Tag Archives: More Cops Tax

Former Las Vegas County Commissioner Tom Collins Arrested for DUI

Tom Collins, who recently resigned as a Clark County Commissioner, was arrested on for DUI on December 12th. Reportedly, he was involved in an accident in which someone in another car was injured. Prior to being arrested, Collins apparently spent the evening getting liquored up at the National Finals Rodeo, which is held annually at the Thomas and Mack Center on the UNLV campus.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Metro’s dispatch and booking logs show that Collins, whose legal name is Clarence Weldon Collins Jr., was involved in a car crash with injury about 7:02 p.m. Friday near Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. More information on the wreck was not immediately available Saturday.

Collins was booked at 7:50 p.m. and faces charges of driving under the influence and being above the legal limit, logs show.

About two hours before the crash, Collins tweeted a photo of UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center featuring the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo sign. Along with the photo, he asks “Are you on your way?”

Another tweet from Collins’ account shows that he was at the WNFR with his mother on Thursday.

Thomas and Mack is about a mile and a half from the location of the car crash.

Commissioner Tom Collins Arrested DUIThis isn’t exactly surprising to residents of Las Vegas, since Collins has been unofficially and less than affectionately known as the “Town Drunk” by many during his time as a county commissioner. Stories of his drunken exploits are pretty common and there’s even been speculation about whether he was drinking during commission meetings. Nor is this his first rodeo. (You saw what I did there.) In 1991 he was involved in a felony drunk driving incident in which he and two other passengers in his truck were injured.

Most famously, in July of 2012 Collins “was mad at his tree so he took his firearm out of the truck and began to shoot at the tree and a post in his backyard.” In spite of noticing open whiskey and beer bottles on the ground and inside his truck, which was parked nearby and running, (and the ridiculousness of that statement) police officers responding to his neighbors’ complaints of gunshots didn’t arrest him for using a gun while drunk (which is a felony in Nevada), for a DUI, or even for discharging a gun recklessly. They just took his guns away and left, without even giving him a sobriety test. In fact, the minor charges he faced after the incident were ultimately dismissed altogether.

So the one thing that is somewhat surprising is that he was actually arrested this time, however the fact that there was an injury involved probably forced Metro’s hand. Given Collins’ long history of supporting the LVMPD and benefiting from special treatment from them, there’s somewhat of a chicken and egg argument about who is repaying whom.

He voted to overturn the reforms to the flawed Coroner’s Inquest process for reviewing police shootings which were prompted by the murder of Erik Scott in 2010. Instead, an even more flawed process was put into place after lawsuits by the LVMPD and police union opposing the reforms were defeated.

In addition, Collins was the biggest proponent of the “More Cops” tax, that sought to raise local sales taxes to fund hiring additional cops for the already overpaid and mismanaged Las Vegas area police departments. Collins literally refused to listen to the citizens of Clark County, constantly bringing the proposal back after it was repeatedly defeated over the course of nine months in 2013/14.

Collins was criticized heavily after making remarks to a Utah politician that could be classified as indirect threats that people coming from out of state during the Bundy Ranch standoff would be killed by BLM agents. He also made waves recently when recordings of phone calls were released of him talking badly about other commissioners. In addition, there’s been speculation that his resignation from the county commission was in part due to yet another scandal involving “inappropriate” emails he sent to county staff members.

On a lighter side, one of the most interesting revelations brought about by his arrest is the fact that his actual legal name is Clarence. The fact that he is known for being an alcoholic and is named after a famous drink has always been a running joke. Knowing that he chose to name himself that takes it to a new level.

Maybe Las Vegas Needs a Riot (Via Submission)

This post was submitted by Ballentine of the Sunset Activist Collective, via the CopBlock.org Submissions page. Ballentine was also a member of the “Sunset Four,” a group of Las Vegas activists who were arrested in August of 2013 for protesting against police brutality and other crimes by the police.

After multiple attempts, law enforcement in Southern Nevada succeeded in forcing the Clark County Commission to pass a sales tax measure to fund the hiring of more police officers. The vote itself was a forgone conclusion, which many people who spoke at the hearing eluded to. Only Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani voted against passage and for the wrong reasons, that she was against sales taxes not the police. I fault her as well for not standing up to the police.

