Tag Archives: Las Vegas Strip

Grand Jury to Review Manslaughter Charge Against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera in Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Grand Jury Manslaughter

A Las Vegas grand jury will review the involuntary manslaughter charge against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera, who used an unauthorized choke-hold to murder Tashii Brown in May 2017.

Lawyers for Las Vegas Police Officer Kenneth Lopera (he didn’t personally attend) were in court Thursday (Jan. 25) for a preliminary hearing. It was described in a story by the local Fox affiliate as a date-setting hearing.

In May of 2017,  Lopera used an illegal choke-hold to murder Tashii Farmer-Brown, who had approached Lopera and another officer at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip asking for help. (See description below) Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statements have referred to it as a “unauthorized restraint technique” in order to try and make it sound less violent than it actually was.

During the hearing, it was announced that prosecutors will have a grand jury review Officer Lopera’s involuntary manslaughter charge. Lopera has also been charged with one count of “oppression under the color of law.” That too will be reviewed by the grand jury.

The LVPPA, the Las Vegas police union, is providing legal defense (and has set up a fundraiser that violates the GoFundMe rules, but GoFundMe has refused to take down) for Lopera. Steve Grammas, their president is quoted as saying that they “welcome the review.” But then he’s also on record stating that he thinks hiring a cop who has murdered three people to officially advise cops that shoot someone is a good idea because “he has a lot of experience with that.”

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office was given until March 26th to seek an indictment against Lopera by the judge. The grand jury can choose to endorse those previous charges or could revise them.

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.

Ploy by Police & Prosecutors to Drop the Charges?

Of course, that last part about “revising” the charges is something that likely will cause people who have followed this case to take notice. Grand jury hearings are usually just a formality within the process of filing charges. The old saying, “any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich” is often used to illustrate just how easy it is.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Officer Kenneth Lopera

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera

However, as has been pointed out before here at NVCopBlock.org, prosecutors often use grand juries to justify not indicting police officers after they kill someone. District attorneys are in full control of the proceedings and decide what evidence is presented (or not). Essentially, they throw the case then use the fact the grand jury didn’t issue an indictment to claim they did everything they could but the case just wasn’t strong enough.

They are also ostensibly the representatives of the victims during the grand jury proceedings, although they really work for the other side. Much more often than not, that carries over to when cops are accused of criminal behavior. The fact that grand juries are by law a secret hearing, with criminal penalties for anyone that discusses what transpired, ensures that no one (including even the jurors) can expose or even criticize their lackluster efforts.

The fact that Officer Lopera is only facing a manslaughter charge (involuntary at that) is itself a point of contention among locals. Most who have seen the body camera footage (embedded below) of Lopez repeatedly tazing, beating, and then choking Tashii Farmer-Brown to death feel it was a pretty clear cut case of murder.

If a grand jury somehow decides not to uphold even those charges, things are going to get hot early this year in Vegas.

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Farmer-Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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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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Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo (and the Mandalay Bay) Want People to Just “Forget That (Mass Shooting) and Move On”

Sheriff Joe Lombardo LVMPD Las Vegas Shooting

LVMPD Sheriff Joe Lombardo thinks it’s important that everyone just “move on and forget about” the October 1st shooting by Stephen Paddock at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over the MLK day weekend, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated:

“The frustrating thing for me as the head of the law enforcement is the keyboard bandits the guys who sit at their couches at their home and Monday morning quarterback everything you do and that are smarter than you. The pressure that we are put under to do the right thing and I believe we did the right thing and I am not hiding anything from anybody. You know what I know.

The reason why I say that it is just as important for you to be comfortable living here and have an understanding to prevent another event from taking place, for you to know what exactly happened. So, you know what exactly happened so far. I anticipate a press conference here in about a week to give you more information and to provide the media with more information associated with that event.

But there will not be a keystone or an important piece associated with Mr. Paddock and why he did what he did, so it’s important for us to forget that and move on and be resilient.”  – Via at the Baltimore Post Examiner

Overlooking the Freudian slip of Lombardo admitting that the “keyboard bandits” he’s so frustrated with are smarter than him, it is very much important that Las Vegas residents (and everyone else) know what exactly happened that day and why it happened the way it did. Unfortunately, if anything Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been doing the opposite of that important thing.

