Tag Archives: LVMPD

Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder Scheduled for Today

dandre-berghardt-murder-videoAt 9:00 AM this morning (March 2, 2015), the Clark County District Attorney’s office will be conducting a “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” for the murder of D’andre Berghardt Jr., who was shot to death by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents on February 14, 2014 after he asked passersby near Red Rock Canyon (just outside Las Vegas) for water and some of them called to report that he may need assistance. Those BLM agents, along with a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper,  subsequently showed up and instead of offering assistance (or simply leaving him alone if he refused assistance), began to antagonize, pepper spray, taze, and beat Berghardt.

Not surprisingly, Berghardt attempted to get away from the people that were assaulting him and tried unsuccessfully to get into several nearby cars. Unfortunately, when he did finally find a vehicle that he could get into, it ended up being NHP Trooper Lucas Schwarzrock’s SUV. That prompted the two (unnamed) BLM agents to shoot and kill Berghardt, presumably because they were afraid that he would use the rifle that was locked up (according to the BLM’s own official statement) inside the trooper’s passenger seat.

Although a video (which is embedded below), taken by two people that witnessed the incident from their car while stopped on the road, surfaced within a few days of the shooting, there actually should be another video that would show a much better view of what happened that day. Unlike the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police, Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles have dash cams. That video has never been released, nor has any explanation ever been offered for it not being released. It’ll be interesting to see if that will be included in the presentation or, at the very least, if some sort of excuse for it’s lack of availability will be given.

In spite of it’s Orwellian name, the “Police Fatality Public Fact Finding Review” is, in reality, designed to do anything but provide facts to the public. It was created after the LVMPD and Police Protective Association were unable to have reforms to the old Coroner’s Inquest overturned via lawsuits. The much maligned original Coroner’s Inquest had functioned as a rubber stamp process of automatically justifying police shootings for about 40 years. In spite of the proposed reforms standing up to those legal challenges and being declared constitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court, the entire process was scrapped in favor of this newer version that is even worse and less transparent than the Coroner’s Inquests had ever been.D'andre Berghardt Jr

Basically, the new method of rubber stamping police shootings consists of the District Attorney declaring (every single time) that the killing was justified, then having someone present to the public the police version of events without any cross examination, witness testimony, presentation of evidence, or impartial representation. It essentially is designed in order to facilitate an official, institutionalized coverup, with very little opportunity for the public to question the official story they are being fed. You couldn’t ask for a much better opportunity to hide the truth and bury facts while advancing the official narrative. Nor could you more effectively sow mistrust and hostility within the communities that are effected by these killings, which historically have never resulted in any sort of accountability, regardless of how questionable they have been and whether the victims of the LVMPD’s trigger happy cops were completely innocent and/or unarmed.

Details for Police Fatality Review of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. Murder:

Via www.clarkcountynv.gov

The Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review into the February 2014 death of D’Andre Berghardt Jr. will be held Monday, March 2, at 9 a.m. in the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. The review will be aired live on Clark County Television (CCTV) and streamed over the County Internet site at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov.

According to reports, Berghardt was shot and killed during a confrontation with law enforcement officers on state Route 159 near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The review of this incident will be presided over by Hearing Officer Chip Siegel. Mark Bailus will serve as ombudsman for the review. Both are longtime criminal defense attorneys in the community. Presiding officers and ombudsmen are selected by the county manager from lists approved by the County Commission. The ombudsman represents the public and the deceased’s family in this fact-finding review.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Staudaher will represent the District Attorney’s Office in this proceeding.

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Security on Fremont St. Beat Man Then Obstruct, Assault, and Threaten Witness (Updates)

Insert Coin Security Fremont Street BeatingThis video, which was just posted on Stephen Stubbs’ YouTube channel, was received via the NVCopBlock.org post submission page. As is detailed in the video description (quoted below) on YouTube, this shows security guards employed by “Insert Coins,” a bar on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, unnecessarily beating a man on the sidewalk in front of the business.

**NOTE**

This is a developing story and there have been several updates and new developements, since it was originally posted. Those updates have been (and will continue to be) added at the bottom, below the video.

Although public sidewalks aren’t actually owned by the private businesses near them (there does seem to be some confusion about that throughout Las Vegas), the video doesn’t show what happened right before the security guards assault the man. So, without arguing about the validity of their initial actions (even though I’ve been told that the bouncers instigated the incident – see updates below the post), once the man is down he is clearly not a threat to three large bouncers, while already restrained on the ground. There’s no reason whatsoever to continue choking and hitting someone in that situation.

What’s even more telling is the fact that another security guard from the Vanguard Lounge, which is next door to Insert Coins, realizes someone is filming and does his best to obscure what is happening as they continue beating the man for almost a full minute on the video. Beyond that, we don’t actually know what happens to the man being attacked or for exactly how long. That’s because a different security guard from the Beauty Bar Griffin (see updates below for explanation of correction), another bar located on Fremont St, comes across the street, steals and then breaks the witness’ phone, and reportedly assaults him, as well.

