorcycle attempting to ram his police car to justify it Kezeske was fired.

None of that was disclosed to administrators involved in hiring police officers in the Village of Eagle. Instead, they were just told about his 18 years of experience. Greg Hein, chairman of the Eagle Police Committee that vets candidates, has no recollection of that being mentioned. According to Hein, they based their recommendation to hire him on Captain Lesniewski’s positive referral.

The Eagle Village Board of Trustees in turn voted to approve his hiring based on the recommendation of the Eagle Police Committee. Village Supervisor Mike Rice states that had he known about Officer Kezeske’s history of committing perjury on official police reports and to investigators he would not have voted to hire him. Captain Lesniewski for his part admits to knowing about Kezeske’s history, but uses the old fall back of it being a “personnel matter” to avoid commenting on the issue.

Of course, people might say, “this is just one small town with just a handful of cops that got duped into hiring a proven liar to a position that has the power to throw people into jail based on his word or even “fear for his life” knowing that he can lie and get away with it, then just go apply for a police job in another city.”

However, this is far from an isolated incident. The Village of Eagle is just one example of the rampant problem of bad cops moving to a new city and getting rehired as a police officer. In fact, in the state of Wisconsin over one-third of cops fired by one department are now working in another department within the state.

Via Fox6Now.com:

Kezeske is hardly the first fired cop to get hired by another department.

The FOX6 Investigators asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice for a list of every police officer in the state who’s been discharged from duty since 2012 — and where they work now. It took the department 42 days to turn over the list. And when they did, every officer’s name was blacked out.

In a letter to FOX 6 News, attorneys for the Department of Justice argue that releasing officer’s names might subject them to personal attacks and could have a chilling effect on recruitment. The records they did release show that more than one-third of the officers discharged since 2012 are already back on the job somewhere else.

Sharon Royston says she’s not surprised it happened in Eagle.”I don’t think it should’ve happened,” she said, ” I was never allowed to see any background checks. Never.”   Royston is a former member of the Eagle Village Board, ” 40% of our village budget is going towards the police department and I didn’t think, and a lot of villagers didn’t think, we were getting our money’s worth.”

It was Royston who exposed a secret deal that allowed the last police chief to retire with a two-year severance package. A highly unusual deal the village is still paying for, but can’t explain  because of a confidentiality agreement.  “We’ll never know. They are prevented from telling any details,” Royston said.

So Royston spearheaded an effort to eliminate the Eagle Police Department and have Waukesha County patrol instead, but voters shot it down. That was before officer Kezeske was hired full-time in May.

After the Fox 6 Investigators started asking questions, the Eagle Police Committee met to talk about their hiring practices, but they declined to talk about any officer in particular.

“I think we’re gonna have to… I don’t know what we’re gonna have to do, to be honest with you,” Hein said to colleagues in the meeting.

Rice says he never would have voted to hire Officer Kezeske had he known about his background.

“The biggest thing is the falsifying reports and I think that would concern anybody here,” Rice said.

But the one man who admits he knew, didn’t seem to share his concern.

“Did you know about the background? ” (Fox 6 Investigator) Polcyn asked.
” I did,” Captain Lesniewski said.
” You did? And you were ok with that? Polcyn asked, as Lesniewski walked away.

It’s kinda odd that all these Good Cops we here about so often never seem to have any concern about what the Bad Apples are up to and are always more than happy to help one of their “brothers” out, even after they’ve been fired for blatant misconduct. And sending the list with every name blacked out was a cute touch by Wisconsin DOJ to keep their end of that bargain.

There’s also several issues beyond what is mentioned in the Fox6 article that points to this being a much larger problem than one-third of the Bad Apples being rehired to point guns at people. Their investigation didn’t look into cops being allowed to quietly resign or retire. I guarantee you that number is dramatically higher than the ones outright fired. And it’s not hard to deduce that their rate of being rehired is a lot higher than one-third.

It’s also not clear from the report whether they looked into fired Wisconsin cops being rehired by out of state police departments. That potentially could change the percentages quite a bit. This obviously isn’t a problem just in Wisconsin, either. It’s not at all unusual to trace the history of police involved in severe cases of misconduct or egregious use of force and find out they have a long list of complaints against them and in many cases a firing or resignation from a different department in their past.

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Las Vegas Protesters “De-Arrest” Innocent Bicyclist After LVMPD Harassment on May Day

During the 2016 annual May Day march in Las Vegas, officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department began bullying and acting aggressively toward people participating in the march. Prior to these hostile actions by the police the march had been extremely peaceful and quite lighthearted.

The May Day march in Las Vegas is one of the most well attended and festive events held in the city. While people advocate for the rights of under-represented groups and in support of varying different issues, the march itself is more of a celebration than a protest.

