Tag Archives: double-standards

Police Brutality Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Set to Premier in New York on Black Friday (Nov. 24th)

New York Premier What Happened in Vegas Cinema Village Theater

“What Happened in Vegas,” the documentary about corruption and police brutality within the LVMPD by Ramsey Denison, premiers in New York at Cinema Village on Friday, Nov. 24th.

New York Premier

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is set to open in New York City this week. The first showing of the movie about police brutality within the city of Las Vegas takes place at the Cinema Village Theater in East Manhattan on (Black) Friday, Nov. 24th at 7:00pm. Subsequent showtimes after the official theatrical premier can be found here.

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

In the run up to the official opening, What Happened in Vegas has already begun receiving positive reviews by New York media. In a preview article entitled “A Filmmaker Reported Police Brutality in Las Vegas. So the Cops Arrested Him,” Daphne Howland of the Village Voice wrote:

Denison’s documentary What Happened in Vegas is more than a revenge project. He unveils a pattern of police malfeasance, including cover-ups and lies, through disturbing stories of unjustified deaths.

It’s a damning takedown of the city’s powers that be — casinos cozy with a sheriff willing to protect their interests, and a constabulary infected with a Wild West mentality, armed with military weaponry and prone to lies. He argues that those powers even abet a law enforcement debacle surrounding the recent mass shooting at an outdoor music festival that left 58 concertgoers dead and nearly 500 injured.

Denison keeps up the pace — those television skills coming in handy — and unpacks a lot. But he also allows in some light. There are plenty of Las Vegas police officers who want things to change, and Denison gives them, and the victims’ families, a voice.

(As mentioned within the review, What Happened in Vegas also addresses several questions and issues about the investigation surrounding the shootings from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock during the “Route 91 Festival” on Oct. 1st.)

The New York opening represents the first showing of the movie within commercial theaters. Prior to that, What Happened in Vegas enjoyed a very successful run of screenings at film festivals throughout the country.

After premiering to rave reviews at Cinequest in San Jose in March, What Happened in Vegas won several awards in subsequent festivals. Among those awards was Best Documentary at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival and the Grand Prize award at the Anthem Film Festival, which is hosted by FreedomFest here in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles, Las Vegas Showings, and Beyond

Next month, What Happened in Vegas will make its West Coast theatrical premier when it opens in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills on December 1st. BTW, word on the streets is that playing at the Laemmle Theaters is a “Secret Path to Oscar Qualifying” for independent films, short films, and documentaries that normally haven’t received the attention that big-budget, studio films are afforded. So, Joe Lombardo and the rest of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in theory could really get their ivory tower shook up by a cameo with a guy named Oscar come February. (#JusSayin)

Speaking of the LVMPD and appearances they desperately don’t want to happen, outside of the two festival appearances previously mentioned, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is not a lack of interest. In fact, two different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

However, in both cases that interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s been reported that they even received visits from representatives of the LVMPD to help them make that decision. Sources I’ve been in contact with have also told me that Metro has issued a memo to all of their officers directing them not to discuss What Happened in Vegas publicly.

Regardless of that, plans are for the movie to show theatrically within the city of Las Vegas, one way or another, at some point after the New York and Los Angeles premiers. In the meantime, What Happened in Vegas is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Body Cam Video of Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder by Officer Kenneth Lopera

The LVMPD’s Shifting Timeline for the Oct. 1st Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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Update: Half Naked, Drunk Texas Cop Who Fired Gun at Church Let Off With Probation

Deputy William Cox Texas Cop Naked Church Shooting Probation

Somervell County Sheriff’s Deputy William Cox was sentenced to just probation after getting drunk and shooting at a Texas Church.

In August of 2016 I posted about an off-duty Somervell County Sheriff’s Deputy who got sloppy drunk, stripped off most of his clothes and then drove over to a church in Ellis County, Texas and started shooting his gun into it.

Once local police arrived, former Deputy William Lane Cox readily admitted that he was drunk and had fired his gun(s) at the church, hitting the building several times. His confession, recorded on those officer’s body cams, included his admission that he had gotten drunk and decided to “blow off some steam” by shooting up the church, which was located within a residential neighborhood.

He also indicated that the reason for his “stress” was the shooting of several Dallas police officers in an incident that happened just prior to his own shooting spree. Among other racist comments Deputy Cox stated, “cause my boys are getting killed in Dallas” and “the black coon start killing my boys” on the video (embedded below).

Not surprisingly, after his initial arrest Deputy Cox received the typical Policeman’s Discount. The next day he was released without bail and shortly after that it was determined that he would not be facing any charges at all. That was partly due to the fact that the pastor of the church (who also just happens to be a police chaplain) didn’t want to press charges for the property damage caused by several bullets that had penetrated the doors and wall of the church.

Patrick Wilson Ellis County District Attorney Church Statement FavoritismHowever, there are numerous other charges that the police could easily have charged Deputy Cox with based on his own confession and the dangerous nature of his actions. Instead, while he was fired by the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office, Johnny Brown the Sheriff in Ellis County was pretty comfortable with not charging someone who admittedly drove drunk, recklessly discharged a gun while intoxicated, and put innocent people in danger by doing so at a building within a residential neighborhood with any crime whatsoever.