Furthermore, the witness states that he waited for the police to show up in order to provide evidence of what happened. Instead of conducting an investigation and talking with a potential witness, the Metro officer that responded ordered him to “Get the f@!! out of here.” In theory, cops themselves are supposed to be impartial mediators that gather evidence and determine if there is sufficient cause to believe a crime may have been committed not someone that personally decides the guilt or innocence of those involved in a dispute. Turning away an independent witness with video evidence of exactly what transpired and who himself may have been assaulted by someone involved with the incident shows a clear bias and lack of any desire to act as such.

From the YouTube video description:

On the evening of February 12, 2015, A man (who appeared to be homeless and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol) was dancing on the sidewalk in front of Insert Coins on Fremont Street.

Security guards were yelling at him to leave and the dancing man ignored them (continued dancing). When the Security guards taunted the dancing man to attack them, my client (who does not wish to come forward with his identity) took out his phone and started recording.

A security guard attacked the dancing man, beat him up and continued to choke and beat him even after he was lying motionless on the ground. A plain closed security guard tried to obstruct my client from videotaping the incident and even physically pushed him away.

A security guard from the Beauty Bar on Fremont then crossed the street, attacked my client, grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground (destroying it).

My client waited for the police, tried to make a statement and told LVMPD that he had video. A LVMPD Officer ordered him to “Get the f@!! out of here. This doesn’t concern you”. My client left (fearing that he would be arrested) and contacted me.

 

**UPDATES AND CORRECTION**

There are several updates to this post since it was originally written:

Insert Coins Twitter Response

Don’t believe your lyin eyes

First, it has been determined that while the bouncer (who shows up at the very end of the video) responsible for breaking the witnesses phone and allegedly assaulting him did come from the direction of the Beauty Bar, he actually works for the Griffin, which is next door to the Beauty Bar and directly across the street from Insert Coins. That has been corrected within the original post.

Second, the Owner of Insert Coins, Chris LaPorte, has issued several statements, via Facebook and Twitter, responding to the incident. They’re pretty bad in general and even embarrassingly so, in the case of the one on Twitter. In response to a tweet by SNWatchdogs (an awesome local group that, as the name implies, works to expose corruption) including a link to the video, using the Insert Coins account he states that people shouldn’t “believe what you see,” because apparently the “whole story” is somehow going to counteract what everyone can, in fact, pretty clearly see on the video. Regardless of what might have happened just prior, once someone is down on the ground and not fighting or resisting in any way beating and choking them isn’t justified:

@SNWatchdogs Get the whole story before believing what you see. @ChrisOfCoins – Owner Insert Coin(s) [email protected] #Vegas #DTLV

The Facebook post is more along the lines of I support my guys, Stephen Stubbs is a dirty liar and I have video that shows they did nothing wrong while beating that guy that was lying on the ground defenseless, then interfering with a witness who was well within his rights to record what was happening, and it’s rude to point:

I would like to point out to those questioning my security staff’s professionalism at Insert Coin(s) that any allegation of wrong doing is inherently false and while a video is floating around the internet about a violent takedown by way of a Stephen Stubbs it can easily be proved misleading with surveillance camera footage currently being reviewed by Metro. I stand by my staff and ask those to think twice before pointing fingers at my team. Thank you. – Chris LaPorte via Facebook

Finally, Stephen Stubbs posted this statement as an update to Facebook after meeting with Chris LaPorte and viewing this magical video (which includes the clarification of the identity of the bouncer responsible for breaking the witness’ phone). Apparently, after watching the video and getting the “whole story,” he still believes what he saw:

On the evening of February 14, 2015, I met with Chris [owner of Insert Coin(s)] at his establishment. We went upstairs and he showed me the security footage. It was clear from the video that the Insert Coin(s) security guard instigated the physical contact on the public sidewalk. The security guard push the homeless man, pushed him again, and then shoved him violently to the ground.

The security guard had a tiny 1/8 inch scratch under his eye (I saw the picture) and he claims the tiny scratch is the result of the homeless man punching him (again, the security camera doesn’t show that punch).

Also, the security guard that assaulted the cameraman and destroyed his phone works for The Griffin on Fremont Street (he approached from in front of the Beauty Bar but is in no way connected to the Beauty Bar).

***MORE UPDATES***

Protest Staged

Last night (February 16, 2015), members of Nevada Cop Block and SNWatchdogs staged a public protest, which included chalking and making the video available for passersby to view, on Fremont Street in front of Insert Coin(s) and the Griffin to bring attention to this incident. Below are some pictures from the protest (click the thumbnails for full size):
Insert Coins ProtestInsert Coins Protest2Insert Coins Protest3Insert Coins Protest4Insert Coins Protest6Insert Coins Protest5

Bouncer Who Broke Phone Fired by the Griffin

Griffin Bouncer UpdateThe next day (February 17 2015), I received information that the Griffin had contacted Stephen Stubbs, who is representing the man whose phone was broken while he filmed the incident. They stated that they had fired the bouncer that broke the phone and that they also would be replacing the damaged phone (via Stephen Stubbs’ FaceBook page):

Update on the unfortunate February 12, 2015 incident in front of Insert Coins:

I just received a call from The Griffin Bar. The security staff member that left his station and destroyed the cell phone of the person taking the video has been fired for violating policy. The Griffin Bar made it clear that his actions do not represent what they stand for, and they took care of the situation. The Griffin Bar is also replacing the destroyed phone.