What few things they have released publicly have been incomplete on a basic, unnecessary level and in several major instances just plain inaccurate.  And in many cases these aren’t the kind of inaccuracies that have resulted from additional information being discovered during the course of an investigation. Nor are they things being withheld because public disclosure would compromise the investigation.

In fact, oftentimes these have been revisions or disclosures forced upon Lombardo and the LVMPD by those frustrating Keyboard Bandits and their inconvenient facts. Among other things, they were forced to admit that they lied about or withheld information on when Paddock checked in to the Mandalay Bay, the fact a Metro cop had fired his weapon inside the room where he had stayed, and the ever-shifting timeline of when the MGM security guard and Metro officers reached the 32nd floor and timing of the shooting in relation to that.

Some of the motives behind the dishonesty and lack of transparency for those particular inconsistencies are fairly easy to figure out. Mostly, it boils down to trying to reduce liability for the Mandalay Bay and Metro itself and eliminate criticism of their lack of a response. If Paddock checked in right before the shooting, then people are less likely to question why no-one saw him do anything suspicious that would point to his intentions in the days prior.

Similarly, if the shooting began at the same time as security guard Jesus Campos had been shot, then people are less likely to question why Mandalay Bay security didn’t respond immediately. If it ended shortly after, people are less likely to ask why the “heroic” Metro police officers stood around in the hallway for over an hour without going into the room where they knew someone had just fired hundreds of bullets into a crowd of unsuspecting people and presumably didn’t know whether he would start shooting again.

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.

Las Vegas casinos are notorious for the amount of video cameras they have in and around them and for the vigilance with which security monitors those cameras. Except for the inside of the hotel rooms and other private areas such as bathrooms, you can’t walk two feet inside one without it being recorded. At least some of the police had body cameras. And Paddock himself had cameras set up both in the hallway and inside his room.

Yet there’s no video of the guard, Jesus Campos, being shot or the police in the hallway that day, no video of Paddock bringing his arsenal of weapons and ammunition from his car in the garage through the check-in area and to the room, no video of him smashing those giant reinforced windows out prior to the shooting. There’s also no video of him barricading the door to the stairwell, setting up cameras in the hallway, or disabling the farm alarms just prior to firing on the crowd.

Lombardo was in a big hurry almost before the sound of gunfire had faded away to assure everyone that only one person was responsible for this shooting. He also was in a rush to make sure everyone knew that that one person was dead and there was no terrorist connection. Even before there was time enough to confirm whether that was true, it was important for them to assure tourists didn’t get scared off by the idea of another incident like this happening in the future.

The problem is that the inconsistencies, altered timelines, and exposed lies that those efforts to keep information from the public have spawned has done nothing but fuel those same fears and mistrust toward the official story. Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM corporation (along with the rest of Las Vegas’ casino industry) would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.”

It’s important that we don’t until we get some real answers.

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

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 already mentioned, 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

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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:

Posts Related to LVMPD Police Brutality

Woman Detained and Harassed at the Bellagio Casino by Las Vegas Police for “Illegally” Honking Horn

Nevada Cop Block Warning Gang Activity LVMPD Las Vegas

Yet another account of the LVMPD showing what great “partners with the community” they are by harassing and intimidating a Las Vegas woman who “illegally” honked her horn.

Note: This post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. 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.

Obviously, this submission isn’t some harrowing tail of police brutality. In fact, it’s pretty low on the scale of what police in general and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in particular, are capable of (and have actually done). However, on a basic level it just shows the sort of “service and protection” that those who live in Las Vegas often receive from our “partners with the community.” As is pointed out in the submission, it’s these types of interactions that have the opposite effect, instead creating feelings of mistrust, fear, and even hostility toward the police among the public.

Beyond that, it’s also important to understand that many instances of brutality and killings at the hands of the police often start out as minor harassment based stops that then escalate into violence. When police arrogance combines with the (well earned) distrust of cops by citizens, things can go very wrong, very fast.

Last night, I was in line to enter the Bellagio drive up. A man in front of me had repeatedly allowed people to cross two and three lanes to nose into the line, and people behind me were honking.

