Tag Archives: Las Vegas Review Journal

Innocent Man Framed For Murder by LVMPD Detectives and Las Vegas Prosecutors Freed After 22 Years in Prison

Demarlo Berry Released From Prison Innocence ProjectLast week, Demarlo Berry was released from a Nevada prison after serving 22 years for a murder he didn’t commit. He had been sentenced to life without parole in prison for a 1994 robbery at a Las Vegas Carl’s Jr. and the murder of Charles Burkes, the manager.

Based on media reports of his release, you would think that the Clark County District Attorney’s Office had supported and even played a significant role in his exoneration. That’s far from the truth, though.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

For years, Berry’s legal team has asserted that incredible trial testimony, as well as a written confession from another man in 2013, proves their client was wrongly convicted.

A Clark County judge on Wednesday signed the order of dismissal that secures the release. The Clark County district attorney’s office had agreed to dismiss the case Tuesday, following a monthslong (sic) investigation by members of the office’s newly formed conviction review unit.

Prosecutors for years had fought Berry’s claims of innocence with assertions of his guilt, but on Thursday they hailed the case as the first release resulting from the review unit established in October.

“They’ve finally done what we think they should have done all along,” (lawyer Craig) Coburn said.

For years, Coburn along with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project had been fighting to prove he had been falsely convicted. However, Las Vegas prosecutors had fought just as hard against his release. That includes even after the real killer confessed all the way back in 2013.

Steven Jackson, who has been in prison in California for a separate murder since 1996, had voluntarily confessed and in the process provided details only the person who had committed the crime could possibly know. In addition, a woman provided an independent statement that Jackson had confessed to her shortly after the murder occurred.

In fact, the reality is that district attorneys, along with police officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, manufactured witness testimony against Berry to ensure his conviction. As can be heard in the audio file embedded below (at approx. 6:30), that witness later recanted his claim that Berry had made a jailhouse confession.

In the process, Richard Iden also stated that detectives from the LVMPD coached him on what to say and provided him with details of the crime to bolster his testimony. As reward for that false testimony, Iden was given a favorable plea deal. He was also paid off with free plane tickets home to Ohio to visit his family, a free hotel room during the trial, and cash “per diem” payments.

Of course, while District Attorney Steve Wolfson is busy patting himself on the back for “causing the release of Demarlo Berry from prison after 22 years,” there’s been no mention whatsoever of any sort of accountability for the prosecutors and detectives who illegally manufactured evidence in order to put him there. Nor is there any mention of why it took four years after the real killer had admitted his own guilt before they finally decided to stop fighting that release.

And BTW, Nevada is one of eighteen states in the country that don’t provide any sort of compensation to people who have been exonerated after false convictions. So, unlike the guy the prosecutors paid off to provide false testimony at his trial, Berry will get nothing from the State of Nevada for the decades he was wrongfully imprisoned.

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Update: Demonstration and Courtroom Support for Silk Galloway; LVMPD Racial Profiling, False Arrest Victim

“Do what you gotta do ’cause we gotta find something.”

That quote comes from the instructions that LVMPD Lt. Connell gave to one of the officers working as part of a “Saturation Team” just after they had pulled over Solomon “Silk” Galloway (Galloway commonly goes by his middle name), then assaulted and falsely arrested him in February of 2016.

Realizing that they didn’t have any actual crime to charge him with, they quickly came to the conclusion that they had to “find something” to retroactively justify that arrest. Unbeknownst to them, the entire illegal search, including those instructions to just “find something,” was being recorded by a GoPro camera inside the car.

Prior to that, Galloway and a co-worker had been pulled over under the pretense they had been speeding. However, as reported here previously, the body camera footage released later (embedded below) actually shows the speedometer in the police vehicle that pulled them over, proving that they weren’t speeding at the time. Instead, it appears to simply be a case of racial profiling which they then unnecessarily escalated into the eventual false arrest.

Racial profiling is pretty much what saturation teams were created to do, so that kinda goes without saying. When Galloway refused to cooperate with their unlawful orders to present ID, even though he as the passenger of the vehicle was under no obligation to do so, they decided they would arrest him and “find something” later. Unfortunately, they were never actually able to “find something.” There were no drugs or anything else illegal on him or within the car.