As far as I’m concerned, The Griffin Bar has done everything that they could do to make up for the situation. Their staff did not participate in the beating and I am glad that they stepped up to take care of things. I consider the matter against The Griffin Bar to be closed.

Please like and share to spread the word. I think they should get props for this. No bar can 100% control their employees and they acted swiftly.

Related Links:

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Why Dustin McCaskill’s Arrest Actually Validates Cop Block’s Accountability

Dustin MccaskillRecently, it was reported that Dustin McCaskill was arrested here in Las Vegas for making threats on Facebook. There is some room for arguments about whether the First Amendment applies in this case, but unlike some other recent cases, Dustin has made specific and persistent threats for well over a year.

One of the things mentioned in the article is that these threats were made on Dustin’s “Colorado Cop Block” Facebook page, which has apparently been removed by someone (possibly FB, but as far as I know, the person and exact reason is not known, at this time). There is a bit of context that needs to be added there. Because of violent threats of the same nature both against police and other citizens on Dustin’s previous CB page, “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block,” which was eventually removed by FB as a result of the threats, Cop Block publicly disassociated itself from Dustin and SOCB last year (almost exactly one year ago). Not only was a post made on the main page explaining the reasons for that action, but SOCB was removed from the directory of official CB pages and content generated by that page was no longer accepted for reposts, either on the site or the main Cop Block FB page.

Later, after Dustin moved to Colorado, he again tried to use Cop Block’s notoriety to gain attention for himself, by creating the “Colorado Cop Block” page. This was even after he had himself claimed he didn’t want to be associated with Cop Block and had only kept “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block” as the title of his page because he wasn’t allowed by Facebook to change it. He also had created several anti-Cop Block pages, including one named “Cop Block Exposed” (which actually predated the Cop Block Exposed page that got a bit of attention recently by “exposing” really easy to find information and pictures about some of the members of CB and prompted him to complain about his page being the “original” CBX page).

Some of Dustin's less than wise advice.

Some of Dustin’s less than wise advice to South Florida Cop Block on Facebook.

It didn’t take long before he was posting violent threats again and had actually escalated to the type of things that got him arrested. So, it also wasn’t long before another post publicly disassociating Cop Block from Dustin and his pages was posted. Instead of listening to that advice about avoiding aggressive behavior, Dustin ran around Facebook posting insults and threats to the admins (myself included) of any of the affiliate pages he could find that had shared that post and stating that admitting to the FBI that he made those threats, as well as the threats themselves, were “the way to get things done” or some variation of that.

We can have discussions about when and if people should defend themselves against aggression by the cops, which is something Cop Block has done in the past, as evidenced by the “controversial” (mostly among people that have never watched it) Larken Rose video “When Should You Shoot a Cop?,” which discusses that very issue. Also, as stated, there is some level of argument that can be made about the First Amendment protection of speech vs. actions. However, making public threats (that Dustin obviously wasn’t even capable of carrying out) isn’t actually the way to get anything done, but more realistically, just a good way to get yourself put in prison, where you can’t do shit but sit and stare at a wall, or maybe even get murdered yourself.

The real moral to this entire story is that, unlike the police, Cop Block does blow the whistle on people that are potentially dangerous and that aren’t upholding the purpose and principles of Cop Block as an organization. Rather than making excuses for and covering up for Dustin, when we saw that he might likely do something that would reflect badly on all of us and prevent us from doing the positive mission that we set about to do, we publicly disassociated ourselves from him and warned others that he did not represent us or our goals as an organization. As has been stated numerous times, Cop Block is committed to non-aggression in our efforts to eliminate police abuses and aggression from them against others.

In addition, as I personally stated in a post the morning before I and three other individuals were arrested for peacefully and legally protesting the incredible lack of accountability by the LVMPD in August of 2013, it would benefit police themselves if they would exercise the same sort of responsibility when members of their group do things that will reflect badly on them and hinder their ability to accomplish their “mission,” instead of reacting with even more aggression toward those who rightfully point out those transgressions.

The transgressions of individuals reflect badly on a group at an inverse level dictated by the positive actions that a group takes to address those actions. When a group covers up for and enables an individual to continue negative behavior, the actions of those individuals rightfully reflects badly on the entire group. When a group does the right thing, then people understand that no group can keep every individual that has ever been involved with that group from doing something bad. “Bad Apples” have to be removed before they spoil the whole barrel, not used as an excuse that allows the rot to continue.

Cop Block can point to a legitimate and consistent history of holding our bad apples accountable for their adverse actions, while the police have a long and constant tradition of protecting theirs from any sort of repercussions for their actions, regardless of how bad or deadly they might be.

Kelly W. Patterson – admin of Nevada Cop Block  and Cop Block Press Passes (as well as a contributing writer on CopBlock.org and primary writer/editor for NVCopBlock.org)

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