When we approached the light, it turned green and the man stopped, even though there were no pedestrians crossing. So I tapped my horn. Much to my disbelief, two cops ran over to my car and yelled at me asking me why I honked my horn and hurt their ears???? I said I was sorry, I was not aware of them being to my right on the sidewalk full of pedestrians.

They continued to yell at me and said they were thinking of arresting me for using my horn illegally and told me to pull over and give them my license. This was a completely aggressive and demeaning interaction on their part, as I was shaking and completely stunned to find myself with the threat of going to jail. After sitting and waiting for sometime, the “nicer” of the two, and that is said with a grain of salt, explained to me that it is illegal to honk your horn unless it is an emergency.

Let me back-pedal a little to explain that each time I asked these two cops a question, they answered with a question, such as “do you want me to take you to jail?” They had no intention of providing me any type of information about the situation, but instead were completely wound up and had an agenda. Luckily, I was eventually allowed to go after being berated and told not to honk my horn unless it was an emergency…

I now understand these posts about people being wary to contact police in an emergency. If these guys are on edge because of the Mandalay Bay shooting then I suggest they get some heavy counseling before they harm an innocent passerby who disturbs their hearing!! Ridiculous…

– Jane Doe

Edit: Shortly after this was posted, Stephen Stubbs, a Las Vegas attorney who has been featured on NVCopBlock.org numerous times over the years, pointed out the signalling requirements outlined in NRS 484B.413 (AKA – the “signalling traffic statute“), that relates to vehicles preparing to turn in an area that might affect pedestrians.

As you can see in the photo below section #1 of that statute actually requires drivers to make “a clearly audible signal by sounding the horn if any pedestrian may be affected by such movement.” Anybody who has driven on the Strip, knows very well that pedestrians are very prone to walking across side streets and driveways against the light.

So, if the law is being interpreted by the letter (as it obviously was here) it’s more likely that not honking in the situation described would get you a ticket than honking would. Unless you’re dealing with a couple of cops  who are just looking to harass someone because they did something that you didn’t like.

Nevada SignallingTraffic Statute NRS 484B_413

(Click for full size image)

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

New Years on the Las Vegas Strip: LVMPD Vice Detective Already Under FBI Investigation Accidentally Shot Tourist

Las Vegas Strip New Years Negligent Discharge LVMPD Det Al Beas

LVMPD Vice Detective Al Beas, who is already being investigated as part of an FBI corruption probe, was responsible for a negligent discharge that injured a man on the Las Vegas Strip during New Years.

NYE Negligent Discharge

It turns out that some of the fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip happened after New Years this year. An officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department managed to fire his rifle while moving barriers after the annual party on the Strip ended.

That round from his personal AR-15 (which Metro officers are allowed to carry while on duty) even managed to hit a bystander. Reportedly, two other people in the other thought they had been hit as well, but had no “visible injuries.”

Presumably, the injuries the unidentified man who was shot suffered were minor and resulted from the bullet bouncing off the pavement, rather than a direct impact. However, there are several interesting things about the negligent discharge involving Vegas’ local “Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight” (but does shoot early and often anyway). Prominently, among these is the lack of actual information that has been provided about it.

As mentioned in the video (by “What Happened in Vegas,” director Ramsey Denison) embedded below, the coverage of the incident itself initially received very little coverage locally. The post-NYE press release from the LVMPD didn’t mention it at all and it wasn’t reported by local news until two days later.

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.

Even then, what coverage was provided didn’t even discuss the nature of the injury beyond describing it as “minor.” Early reports also failed to identify the officer involved. It wasn’t until that information was leaked and subsequently reported by independent media sources that some of those blanks started getting filled in.

An obvious reason for this is that attracting tourists to Las Vegas for New Years is one of the biggest cash cows for the casinos located on the Strip. The LVMPD, those casinos, and the city government all go to great lengths to prevent anything getting out that might make people feel unsafe or question whether they should come to Vegas.

That’s especially true after the shooting at the Route 91 Festival on October 1st. As also mentioned in the video below and illustrated within “What Happened in Vegas,” by and large the local media is more than happy to play along with and facilitate that, as well. (The fact that the award winning documentary about corruption and police brutality in Las Vegas has been kept out of theaters within the city is itself an example of that.)

