Tag Archives: LVRJ

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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LVMPD Officer Charged with Sexual Assault of Child is Second Vegas Cop Involved in Armed Standoff Within Week

SWAT standoff at Cold Creek Canyon area with accused pedophile Officer Bret Theil

Las Vegas Police Officer Bret Theil, who was indicted on over a dozen charges of sex abuse against a child, engaged in an armed standoff with SWAT overnight Wednesday.

On Wednesday (Feb. 7), it was announced that Officer Bret Theil, who has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 1998, had been indicted on charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. After his indictment was announced, Theil was involved in an armed standoff with LVMPD SWAT teams.

Update: Coincidentally (?), Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Obviously, that has led to speculation that Theil was set up with the sexual assault charges to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw. (Click here to view LVMPD report listing Officer Theil as one of two officers assigned to guard door to Paddock’s suite.)

Personally, I think if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. The pretty much have nothing to lose at that point. Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is about the best way to do that.

Basically, there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

That standoff took place at Corn Creek Canyon, a camping/hiking area about 23 miles outside of Las Vegas. Officer Theil lives in the suburb of North Las Vegas and the NLV police were initially conducting the standoff until it was determined he was an LVMPD officer and Metro took over. Beginning late Wednesday night, the “barricade situation” continued until early Thursday morning. Theil was described as being armed and suicidal.

Not many other details have been released about the standoff at this point. However, it was confirmed that Officer Theil was (of course) taken into custody without injury. He was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. From there he will be transferred to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC).

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.

Not very many details have been released regarding the charges he was indicted on earlier in the day, either. It was reported that he was facing charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. The victim of those crimes, which took place over the span of several years, was also a family member. In addition, local media has reported that the victim had been receiving unspecified threats via email after Theil was notified of the impending indictment.

Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was arrested during SWAT standoff on charges of sexually assaulting a child

SWAT standoff with LVMPD Officer Bret Theil

Currently, he faces six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

The charges were filed by North Las Vegas police and include felony charges that carry the possibility of life sentences if he is convicted. Of course, the fact he is a cop means he will likely receive a very generous plea bargain offer. He’s probably more likely to receive probation than a long prison sentence. (As always, I’ll be following the case and providing updates.)

Metro Officer Involved in Domestic Disturbance

As indicated by the title of this post, Officer Theil apparently wasn’t the only cop to engage in an armed standoff within the past week. On Super Bowl Sunday, there was another incident in which a “suicidal man armed with multiple guns” barricaded himself in his house and also had to be coaxed out by a SWAT team. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that he also was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. There was no indication of what (or if) he would be charged with criminally.

Neither the LVMPD nor local media have officially identified the man involved yet. However, sources have stated that he is Metro Officer Jeffery M. Arrigo. Those sources also said that this standoff was the result of a domestic disturbance. Not surprisingly, given the high percentage of domestic violence among police (and the cover ups involved), Officer Arrigo already has a previous history of domestic abuse. In September of 2015, he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

Other Recent Incidents

It’s been a busy past couple of months for Las Vegas police officers involving sexual crimes and crimes against women:

And that’s just since the beginning of this year.

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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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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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Kirstin Blaise Lobato Freed After 15 Years in Prison for Las Vegas Murder Prosecutors Knew She Couldn’t Have Committed

Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned Kirstin Blaise Lobato

In spite of evidence of her innocence, the Clark County DA’s Office did everything they could to prevent Kirstin Blaise Lobato from being freed after over 15 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit.

After spending her entire adult life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, a Las Vegas woman has finally been released. Kristin Blaise Lobato spent over 15 years behind bars in spite of evidence that she was over 150 miles away at the time the killing took place. However, she was finally able to walk out of the Clark County Detention Center a free woman for the first time since she was 18 years old on January 3rd.

Meanwhile, even after a judge had declared her innocent and ordered her release, prosecutors with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office refused to acknowledge the improprieties carried out during her trial(s). In fact, they even briefly had plans to force her to spend another year in the county jail for having been caught having sex with another inmate during the time that she was wrongfully imprisoned.