Instead, they decided to charge Galloway with “obstruction,” which is otherwise known as “contempt of cop.” Over a year later, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County County District Attorney Steve Wolfson continue to push forward with this ridiculous charge. Tomorrow, Wednesday June 28th, Galloway will be in court at 1:30pm for a motion hearing regarding his case within Municipal Court Department 2, room 5B.

Various groups within the community have called for courtroom support for Galloway during this hearing. In addition, there will be a short rally outside, beginning at noon, to show that support and bring attention to the issues involved in this case. Afterwards, people will be encouraged to attend the hearing as well, in order to show that the community stands with Silk Galloway and will not stand idly by during this miscarriage of justice. People are welcome to bring signs or other relevant materials to the rally, although you won’t be able to bring them to the courtroom. There should be enough time in between to put them away.

Among the many issues already discussed previously, some members of the community have questioned whether the judge in the case, Susan Roger, has a conflict of interest since her husband, David Roger, works as the lawyer for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA). As a result, they are asking for her to recuse herself from this case. While that won’t happen (because she would then have to recuse herself from any case involving the police) it serves as a good reminder of David Roger’s own conflicts of interest.

For those not aware, David Roger was the District Attorney during the “investigations” of the murders of Erik Scott and Trevon Cole by Las Vegas police officers. He resigned shortly after the murder of Stanley Gibson by Officer Jesus Arevalo while that “investigation” was still underway to accept a position as the LVPPA’s lawyer. So, he went from the head of the department that absolutely refused to file any charges against police officers when they kill someone on duty to the guy who officially defends them for the police union.

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

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

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Update: Racial Profiling Case by LVMPD Saturation Team Body Cam Videos Show No Original Cause for Stop

In May of 2016, I reported on the case of Solomon Galloway, a Las Vegas man who was illegally detained, assaulted, and falsely arrested by one the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s “Saturation Teams” in February of that year. At the time, Galloway was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a co-worker, which had been stopped under the stated claim that he was speeding (more on that below).

The original pretense for that arrest and accompanying violent, illegal actions was Mr. Galloway’s refusal to identify himself. However, the passenger in a vehicle that has been stopped for a traffic violation is not considered a party to that infraction. As a result, they are not under any obligation to identify themselves. In fact, legally Galloway could have gotten out of the car and walked away from the traffic stop. (Since the actions of the driver do not represent the “reasonable suspicion” required to legally detain a passenger, they are “free to go.”)

Lacking a legitimate reason to detain Galloway, let alone arrest him, Metro’s designated harassment squad settled on the old standby of “I smelled pot.” They then embarked on a fruitless and illegal search of the car to hopefully find something to justify their illegal against against their victim. In the process, they even discussed amongst each other their need to “do what ever you gotta to do, because we gotta find something.” Unfortunately for them, they didn’t find anything at all.

Even more unfortunately for them, Galloway had placed a GoPro camera on his dashboard, which he turned on just after they were stopped. Unbeknownst to them, the entire incident, including the illegal search and that incriminating conversation, had been recorded on the GoPro. That included a statement from the supervisor on the scene, Lieutenant Connell, that they should “just arrest his ass and strip him,” once they finally gave up on finding anything to rationalize their actions. Galloway was then falsely arrested, taken to jail, and subjected to a humiliating and illegal strip search. All of which still failed to justify the obstruction charge that they eventually settled on.

It was already incredibly obvious from the GoPro video (which was later featured in a documentary about corruption among Las Vegas police entitled, “What Happened in Vegas“) that the LVMPD officers involved were completely lying and fabricating a reason to justify what they knew was a false arrest (and illegal demand for ID to begin with). Now however, body cam footage from the officer that initiated the stop, as well as another officer that participated in the assault on Galloway, have been released as part of discovery. One of the interesting aspects of those body camera videos is that in the beginning of the first officer’s footage you can actually see his speedometer as he’s driving. What that shows is that even the original justification for the stop was based on a lie.

Contrary to that officer’s claims about their speed (which fluctuated at various points in the video between them going either 55 or 65 mph when he pulled them over), they were in fact going below the 45 mph speed limit. Therefore they didn’t even have legal cause to pull them over in the first place. Nor did they have the reasonable suspicion of a crime necessary to justify detaining even the driver of that vehicle. That makes it even more obvious that everything that was done to Galloway, who was the passenger, after the illegal traffic stop was initiated was both unjustifiable and illegal, as well.

