Tag Archives: Justice System

Update: Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Charged With Defrauding Elderly Couple of Over $700,000

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton is facing charges relating to defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton, along with three other people, is facing charges relating to the defrauding of an elderly Las Vegas couple.

In August of last year, I reported on Lt. Tom Melton, the commander of one of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT teams. At that time, it had just been announced publicly that Melton was under investigation in relation to the financial exploitation of an elderly couple.

As part of that exploitation Lt. Melton persuaded a court to name him as legal guardian and trustee for a couple named Jerome and Beverly Flaherty. On February 14, Melton was was indicted on charges of defrauding an 87 year old widow, who suffered from dementia.

According to the charging documents, he also deceived a court into believing that Beverly Flaherty was still alive after she had died in order to gain control over several of her accounts and then name himself as the beneficiary. One of the couple’s accounts Melton stole from in this manner was the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

All told, Lt. Melton was able to steal over $700,000 from Beverly Flaherty and her husband Jerome, both of whom are dead now. In addition, he’s accused of stealing a Ford Explorer. The fraud reportedly took place between December 2010 and May 2017.

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.

Lt. Tom Melton a SWAT team commander at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Commander Lt. Tom Melton

In order to facilitate that fraud, Melton hired April Parks, the corrupt and abusive owner of a private for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons, were also indicted along with Melton for defrauding the Flahertys.

The three of them were already facing over 200 felony charges related to taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision. A fifth person, Gary Neal Taylor, who was not indicted in Melton’s case, is also facing seven felony charges for similar crimes he committed in conjunction with Parks, Simpson, and Simmons.

The individual charges include (Melton uses his middle name):

  • Lt. James Thomas Melton: Two counts Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category B), one count Theft (category C), seven counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Grand Larceny Auto (category C), two counts Perjury (category D)
  • April Parks: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), six counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)
  • Mark Simmons: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C)
  • Noel Palmer Simpson: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category C), eight counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)

Local Media Coverage

Parks, Simmons, Simpson, and Taylor are all scheduled to begin trial on their previous charges in May of this year. It’s not clear yet exactly when Lt. Melton will be facing trial. However, since the charges are felonies he will no longer be collecting his $300,000+ yearly salary, like he had been while on paid vacation since the formal investigation began last July.

I will update you once again whenever Lt. Melton receives the inevitable plea deal that will allow him to be sentenced to probation.

Original Investigation Report

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Henderson Police “Not Concerned About” Violent History of Newly Hired Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres

Newly hired Henderson NV Deputy Chief of Police Thedrick Andres shot Juan May during an off-duty incident while he was a sergeant at the Arlington Police Department in Texas

A photo taken earlier in the evening shows newly hired Henderson Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres and Juan May, the man Andres shot to death after a fight on a party bus.

In November, LaTesha Watson, formerly a deputy police chief with the Arlington (TX) Police Department was sworn in to replace Moers as the Henderson chief of police. Thedrick Andres, who served at the APD with Watson before retiring as a lieutenant, was subsequently hired to replace Long as Watson’s deputy police chief.

While there has been some unhappiness expressed over the department’s decision to pick candidates from out of state as replacements, Deputy Chief Andres’ work history would seem to be right on par with those working within Las Vegas area police departments. That history includes three incidents of violence, two of which involved the use of a firearm by Andres while he was off-duty, at the Arlington (TX) Police Department.

During what was described as a road rage incident, Andres pulled his gun on another driver after claiming that driver had threatened him with a hatchet. That “hatchet” that reportedly caused him to believe his life was in danger turned out to be a plastic ice scraper. Previously, while employed at the New Orleans Police Department, Andres was also accused of using excessive force in a citizen complaint.

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.

Party Bus Shooting

The most troubling incident from Andres’ past was his fatal shooting of a Marine veteran named Juan May in June of 2014. That incident began with a birthday party, which took place on a “party bus.” Although May and other relatives of his who were among the twenty people on that bus didn’t know Andres or that he was (at the time) a sergeant with the Arlington Police Department, the group picture above implies there was possibly some mutual friendships between them.