The LVMPD’s Corrupt Vice Squad and the FBI Probe

Beyond that, there might be another reason for the silent treatment. The officer responsible for the negligent discharge is one of the many poster boys (and girls) for corruption in and around the police departments patrolling the Las Vegas area. That officer, Detective Al Beas, is already being investigated by the FBI as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe into the LVMPD Vice Squad.

Several years ago Beas, along with Detective Chris Baughman, Detective Warren Gray, and Lt. Karen Hughes, were praised locally and portrayed in media as a group of crusading heroes that were saving women who had been forced into prostitution. In reality, they themselves were victimizing women and participating in sex trafficking.

Eventually, it was exposed that they were working on the behalf of certain pimps, including record producer and hip-hop artist Mally Mall, to eliminate their competition. Not only were they arresting the rivals of their “clients” they were also sleeping with prostitutes and then coaching those women to act as witnesses against the pimps at trial.

Lt. Hughes and Deputy District Attorney Liz Mercer, the lead prosecutor who convicted those pimps, reportedly were also sexually involved with the detectives and even the prostitutes. Mercer is now married to Det. Baughman, which has been characterized as a tactic to avoid having to testify against him, via spousal privilege.

Several of those pimps, including Arman IzadiOcean FlemingRaymond Sharpe, and Micah Duncan (aka Wheelchair Mike) are seeking new trials based on the revelations from the FBI’s corruption investigation.  So, yet again, due to who is involved this unrelated incident carried the potential to shine a light on a much larger issue that the LVMPD would much rather keep quiet about.

BTW, in spite of stating, “Officers guarding a crowd without intending to use their weapon should not have a round in the chamber,” Metro spokesman Jay Rivera has indicated that Detective Beas is not expected to be disciplined for his negligent discharge. In addition, Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas said he is unaware of anyone ever being fired for an unintentional discharge.

I wonder how that would go if someone without one of those Magic Uniforms that renders its wearer impervious to meaningful consequences for their actions (upto and including murder) had fired off a round (and hit someone), unintentionally or otherwise, on the Strip during New Years.

What Happened in Vegas

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.

What Happened in Vegas also addresses several unanswered 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. What Happened in Vegas is currently available on iTunes as well as on VOD (Video on Demand) or DVD.

 

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Posts Related to the LVMPD

LVMPD Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Premieres in Los Angeles on Friday (Dec. 1st) at Laemmle Music Hall

Documentary What Happened in Vegas Ramsey Denison Laemmle Los Angeles Premier

What Happened in Vegas” by Ramsey Denison, the documentary about police brutality and corruption at the LVMPD, premiers in Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall 9pm Friday Dec. 1st.

Los Angeles Premier

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is set to open in Los Angeles tomorrow. The official West Coast theatrical premier of the documentary about corruption, coverups, and police brutality at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is being held at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills (a “Secret Path to Oscar Qualifying” for independent films, short films, and documentaries) at 9pm on Friday, December 1st. (Purchase tickets 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 received positive reviews from the Los Angeles media. In a preview article in the LA Weekly (originally published at the Village Voice), Daphne Howland writes:

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.)

Last week, What Happened in Vegas premiered in New York City at the Cinema Village Theater in East Manhattan on  Black Friday. Subsequent New York showtimes after the official theatrical premier can be found here. The New York opening represented 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.

In addition, What Happened in Vegas is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

Police Interference with Las Vegas Showings

Incidentally, outside of the two festival showings previously mentioned, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is very much not because of a lack of interest. In fact, three different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

However, in all those cases that initial interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s even been reported that they 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.

Once you see the movie, you will very much understand why Metro desperately doesn’t want it to be shown theatrically within the city of Las Vegas. It very clearly, convincingly, and dramatically lays out the criminal nature of Sheriff Lombardo and others at the top of the LVMPD and the real consequences of it for the residents and visitors of Las Vegas.