The badly disguised reality is that this was nothing more than a case of racial profiling and simple harassment. The LVMPD deploys what they call saturation teams into certain neighborhoods they have decided they want to concentrate on. These saturation teams descend upon those neighborhoods looking for any excuse to stop and harass the residents who live there. Even such minuscule “crimes” as jaywalking on a residential street or having a bicycle without a reflector are used to justify demanding ID from and attempting to question a person.

They are essentially just playing the odds in the hope that if they harass enough people within a chosen area they will find a certain percentage of individuals who have warrants or something illegal on them and that are willing to consent to a search to justify an arrest. Statistically, that makes the department look good, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that the vast majority of the people in any given neighborhood are not actually criminals and don’t deserve to be indiscriminately harassed because a cop has arbitrarily decided they “do not belong” in that neighborhood.

The other side of that equation is that the areas that the LVMPD targets for their saturation teams are invariably those inhabited predominantly by poor and minority residents. In fact, some years ago a Metro spokesperson went so far as to explicitly state to the Las Vegas Review Journal that they would not use saturation tactics against residents living in the wealthy suburb of Summerlin.

As is noted in the video’s title, Galloway and his friend were stopped because they were people of color driving an expensive car within a geographical region that the LVMPD had deemed to be suspect. Everything that happened after that was a result of him not “respecting their authoritah.” An authority that they did not legally have and that he had every legal (and moral) right not to respect.

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

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

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Tashii Brown Protest: Woman is Attacked by Racist Man With Knife, LVMPD Arrests Those Defending Her

Tashii Brown, protest, Las Vegas, LVMPD, Venetian

On May 28th, during a protest on the Las Vegas Strip over the murder of Tashii Brown by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera at the Venetian (see body camera video of the murder embedded at the bottom of this post), an as yet unidentified man physically attacked a woman participating in the protest. In the process of doing so. he knocked her to the ground and then pulled out a knife. Before he could do anything more, other protesters stepped in, pulling him away and disarming him.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

On Sunday, a fight broke out in the intersection in front of the hotel-casino when a passer-by appeared to wrap his arm around protester Rachel Siota’s neck and take her to the ground.

The passer-by, a shirtless man wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, walked into the street and tried to wave cars through the protest line. Siota said she was taken down when protesters refused to move.

The man started attacking other protesters when they tried to get him away, she said. Several protesters then started punching the man.

This video that was posted to Twitter by Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Blake Agpar shows that intervention by those protesters (it unfortunately doesn’t show the very beginning with the initial assault):

Another, more detailed, account of the attack was included in a submission to “It’s Going Down!” by one of the people present at the demonstration:

A shirtless, tattooed, very obviously inebriated white man in a Make America Great Again hat entered the crosswalk during our direct action and was immediately hostile and out of line. He assaulted one of our female demonstrators. He placed her in a chokehold and slammed her into the pavement. Another demonstrator who was awaiting heart surgery, was assaulted along with several other members of our demonstration. This man put his hands on not one, not two, but at least three of our female demonstrators. He would not let go of anyone he got his hands on. Alcohol was thrown in our faces and he screamed over and over about how he didn’t believe anyone he assaulted was female.

During the scuffle I noticed that the assailant had a knife. I alerted people about this and there was a collective effort to resolve the situation immediately. The assailant was taken away by the police but we’re unsure as to whether he was ever brought in or charged with anything. He was seen wandering around after the incident, without cuffs, while all of our demonstrators were restrained.

One of our medics was arrested, followed by some organizers. Most of the population of the protest had dispersed, but there was still a smaller group of us by the fountain afterwards resting, hydrating, making phone calls, and doing interviews with the local media. The police also conducted an interview on site. Long after the action was over, another one of our medics was arrested, along with one demonstrator who had just wrapped up an interview. The media had even made a point to question the police as to why they were arresting people so long after the crimes they allegedly committed.

In total, we had twelve demonstrators detained/arrested/cited. Two of which were street medics. Everyone has since been released.

According to the Washington Post the person who attacked us WAS NOT EVEN ARRESTED OR CITED. He was briefly detained and immediately released. But three protesters defending our people were jailed and charged. An additional 8 were cited with misdemeanor violations and released.