Juan May was murdered by Henderson Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres while he was a Sgt. at the Arlington Police Department

Juan May

According to descriptions, at some point someone (presumably May) jokingly suggested that Andres should dance on a stripper pole that was on the bus. That apparently offended Andres and led him to begin directing derogatory remarks at May and his relatives. This later escalated into a physical fight once they left the bus after Andres approached May and reignited the argument.

There are some differences in the details of what happened next among eyewitness statements. However, there are several common denominators among them. Everyone agrees that Andres is the one who approached May and began the final argument and that he had been drinking on the party bus. They also agree that Andres also hit Juan’s cousin, Patrick May, who was attempting to break up the fight.

The other point of agreement is that shortly after, when Juan May was walking back to his car, Andres began running to his own car. Witnesses state that “someone” yelled that he had a gun in his vehicle. Andres, in fact, retrieved that gun and killed May with it, later claiming he had fired in self-defense.

Not surprisingly (since grand juries are primarily used for that purpose in cases involving police officers), he was eventually exonerated by a grand jury in spite of the retrieval of a weapon after a fight being pretty well established as an act of premeditation.

Police Chief Latesha Watson is Not Concerned

It shouldn’t be surprising that Chief Watson isn’t concerned about Andres’ past. Of course, she worked with him for years in Texas and obviously is the reason he was hired to be the second in command at the Henderson Police Department. In spite of the fact her statement that “if someone was found guilty of wrongdoing, then they wouldn’t have a job,” when applied to police officers is at best a technicality, it’s not something that should be unexpected.

The Henderson Police Department's newly hired Deputy Chief of Police, Thedrick Andres, and Chief of Police, LaTesha Watson

Thedrick Andres and LaTesha Watson

However, the lack of concern by the City of Henderson is something that should draw a few more raised eyebrows. After all, Watson and Andres were hired to replace two police executives who were forced to resign after sexual harassment claims were made against them and the Henderson City Council was caught covering that up by portraying it as a “mutual parting of ways.

In addition, Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn, who previously resigned from a city government position in North Las Vegas after a sexual harassment scandal, is currently under investigation again for (you guessed it) sexual harassment in Henderson and Mayor Debra March has also just been sanctioned over ethics violations. (At this point, it takes a bit of searching to find someone in the Henderson city government that isn’t under some sort of investigation.)

When you consider all that, maybe you should look to hire someone who doesn’t already have a history that includes excessive force complaints and pulling guns on (or actually shooting) unarmed people while off-duty. Maybe that’s a good idea for the City of Henderson for PR reasons, if nothing else. You know, hire someone who is less likely to create yet another misconduct scandal.

Of course, Henderson is the city known for not prosecuting (and later promoting) a cop who was caught on video repeatedly kicking a man suffering from diabetic shock in the head, because “they train officers to do that in the police academy.”

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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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Maine Cop Facing 20 Sexual Assault Charges, Including Against Six Year Old, Gets Misdemeanor Plea Deal, $1000 Fine

Sexual Assault Charges Misdemeanor Plea Deal Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Maine Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Hatch facing 20 charges of sexual assault of a minor, including one who was six years old at the time was given a misdemeanor plea deal and a $1,000 fine.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III was facing 20 charges of sexual assault against three minors, including one who was just six years old at the time. However, instead of refiling charges after his first trial ended in a hung jury, the Maine Attorney General’s Office offered him a plea bargain. And, boy, what a bargain it was!

As part of the plea deal Hatch agreed to plead guilty to the Class D misdemeanor (almost the lowest level of crime someone can be charged with) of “furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol.” In exchange for that, the prosecutor has agreed that his “punishment” will consist of a $1,000 fine. No jail time, no probation, no sex offender registry, not even a series of overpriced classes to sit through. It’s slightly worse than if he had received a traffic citation.

At this point, it’s hard to be surprised when cops sit back and cover for their “Brothas” no matter how heinous the crime might be. Nor is it particularly shocking anymore when prosecutors give them their “Policeman’s Discount” and they get just a slap on the wrist or the crimes committed by “Police Heroes” are overlooked altogether. This takes the cake, though.

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.

Lincoln County Sheriffs Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year Kenneth L. Hatch III

Obviously, one would think that someone facing charges of sexually abusing multiple underage children, including one who was only six years old at the time, would get several books thrown at them.