It wasn’t until six months later that Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson launched a separate investigation and eventually charged him with “deadly conduct,” a class three felony. In doing so, Wilson stated the obvious: “it is very, very difficult for me to believe that this man, Mr. Cox, was not afforded some special consideration.

One would tend to think that any special consideration would end. However, as is always the case with police facing trial, that was far from true. In spite of facing a charge where the minimum sentence mandated by law is a two year prison sentence and the added circumstances of having been drinking (and driving) at the time, he still was offered a cushy plea deal based on him having been a “good citizen” prior to his drunken shooting spree. After pleading guilty, Cox was sentenced to just five years of probation a $1,500 fine and ten days in jail. BTW, he gets to serve those ten days on weekends, cuz you it would be a shame if he was inconvenienced.

Once again, I’m sure the average citizen would have gotten the same sort of treatment.

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Colorado Police Planned to Sell 80-Year Old Crime Victim’s Car Instead of Returning It To Her

Colorado Springs Police Car Auction Senior Citizen Victim

When 80 year old Mary Antrim’s stolen car was used in a robbery, Colorado Springs police told her it was on hold as evidence, then tried to auction it off without notifying her.

Back in June, Mary Antrim’s car, a Ford Crown Victoria, was stolen in Pueblo, Colorado. A few days later, it was recovered about 45 miles away by police in Colorado Springs after the unnamed person(s) who stole it used it in an aggravated robbery.

However, instead of returning her car once they recovered it, Colorado Springs police informed Antrim that it was being held as evidence. Then Antrim says they stopped answering her calls. The next time she heard anything her car, it had been scheduled to be auctioned off.

Via KOAA.com:

“They (police) told me it was involved in a robbery and that it was being held for evidence and that’s all I was told,” Mary said.

That information was give to Mary on June 5—more than a month ago!

“I’ve called them (police) every week to find out where the car is at and what’s going on with the car,” Mary said. “No one has called me back.”

Fast fast forward to July 10—Mary logs onto her computer and discovers her car is set to be auctioned off in September.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I thought how in the world can the car go from being on hold for evidence and now it’s on hand and being ready to go to auction. I couldn’t believe that…”

“I need my car for my doctors appointments that I have to go to,” Mary said. “That’s my transportation and I’m 80 years old and I’d like to have my car back so I can do what I have to do.”

At that point, Antrim contacted one of those consumer investigation teams for a local news station. When KOAA News 5, the local NBC affiliate, called on her behalf they were told that the car was up for auction because she owed $178 for impound fees.

The problem with that answer, though, is that the Colorado Springs Police Department policy states that crime victims whose cars are impounded are not supposed to be charged storage fees. Another issue is that neither Antrim, nor her husband Clyde, were ever informed that the car had been released from the hold that had been placed on it as evidence.

In fact, the CSPD was even caught a lie regarding the latter requirement. When question, the department initially claimed that they had sent a letter to the Antrims on July 7th stated that the car had been released and giving them until September 11th to claim it before it would be auctioned.

However, the letter that was sent out was postmarked July 11th. By some odd coincidence, that just happened to be the same day that the TV station first contacted the Colorado Springs police about Antrim’s car.

Fortunately for Antrim, in the end, once the media was involved the police waived all of the impound fees (that she should have never been charged in the first place). The next day, her car was released and she was able to go down and reclaim it with being extorted out of any money first.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Police Department hasn’t apologized or even offered an explanation for their “mistake.” Reportedly, they stated that they are “looking into it,” though. And we all know how thorough those internal investigations tend to be. I’m sure they’ll get right to the bottom of this whole thing.

KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

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Second Body Cam Video of Baltimore Police Planting Drugs Then “Finding” Them Has Surfaced

Baltimore Police Department Planting Drugs Video

For the second time in a matter of weeks, body camera footage has been released showing officers from the Baltimore Police Department planting drugs. In both videos, the planting of that evidence was exposed by a feature of the body cams that causes them to begin saving video thirty seconds prior to the point where they are manually activated. This video is from November 2016, while the earlier one dates from January of this year.

In this latest video to surface, police were conducting a traffic stop in which they were profiling drivers in an effort to make drug arrests. After claiming to have seen the passenger in Shamere Collins’ vehicle making a drug sale, the police stopped them. However, after a thorough search, no drugs were found anywhere in the car.

The body cam video of that initial search includes audio of one officer stating that there would be “negative consequences” if they didn’t find drugs and thereby couldn’t arrest someone. After that, the cops for no apparent reason all turned their body cameras off.

What followed, according to CBS News.com:

When the cameras come back on, an officer is seen squatting by the driver’s side of the suspect’s car, apparently unaware that he’s being recorded.

He then stands up and steps back. About 30 seconds pass, and another officer approaches the car, then squats down and pulls out a bag of drugs.