Fortunately, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez also dismissed that case, instead ruling that the time she had already spent in prison for a crime she didn’t commit was sufficient punishment for that as well and giving her credit for time served. Judge Gonzalez then ordered that Lobato be released from custody immediately.

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.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo have attempted to justify their efforts to keep an innocent woman in prison by contending that the fact she was found guilty at trial by two juries means she is. However, the case against Lobato was very much flawed from the start and those verdicts were more a product of what was kept from the juries than the strength of the evidence actually presented to them.

Kirstin Blaise Lobato Released From Prison

There was virtually no physical evidence tying Lobato to the murder of Duran Bailey, a homeless man who was found beaten to death and castrated in a Downtown Las Vegas dumpster in 2001. The only real justification for her to even be a suspect was a story that she told to several people that she had fended off a rape attempt by cutting her attacker’s penis with a knife.

She had told that story weeks prior to the murder, though, and had identified the location where that incident happened as a different area of town. In spite of that, police investigators characterized her description of stabbing a man attempting to sexually assault her in the groin during an interrogation as a confession of Bailey’s murder.

More importantly, Lobato was positively verified to have been at her parents’ house in Panaca, Nevada, nearly 200 miles from Las Vegas on July 8, when Bailey was murdered. Based on that and other inconsistencies in the physical evidence, experts brought in by her defense attorneys testified that it would have been impossible for her to have carried out the murder.

However, that testimony was suppressed by Judge Valorie Vega during the original trial. Meanwhile, the prosecution was allowed to present a expert witnesses that made the ridiculous claim that flies in Las Vegas act completely different than flies anywhere else in the world do.

In addition, the district attorney’s office actively fought to prevent additional DNA testing on the physical evidence recovered at the scene, even after the Innocence Project offered to pay any costs involved. All previous DNA testing had excluded Lobato and, due to the violent method of Bailey’s death, it’s unlikely the person who murdered him could have done so without leaving their own DNA behind (such evidence from an unknown source was in fact found).

Of course, if Lobato was guilty those tests would more than likely definitively prove she was present at the crime scene. So realistically the district attorneys should have had their own incentive to cooperate with the DNA tests.

Regardless of that, Judge Vega ruled against allowing the testing. Shortly after, Vega chose not to run for reelection following an (unrelated) official reprimand against her by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. In what’s probably not a coincidence, almost exactly three years after Judge Vega left the bench Kristin Blaise Lobato walked out of the front door of the Clark County Detention Center.

Background on the Case and False Convictions

Not Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and his underlings at the DA’s office have gone to great lengths to keep someone who was obviously innocent in prison. Not too long ago, I reported on the case of Demarlo Berry, who was falsely convicted of murder based on testimony from a witness that was coached and paid off by detectives from the LVMPD.

Not only were the prosecutors in the case complicit in manufacturing evidence against Berry, they also delayed his release for four years after that witness recanted his testimony and the real murderer had confessed. Then, once they finally realized that they couldn’t prevent his release, they portrayed it as if they were responsible for freeing him.

In another case, Fred Steese was issued a pardon last month in order to clear his record of a murder he was falsely convicted of and spent twenty-one years in prison for after he was beaten and coerced into confessing. Prosecutors also hid evidence that definitively proved he was in another state at the time and photo lineup results that pointed to his innocence.

Instead of releasing him after he was declared “actually innocent” by a judge, they threatened to refile the charges and drag out the process coercing Steese into accepting a plea deal for second degree murder to ensure he wouldn’t have to stay in prison for years while fighting those new charges.

Numerous other convictions in Clark County have been overturned recently, including several death penalty cases, due to racial discrimination by prosecutors during jury selection. Obviously, for Wolfson and his prosecutors the important issue isn’t guilt or innocence, but rather simply whether they can get a conviction, even if it they know it’s a false conviction.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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