Via the PressHerald.com:

On and off for the last 16 years, prosecutors allege, Hatch preyed on teenage girls, all the while moving through the ranks of law enforcement in central Maine.

An indictment handed up in August accused Hatch, 46, of 22 felonies, including 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana to a minor, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. In many of the incidents, Hatch was on duty when the alleged abuse occurred.

Via the Bangor Daily News:

The drug counts allege that Hatch gave marijuana from a bag marked “EVIDENCE” to two of his three alleged victims, two of whom were 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged assaults.

The alleged sexual assaults against the third victim, which resulted in Hatch’s arrest in June, reportedly first occurred in 2004 when she was 6, Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who is prosecuting the case, told the grand jury in August. The indictments allege that Hatch then sexually assaulted the same girl and provided her marijuana in 2013 and 2014, when she was 14 and 15.

One would obviously be very wrong, though. Apparently, in Maine the Magical Uniforms they issue to cops are especially potent at rendering them impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for their actions. Of course, one of his victims spoke of her fears in relation to that and how it made her reluctant to come forward. (Via the PressHerald.com, again.)

One of the alleged victims who spoke with the Maine Sunday Telegram said Hatch used his power as a police officer to sexually abuse her over a period of years. She was afraid to speak up, she said, because it would be her word against his.

“He’s a cop,” she said. “Who’s going to believe me?”

Finally in June, she spoke up and told a family member, triggering the investigation and Hatch’s arrest.

Her fear of speaking out is common among victims of police sexual violence. For every victim who comes forward to accuse an officer, five more remain silent, said Philip M. Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University and a leading researcher on police misconduct.

“There’s something about that power dynamic,” Stinson said. “Police officers are used to being in charge, of telling people what to do, and of people obeying them – or there are consequences.”

I’m sure that this sentence will alleviate those fears:

“Hatch will appear before Stokes in Knox County Superior Court on Friday morning, agree to pay a $1,000 fine, and will serve no jail time.”

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Oklahoma Governor: Police Not Complying With Executive Order to Audit Untested Rape Kits

Backlog Untested Rape Kits Police Refusing to Comply Audit Order

The massive backlog of untested rape kits sitting in evidence rooms across the country totals anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands in number.

Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin stated that only about half of the police departments in the state were complying with an executive order she issued in April instructing them to perform an audit of all untested rape kits. To be clear, the order wasn’t to complete the testing of the thousands that are sitting in evidence rooms throughout the state. In fact, it wasn’t even actually to begin testing them. It was simply to perform an inventory and determine just how many of them there are.

For many of those departments, though, the deadline of December 31, 2017 has come and gone. A lieutenant at the El Reno Police Department who states that they did do the audit but it somehow slipped his mind to send the information in. Meanwhile, according to “News9.com” Sgt. Jillian Phippen of the Tulsa Police Department maintains that they just don’t have the personnel or money to do it.

“For us, to do that, to comply with this unfunded mandate, it’s just a lot of money,” said Sgt. Phippen. “We’re already putting my sex crimes detectives back into the field to work patrol positions, so it’s not like we just have extra individuals that can stop what they’re doing and then complete this audit.”

It’s kinda obvious where the priorities of police department are when  one representative states that he “just forgot” to provide the information and the other says that their department has their rape investigators out generating revenue by writing tickets, instead of solving sex crimes.

For her part, Governor Fallin, who has now given them until Feb. 15th to comply, doesn’t seem terribly worried about the fact that thousands of rapists are walking the streets and potentially victimizing other women, when they could have been caught long ago. She “isn’t happy with the lack of cooperation she is getting from law enforcement.” However, she seems to be willing to afford them the benefit of the doubt that they (eventually) will.

“That’s not enough.” Governor Fallin said. “We need to do better and I think everybody’s certainly willing to step up and do it but we need to finish the job.”

Rape survivors, such as Danielle Tudor, aren’t quite so patient, though:

Tudor says that’s not acceptable.

“What is says to me as a rape survivor and unfortunately what it says to future sexual assault victims is, ‘Is it worth it to report it? Is it worth it to have that rape kit done because I have no guarantee that my evidence will even be used in my case.'”