Although the charges were thrown out once the public defender representing her got ahold of this video, Collins and her boyfriend, who was the passenger were charged with possession of opiates and marijuana, as a result. According to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, dozens more cases that involve this group of officers could also be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis maintained that this is no reason for the public to “jump to conclusions” or make “heavy allegations” about police misconduct based on the video. Because concluding that something suspicious was going on after all the cops turned their cameras off right after one of them expressed concerns about getting in trouble if they didn’t find any drugs to justify an arrest, then video (that the cops didn’t expect to be recorded) showing one cop crouching next to the car, followed by body cam video (that they did expect to be recorded) of a different cop easily finding drugs in that same area after it had already been thoroughly searched is quite a jump.

Of course, this also comes on the heals of the previously released video (embedded below), which is even more damning. In that video, Officer Richard Pinheiro can be clearly seen putting a bag inside a can on a pile of debris in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, accompanied by two other officers who have not been named.

After activating the camera, he proceeds to walk back down the alley as one of the unnamed officers can be heard laughing behind him. Miraculously, he manages to quickly zero in on the can shortly after searching through the debris pile. He then pulls out the bag that he unwittingly recorded himself planting to reveal that it is filled with pills.

The man who was arrested as a result spent over seven months in jail awaiting trial before this video was made public and his charges were thrown out. So far, thirty-four other cases have also been thrown out and as many as fifty-five more could be, as well. Officer Pinheiro was (only) suspended for his actions, while the two other officers that watched (and laughed) as he planted evidence have received no punishment at all.

Not Isolated Incidents

These incidents don’t represent the only times that the Baltimore police have been under scrutiny for manufacturing evidence and manipulating body cameras. In March, all seven members of an “elite task force” that targets illegal weapons and drug crimes were indicted on racketeering charges for robberies that included completely innocent people of cash and filing false paperwork to get paid for overtime they didn’t actually work. In the process, they also falsified search warrants to justify detentions and traffic stops against their intended targets. As they were performing these “shake downs,” officers were known to have turned off their body cameras.

Nor is this the first confirmed instance of body camera footage being falsified to show police finding evidence against suspects. In May of this year, charges were dropped against a man in Colorado after a cop in Pueblo admitted he staged a video of himself  finding heroin and a gun in his car. In that case, Officer Seth Jensen claimed that he was merely “reenacting” his legitimate discovery of the evidence.

An “Unintended Consequence” of Transparency?

Given all of that, it’s rather interesting that in the CBS News video embedded below (beginning at about 3:45) correspondent Jeff Pegues characterizes the issue as a “downside of video transparency” and an “unintended consequence” of police wearing body cameras. Apparently, on his planet these type of incidents aren’t an argument for increased scrutiny and transparency, but rather a problem for “police departments that have to defend themselves against this type of policing.”

Obviously, I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t just trust these cops and accept their word. It would be crazy if cops didn’t have the ability to freely plant evidence without being detected and police departments had no incentive to eliminate “this type of policing.” That freedom to just arrest whoever they want and make up a reason undoubtedly would make their tough jobs so much easier.

Watch him throw it into the floorboards

BPD Officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs

CBS News coverage of  the latest incident:

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North Carolina State Trooper Caught on Video Going 100+ MPH Down Wrong Side of Highway

North Carolina State Trooper Reckless Driving

The trooper in the video, who has since been identified as T.J. Williamson, was not only driving on the wrong side of the road, but also reportedly going over one-hundred miles per hour at the time. Typically, the speed limit on rural highways are at least 65 mph. Assuming that the cars driving on that highway are following the legal speed limit, that means Trooper Williamson’s car would be approaching oncoming traffic at 165 mph. (And that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)

Even with his lights and sirens on, someone could have easily not seen him until it was too late at that speed. It’s beyond obvious that Williamson caused much more of a hazard by speeding on the wrong side of the road than any illegal street ever would have.

Via MyFox8.com:

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a video that shows a trooper going the wrong way on a highway while attempting to stop street racers, WBTV reports. A group of people were blocking traffic to race along U.S. 321 around 4:30 p.m. in Newton Sunday. Troopers said they were creating hazardous conditions for other drivers.

The video, which was shot by Carisa Lynn, has been widely shared on social media. “Just freaked out,” Lynn told WSOC. “It was crazy. It was very dangerous.” Lynn said she believes the trooper put more people at risk by the way he responded to the reported street racing. “Street racing isn’t what you should be doing, but it was more reckless in my opinion of the police officer to be driving the way he was driving, in general, to pull over some people racing,” Lynn said.

As many as 10 BMWs were involved in the street racing bust, WSOC reports. Highway Patrol has impounded five of those vehicles. Multiple people face charges that include prearranged speed racing, careless and reckless driving and impeding traffic.

Once that video became public, Trooper Williamson resigned according to WRAL.com in Raleigh, NC. It’ll probably be at least a couple months before he’s working for some other department.

A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has resigned after a video showed him driving the wrong way on a highway as he responded to reports of street racing.

A statement from the patrol on Tuesday said Trooper T.J. Williamson submitted his resignation effective immediately.

Note: This post and the video embedded below were shared with Nevada Cop Block via the NVCopBlock.org submissions page. If you have a personal story, video you took, or link to a story or video you’d like to see posted on the Nevada Cop Block site, send it to us.

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