According to the LVRJ article quoted above, 15 people in total were detained and eight of those detained were issued citations, then released. In addition to that two of the people detained were arrested for assault, as a result of the fight that the unnamed Trump supporter initiated. Reportedly, one other person was also arrested for having an unspecified weapon (reportedly a retractable baton) on them, that was never used or displayed. All have since been released pending trials.

However, as noted in the ItsGoingDown.org post also quoted above, the racist Trump supporter who assaulted and pulled a knife on a woman was not among those who were arrested. In fact, the Washington Post published a list of the names of those charged and cited, which did not include the person who actually attacked multiple women and brandished a deadly weapon. Instead, those who came to the defense of the main target of his attack were detained and even charged with assault in what was clearly a case of self defense.

Anybody who is familiar with the LVMPD and their history will not be surprised by this obvious show of bias on their part. However, much like the murder of Tashii Brown itself, this is a prime example of where the Brown Shirts at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stand. The fact they quickly stepped in to protect a racist who had just committed a cowardly attack on women while brandishing a knife and then attempted to punish those who protected his intended victims, is a vivid reminder of who they actually stand with.

It isn’t the people.

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Update: Las Vegas School Cop Who Assaulted, Pulled Gun on Teen Victim During DUI Reinstated With Back Pay

Las Vegas School Police DUI Assault Gun Russo

Las Vegas school cop who caused an accident while drunk then pulled gun & assaulted victims has been reinstated because he was off duty at the time.

In October of 2015, I posted about Sgt. Anthony Russo of the Clark County School District Police Department. Russo was arrested after he got drunk, ran a red light, hit another car, assaulted the teenage driver of the car he had just crashed into at 60 mph, and then pulled a gun on witnesses who tried to intervene to stop his attack on a completely innocent person who was already “incapacitated” from being hit by some drunk maniac’s car.

At the time the Las Vegas Review Journal described the incident this way:

Troopers said Russo was at fault in the crash that escalated into fight where the off-duty school police sergeant drew his gun. He faces charges that include driving under the influence, failure to obey a traffic signal, possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, drawing a deadly weapon in a threatening manner and two counts of battery, NHP said.

Witnesses said Russo ran a red light at the off-ramp while going about 60 mph before hitting the car, according to arrest records obtained by the Review-Journal. Bystanders went to check on the Hyundai’s passengers, and Russo, wearing “dress clothes,” punched the car’s passenger in the face three times.

When bystanders pulled Russo away from the passenger, he punched one of them in the face and lifted up his shirt, where his firearm was holstered. He pulled out his gun, and a female bystander stood between Russo and others at the scene, according to the arrest record.

That’s when Russo went back to his car.

The arrest record said he failed to take a field sobriety test. He was taken to University Medical Center — as were three other people involved in the crash. Troopers got a warrant to draw four vials of blood from Russo, the arrest record said. He was then booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

That’s obviously some outrageous shit for anyone, let alone a guy who is carrying a gun around a school and in fact already had a prior history of shooting children. There’s no way they could have just swept this under the rug. He had to have been in for some serious punishment after this. Amirite?

Rest assured officers, that’s not the case when you have one of those Magic Uniforms that renders you impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for your actions, no matter how violent or outrageous they might be. Especially when you’re talking about a department that ruled officers covering up for cops that held an underage drinking party which led to one of the juvenile attendees killing a woman in a drunk driving accident was “within the scope of their duties.”

Not only were the laundry list of charges Sgt. Russo was originally facing reduced to two misdemeanors that resulted in just a fine and a temporary suspension of his license, but his firing has now been reversed. Apparently, according to an arbitrator, repeatedly punching a teenager and pulling a gun (while drunk) and threatening to shoot innocent people trying to stop him from committing assault on that innocent teenager doesn’t represent “a damaging impact to the workplace” or an indication of malice.  That workplace, of course is a building full of teenagers that he carries a gun around in. I can’t see any way his drunken rampage against an “innocent, incapacitated teenager” would be an indicator of some sort of potential workplace threat.

And he’s getting back pay for the two years he sat home. No word yet on whether he also will be getting reinstated as the head of the CCSD police union.

Local News Coverage

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