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

A National Issue and a Question of Priorities

It’s a valid concern for victims of rape and other crimes involving sexual assault and it’s not just limited to Oklahoma, either. A 2015 story by USA Today estimated at least 70,000 untested rape kits existed nationwide, based on data obtained through a massive campaign of open records requests. A year earlier, in 2014, the Daily Beast published their own estimate of 400,000 kits that have failed to be tested since the mid 80’s when DNA testing began to be widely used.

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.

Police Need to Take Rape Seriously

Police Don’t

While it’s a handy excuse to ignore things the police don’t really want to be bothered with the “lack of funding” doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. Early last week, I posted about former LVMPD Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.,who was (finally charged with rape and murder twenty years after the crime was committed.

In spite of the fact investigators suspected Sewall literally from day one of their investigation in 1997, the victim’s rape kit wasn’t processed until 2017. Prosecutors supposedly couldn’t find the money to process a rape kit in a case where they already had a suspect, that suspect had a previous history of sex crimes, and they already had access to his DNA profile.

Meanwhile, the LVMPD and the City of Las Vegas managed to scrape together over a half billion dollars between them to build a new police headquarters and city hall. Just for good measure the nearby suburb of North Las Vegas also built new fancy building for their police department and city government.

Just as outrageous is the story Joey Lankowski posted here at NVCopBlock.org yesterday. Within it, he detailed how it was recently exposed that Henderson (another Vegas suburb) Police Chief Patrick Moers and his second in command, Deputy Police Chief Bobby Long, were forced to resign as the result of a sexual harassment scandal.

As part of what was originally characterized as a “voluntary separation,” Moers and Long received about $400,000 for accrued vacation hours and benefits. I have very little doubt that that money alone would have funded testing for quite a few of the 4,000+ untested rape kits within Southern Nevada. If not, then the $750 million in public funds the Clark County Commission voted to give the Raiders for a new stadium certainly would.

Are There Other, Worse, Reasons for the Lack of Urgency?

Of course, the reason that there wasn’t a more immediate uproar about Chief Moers’ and Deputy Chief Long’s large payoffs was because the Henderson City Government kept the true reason for their resignations under wraps for months until an anonymous source tipped off the local newspaper.

Similarly, Officer Sewall spent the vast majority of those twenty years violating his probation terms without suffering any significant repercussions. Nor did anyone in a position to do so make much of an effort to get the one rape kit that could confirm what they already suspected was true processed. It’s almost like the respective prosecutors, city governments, and police departments were just not that interested in pursuing the case, if they could avoid it. Almost exactly like that.

(Not to mention the mayor of North Las Vegas, for whom the former NLV police chief admitted having covered up the presence of child porn on his computer and the current number two man in charge at the LVMPD, who once had to resign after he asked a woman to expose herself in exchange for not being arrested.)

It’s no secret that some police have used their position and the vulnerabilities of women they often interact with to pressure or physically force them into performing sex acts. In fact, just three years ago, right there in Oklahoma City, Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of raping 13 women and had preyed upon numerous more during his time as a police officer.

Experts say that DNA evidence is as high as 99% accurate and has led to the identification of over 1,200 serial rapists in Detroit and Cleveland alone after concerted efforts were made to test the backlogs there. It would seem that Oklahoma, Nevada, and everywhere else would want to do the same, thereby bringing justice to past victims and preventing future ones.

Unless they’re afraid that a certain occupation might pop up a little too often once those tests are conducted…

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After Virginia Police Raid Wrong Address Innocent College Student Was Beaten, Arrested, and Evicted From Home

Maurice Neblett Police Raid Wrong House Cause Eviction

After Virginia police raided the wrong address, innocent Virginia Union University student Maurice Neblett was beaten, falsely arrested, and evicted from his apartment.

Note: This post is based on a a reader submission shared with Nevada Cop Block by Maurice Neblett. 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.

(Several quotes used below were taken from a previous article on this incident by Amelia Heymann, a contributing writer at the Commonwealth Times, which is the student newspaper for Virginia Union University.)

During a February 2014 police raid, Maurice Neblett, who was naked at the time, was pulled out of bed, beaten by as many as a dozen policemen, and then falsely arrested. He was punched, kicked, and further battered with flashlights, rifle butts, and other objects in a beating that went on for at least five minutes.