“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

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 Premier, 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

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Tashii Brown’s Mother Calls For Murder Charge Against Las Vegas Cop At “What Happened in Vegas” Screening

Tashii Farmer Brown Family Mother Trinita What Happened in Vegas ScreeningLast week, following a screening of “What Happened in Vegas,” Tashii Farmer-Brown‘s mother, Trenita Farmer, addressed the media in attendance. The statement, quoted below, represents the first time that Brown’s family had spoken publicly since he was murdered in May (2017) by Las Vegas Police at the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over 200 people attended the July 20th screening at the Anthem Film Festival, which is part of Freedom Fest inside the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The screening was very well received (it was later awarded the film festival’s grand prize) and the majority of those people stayed for the press conference. In addition, a question and answer panel followed featuring director Ramsey Denison, producer Randy Wiles, and Neill Franklin of LEAP.

Las Vegas Metro LVMPD Police State ChalkDuring the screening, Trinita and other members of Brown’s family left the room after becoming emotional and were unable to watch the film. There were others in the audience, including family members of other people featured in it, that also began crying. The four cases that “What Happened in Vegas” focuses on, those of Brown, Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, and Stanley Gibson, are some of the most controversial killings by police in the history of Las Vegas.

Tashii Brown’s murder, which was caught on both Lopera’s body camera and casino surveillance footage, was so graphic and so obviously unnecessary that his story was added to the video just prior to this screening. In the months since, Lopera’s actions and the response of the LVMPD’s leadership has been questioned heavily, both locally and nationally.

As is typical for crimes committed by their officers, Metro immediately began attempting to blame the victim by smearing Brown’s character. Also, even though Officer Lopera eventually became the first Las Vegas area police officer to be charged with a crime as a result of killing someone while on duty, he was only charged with Involuntary Manslaughter.

Within her statement, Farmer addressed that low level charge and called for Clark County District Attorney Steve to charge Lopera with the appropriate one. While she didn’t specify it herself, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out that the crime Officer Kenneth Lopera committed that day was murder.

Here is the full text of Trinita Farmer’s statement. Below that is video of the press conference.

“I’d like to thank everybody for coming today. I’m happy that the police officer that killed my son has been charged, but it’s not enough. If it was a regular person, a citizen, they wouldn’t have been so lenient on them. Because it was an officer, he was given special treatment. I call on District Attorney Wolfson to re-examine the case and charge this officer appropriately.

Tashii was my heart. He was a good son, a good father. And he had a lot of dreams. They never gave him a chance. He didn’t deserve this. I thank you guys for coming.”

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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Mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown to Hold Press Conference After “What Happened in Vegas” Screening at Anthem Film Festival

What Happened in Vegas Documentary LVMPD Tashii Farmer Brown

Following a screening of “What Happened in Vegas” on July 20th, 2017 at the Anthem Film Festival, which is part of Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, the mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown will give her first press conference.

Trinita Farmer, whose son was killed on May 14th by a police officer in a parking lot outside the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel, has previously refused requests for interviews. Tashii is featured in the documentary, which includes moving footage from his funeral. The funeral was closed to the press.

What Happened in Vegas,” directed by Ramsey Denison, documents four murder cases in which all of the victims were killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers: Tashii, a black man who was choked to death after asking a police officer for help; Trevon Cole, a small-time drug dealer; Erik Scott, a decorated ex-army officer and West Point graduate shot in a Costco parking lot; and Stanley Gibson, a disoriented combat army veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Also attending the post-screening press conference will be family members of the other victims; director Ramsey Denison; Larry Burns, a 27-year veteran of the LVMPD and former candidate for sheriff; and Neill Franklin, executive director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership).

The film screening is open to members of the press and begins at 3:20pm PT.  The press conference will follow the film at approximately 4:50pm PT.  Both events will take place in the Versailles 3 room of the Paris Las Vegas Conference Center, July 20, 2017.

Members of the media who wish to request credentials to the film screening and/or to the press conference should contact Norann Dillon at [email protected] or 855-850-3733 x206.  Media are asked to check in at the main registration desk in the Exhibit Hall (Concord Ballroom).

For information on the Anthem Film Festival, contact Jo Ann Skousen at [email protected] or 407-620-9025.

The Anthem Libertarian Film Festival focuses on films about individuality, choice and accountability. It is part of FreedomFest, an annual event that brings together over 2,000 attendees and 250 speakers with sessions on public policy, history, science & technology, art & literature, health & wellness, investments and economics. FreedomFest has been called “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.”   This year’s conference runs July 19-22, 2017, at the Paris Las Vegas.

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

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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