Among other things, several motorcycle police began running into (at a very slow speed) and pushing anyone that stepped off the sidewalk as they were walking. They also began harassing several participants who were riding bikes on the street next to the march demanding that that they ride on the sidewalk. (Not only is riding a bike in the street the safest way to ride and completely legal, but riding on the sidewalks is in fact illegal).

FTP – Film The Police

Shortly after this began, the police attempted to arrest one of those bicyclists for (legally) riding her bike in the street. The thing you don’t see in the video, because it happened right before the camera was turned on, is that she had actually gotten off her bike and thrown it into the back of a truck that was accompanying the march with the intention of walking from that point on. So not only was the attempted arrest based on something that was legal to do, but it was also completely unnecessary since she had already decided to avoid any further harassment by not riding the bike anymore.

Even this kid knows that it was bullshit.

Even this kid knows that it was bullshit.

Once the police had illegally detained her, they then tried to pull her off to the side into the yard of a local business (a wedding chapel), apparently hoping that everyone would just keep going and allow them to perform their kidnapping without interference. Instead, several of us followed them to document what they were doing and ask her what they were attempting to charge her with.

In response, those officers began acting aggressive toward us as well and a female police officer, who appeared to be the original instigator, purposely threw her shoulder into me and then began to issue me a citation for some unspecified charge (presumably trespassing) in an attempt to intimidate me into leaving. As a result, the entire march also followed them and subsequently surrounded them so they could not leave, demanding and chanting that they “let her go” until they were forced to do so.

The police tried to use the fact that they had dragged her off to private property to force everyone to leave. In reality, since an illegal arrest is tantamount to a kidnapping, that amounts to a kidnapper grabbing someone and pulling them onto private property then saying, “you can’t try to stop me from kidnapping them anymore because I’m on private property.”

Prior to the police creating a negative situation the march was very peaceful.

Prior to the police creating a negative situation, the march was a very peaceful and friendly community event.

They also refused to state what exactly they wanted to charge her with and claiming that we could not speak to her and ask her that, using the excuse of “confidentiality” as a reason. Arrests are actually public record, so there is no confidentiality requirement and police are required to tell an arrestee the reason for which they are being arrested. In addition, a recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling banned police from charging people with obstruction for talking to a person being detained by the police, which had been a common tactic for them previously.

Reportedly, the police told one of the organizers of the march that she had said, “fuck you” when they told her not to ride her bike in the street and that was the real reason for their desire to arrest her. While I have little doubt that that is true, saying fuck you to police is not in any way illegal and has been ruled legal by the US Supreme Court.

Don’t just sit back and let innocent people be kidnapped for “contempt of cop” or other bullshit reasons. When people work together and look out for each other they can stop unlawful actions by the police. They quickly realized they weren’t going to be able to isolate one person and then drag her off to jail and instead would have to deal with hundreds of determined people.

In addition, their attempt to use private property and potential trespassing charges as a way to force people to leave her to their mercy backfired when the actual owners of that property complained about the disturbance it was causing to their business. They knew that the only way to quickly resolve the situation would to release her instead.

This was a rather typical situation in which the police unnecessarily escalated (and in fact created) a situation that they then wanted to use as a justification to make arrests in an otherwise peaceful community event. It happens all too often and for no good reason. Fortunately, this time the people stood together and did not allow it to happen.

BTW, one of the officers that was present that day has made quite a name for himself for attempting to arrest people, especially people filming him, on bogus jaywalking charges. Officer Brown was already featured in a submission on Cop Block back in 2013 for doing just that.

"Downtown" Brown

“Downtown” Brown

Additionally, almost exactly one year later in 2014, I began filming him and his partner after I saw them accelerate their police car toward and nearly run into a homeless man on Fremont Street that had taken one single step off the sidewalk when the signal was red. After the light changed, I crossed the street to get a closer view of them. Since they were blocking the crosswalk, I walked a couple feet to the side of it.

Officer Brown then detained me under the pretense that I was jaywalking because I was outside the designated crosswalk, even though I had done so to avoid walking through the area where they were holding the homeless man. Shortly after that he stated, “stop extending your arms and get your camera out of my face” in an apparent attempt to justify assaulting me.

However, several friends of mine showed up right at that time and they were also filming. You can pretty clearly see in the videos taken from a distance that I am simply holding my cell phone with my arms in a normal position (not extended) and that my camera is no where near his face.

Incidentally, Officer Brown was also one of the cops involved in Metro’s big two month chalk investigation that led to five of us being arrested on bogus graffiti charges in an attempt to intimidate us into not protesting against them and for which we are currently suing the LVMPD. Seems like everytime there is a negative incident involving Metro in Downtown Las Vegas Officer Brown is involved.

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BTW (part deux), I was wearing a bloody pig face mask the entire time.

Bloody Pig Face

#TrueStory

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