Eventually, he was placed in a choke-hold and then handcuffed. While handcuffed, one of the officers involved began verbally taunting him. That officer, Richmond Police Officer Mark Sims, reportedly whispered in his ear, “Who has the most power, us or the Bloods?” and “We should have done this to your brother, but it does not matter because he will be gone for a very long time. You will too.”

Neblett’s address at the time was 531 W. Bacon St. in Richmond, Va. The address on their warrant was “Building Two, Apartment 2120 at 610 W. Bacon St.” Not only were police at the wrong address, the address listed on their warrant doesn’t actually exist. Even if it had been a legitimate address the corresponding number would be a block away.

Further complicating the story is the fact that the two officers who obtained the warrant claimed they had conducted a 30 day investigation after they “smelled marijuana in the area.” No drugs, or anything else illegal, were found during the raid. Nor was any evidence of  illegal activity by Neblett or anyone at his address ever found. The only charges filed against him, two felonies for “assaulting an officer,” were later dropped.

No connection to the Bloods, the street gang referenced by Sims while they were beating Neblett, has ever been established. Neblett has also continuously maintained that he had offered no resistance to justify the force used against him. Neblett claims the officers discussed who would among them would like to volunteer to “be an assaultee.”

Being released from jail and having the charges eventually dropped wasn’t the end of the disruption that the Richmond Police Department’s actions that night caused for Neblett, though. Because he was initially charged with a federal crime, Neblett was evicted from his apartment. He ended up homeless as a result, living out of his car for several months.

In addition, he states that he suffers daily from anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of sleep and “a profound and insurmountable loss of trust in the state, the city and their law enforcement officials.” Neblett is a criminal justice major at Virginia Union University and obviously this raid and its aftermath greatly affected his studies.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Neblett says. “I’m trying to figure out if I’m in a nightmare.”

However, Neblett isn’t just focusing on what happened to him and his own problems as a result he has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police Department and hopes the lawsuit can not only find justice for him but also can lead to changes in policy within the department that would prevent raids such as this from happening in the future.

“I’m here, I’m breathing, a lot of people that have been in similar situations aren’t here today,” Neblett says.”This is bigger than me, I’m just a grain of salt.”

Also, regardless of whether or how the fact he is a black man may have influenced the actions of the police who raided his house, Neblett maintains that this should be viewed as an issue which is bigger than just a potential race-based incident:

“This is not a color bearing issue,” Neblett says. “It is important we support this because it could happen to anyone. We have to address again that no one is above the law and they have to be held accountable for their actions”

As noted above, Maurice Neblett has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police. Obviously, regardless of the eventual outcome lawsuits and everything that goes into filing them can be very expensive. That’s one of the reasons the police and governments choose the targets that they do. If you can’t afford to fight them in court, then they often get away with even the most egregious abuses.

Neblett has asked us to share a link to a page he set up to help offset the costs of lawyers and other expenses involved in pursuing justice in this case. If you are able to, you can donate by clicking this link to his GoFundMe account. Even if you can’t help financially, you can help him by sharing that link to others.

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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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Las Vegas Protest at Mandalay Bay to Demand Release of Video Related to Route 91 Mass Shooting

October 1st Shooting Protest Mandalay Bay

A protest has been scheduled for December 21st at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip regarding the lack of transparency about the October 1st shooting during the Route 91 Festival.

Earlier this week, a local group called for a protest at the Mandalay Bay via Facebook. The group has stated that the protest will be aimed at putting pressure on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay, to release information about the Las Vegas Route 91 Festival mass shooting that took place on October 1st.

The protest is scheduled for 1pm on January 21st in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The Mandalay Bay is located on the Las Vegas Strip at 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. The group has stated that they intend to make this a ongoing regular protest until they are satisfied that their demands and concerns have been appropriately addressed.

Specifically, they intend to demand that surveillance footage from the Mandalay Bay be released publicly. As was reported here at NVCopBlock.org a couple days ago, LVMPD Sheriff Lombardo would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.” However, the lack of transparency on even very basic aspects of the shooting, as well as previously exposed inconsistencies, have left many questions unanswered and created doubts about the official narrative(s). Those #KeyboardBandits he is so frustrated by want those questions and discrepancies answered before they just “move on.”

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.

Members of NVCopBlock will be there to report on the protest. Obviously, we will be also be monitoring and filming any interactions protesters have with the police and/or security to ensure their rights and safety are protected. I’ve also been told that several other independent news organizations will be in attendance.

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

 

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Video: The Rotting Barrel of Bad Apples That is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “Leadership”

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Captain Yasenia Yatomi, just one member of the LVMPD’s “leadership,” who have managed to excel at corruption, dishonesty, and a general lack of ethics.

In the video embedded below, Ramsey Denison, the director of “What Happened in Vegas,” and Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who also appears in the documentary, discuss several of the high ranking members of the LVMPD. As is pointed out in the video, those “leaders” have quite a stellar history of corruption and outright criminality.

Specifically, Stubbs discusses in detail his involvement with Captain Yasenia Yatomi, which has transpired over the last several years. In fact, it was Yatomi’s unethical and illegal actions that led to Stubbs’ first appearance at NVCopBlock.org. Yatomi, who was a sergeant at the time, unlawfully arrested Stubbs when he refused to allow her to deprive one of his clients of their Constitutional right to counsel.

She then followed that up by falsifying a police report to justify that arrest. Of course, since police reports are sworn statements, that constituted an act of perjury. However, rather than being prosecuted, fired, or in any way whatsoever punished for that (felony) crime, Yatomi was instead promoted.

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.

In fact, as her current rank indicates, she has actually been promoted not just once, but twice since then. As a matter of fact, as part of her promotion to Lieutenant, Yatomi was placed in charge of the Internal Affairs Bureau. Without even a hint of irony, the LVMPD put someone who was actively being investigated for a criminal offense in command of the department that investigates misconduct by police officers.

Some of the other highlights include Undersheriff Kevin Mcmahill, the current no.2 in command at Metro who was forced to resign earlier in his career after he sexually harassed a suspect. Also among the notable members of the LVMPD’s upper echelon is Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank, who has a history of domestic violence.

As they say, the fish rots from the head down. So it should be no surprise that the LVMPD is a barrel of Bad Apples from top to bottom.

The LVMPD’s “Dirtbag Dream Team”

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

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Update: LVMPD Officer Caught on Body Cam Beating Woman For Littering Sentenced to Year in Prison

Excessive Force Prison Sentence Las Vegas Police Officer Richard Scavone

Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Richard Scavone has been sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a handcuffed woman as part of a plea deal.

A Las Vegas police officer has been sentenced to one year in prison as part of a plea deal for beating a handcuffed woman. As I posted about previously on NVCopBlock, LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone was caught on his own body camera assaulting the woman in January of 2015. He had decided that Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was a prostitute, even though he readily admitted later to having no actual proof of that.

He then decided to arrest her for loitering and also for littering, after she threw her coffee on the ground. In the process of profiling her for legally standing on a public street, Scavone became angry because she cursed at him. In retaliation for her not respecting his authoritah (AKA committing “contempt of cop“), he assaulted her multiple times.

In addition to throwing her on the ground, he also slammed her head against the hood of his car twice (after she complained about him touching her breasts), grabbed her by the throat and hair, and slammed her into the door jam of the car as he was shoving her into the back seat. During that entire time, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was handcuffed and not in any way whatsoever physically resisting.

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.

As I also posted about, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz  later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officer Scavone. Also named in the excessive force lawsuit were the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Travis Buechler, a former Corrections Officer. Buechler, who has since been fired for some undisclosed reason, stood by and watched Scavone beat a woman like a Good Cop without reporting it or interceding in any way to stop it. She reportedly suffered permanent injuries to her head, back, and neck during the attack. That lawsuit was settled for $200,000 of taxpayers’ money in July of 2016.

Eventually, due to the body cam footage (embedded below) and the pending lawsuit Scavone was charged with several federal crimes including assault and falsifying an official police report to justify that assault. In September of 2017, he accepted a deal to plead guilty to just one count of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

In spite of having all but one charge dropped and a letter from retired LVMPD Sgt. Raymond Reyes that spoke glowingly of his award winning career, impeccable reputation, and referred to him as “cop of cops,” Scavone actually received a harsher than expected sentence. Earlier this month, on January 11th, he was sentenced to a year in prison and an additional year of probation. He was also fined $20,000 given 300 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II.

Body Camera Footage of Officer Scavone’s Assault:

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