Prior to the hearing several people involved in organizing against this tax proposal were followed on twitter by law enforcement with the Southern Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force. Opponents to the new tax included people across a broad spectrum of beliefs and all were ignored. Former Sheriff Bill Young, who now heads security at Station Casinos, even invoked the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to pressure commissioners to pass this bill. The Latin American Chamber of Congress echoed this false belief stating that “we are one incident away from disaster on the strip.” (Kinda like the incident where LVMPD officers choked and beat two innocent people that had just broken up a fight during News Years. – Editor)

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

The truth is that, according to the US Government, you are eight times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than in the War on Terror. People in Nevada have good reason to fear the police. Local law enforcement serves corporations, not the public, and this was clear by the corporate representation that was present at today’s hearing. Wynn resorts, the AFL-CIO, Caesars Entertainment and NV Energy to name just a few. Even Mcmullin’s Pub came in to support this robbery.

Las Vegas police stand guard outside the Harrah's hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 21, 2006. As officer Norman Jahn recalls, police arrested the suspected gunman without firing a shot.Law enforcement likes to pretend they are outgunned at major events, but the reality is that businesses are already forced to pay for police officer security when their events have more than 100 people in attendance. The justification for this tax was fear. From Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick suggesting the tiny hamlet of Mesquite has a gang problem, to union reps claiming that the situation on the Strip is “out of control” fear was used to sell this.

For all his sweet talking of law enforcement, we need to remember that Former Sheriff Gillespie had a secret meeting to dig up dirt on Chairman Steve Sisolak that they could use to blackmail him into complying with this vote after the last time it failed. I have to wonder what they discovered about him.

William Mosher LVMPD Erik ScottI’m also irked that even more of my money will go to pay for the murder of unarmed people of color, which the commission in opting not to address the issue of the police never being put on trial has given approval to a culture where black lives don’t matter. Commissioner Lawrence Weekly went so far as to admit “there are probably people in jail who don’t belong there, that belong in the hospital.” By acknowledging such an issue, but then approving the money to increase the likelihood that this will continue, he is in league with the police state.

It’s concerning that people still think elections will do anything meaningful. “Go vote” law enforcement will tell you, but for who exactly? Not one person sitting on that commission had the right idea and they should be ashamed of their actions.

After I spoke several people came to me and thanked me for my comments. As a retired teacher I know that local government holds these hearings during the day to make it so working people can’t comment. As a victim of police brutality, I am saddened that the body count of Nevada law enforcement will continue to climb. If local government is so cowardly and likes to use fear as a tactic then I say maybe we should speak their language. Maybe Las Vegas needs a riot.

Derek Colling LVMPDMaybe people should boycott Clark County businesses. I don’t know about you, but having a police state doesn’t make me feel safer it makes me want to stay away from that city. If I’m given the choice of a vacation without police harassment or with lots of it, I’m picking without.

I urge anyone who owns a business to deny free services or any service for law enforcement. Stop coddling these overpaid murderers. We need to stand up to them and not allow law enforcement to threaten attacks or reduction in services that the figures show they have ample money and manpower to address. I really have to wonder where the hypocrisy stops, I feel we are heading toward a confrontation based on corporate supported racist police forces and that any “incident” that occurs will be the direct result of ignoring the issue of out of control law enforcement.

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Oppose the Return of the More Cops Tax to Las Vegas: Tuesday Sept. 1st

lvmpd_badge1Last year, former Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s continuous attempts at a “More Cops Tax” failed to pass in the County Commission, after dozens upon dozens of citizens commented in person against the proposed tax hike, and hundreds of signatures against it were submitted to the commission. Shortly after, Gillespie announced his decision to not run for re-election, and recently, the big pusher on the commission during the last attempt, Tom Collins, resigned. Even current Sheriff Joe Lombardo and the Police Protective Union were against the More Cops Tax. Well, now it’s back, as a proposal to increase the county sales tax rate by .05 percent.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the local scale of the police brutality issue, we are not spared and have still not seen ONE Metro cop arrested or jailed for any murder, no more than one ever fired. Just a couple weeks ago, this hit really close to home for me when a friend of a friend, Abel Correa, was killed by Metro police, apparently for holding a screwdriver a few feet away from them in a closet he was cornered in. The body cam footage shows how their statement that he “lunged at them” was another exaggeration and surely their latest tally in forever getting away with murder. Another man was killed just this weekend.

More Cops Tax Form

If you’re unable to attend the county commissioners’ meeting in person you can still use this online form to make sure your voice is heard. Click the image above to go here: http://www.snwatchdog.org/more-cops-tax-form/

We have not seen some drastic rise in crime and even though Sheriff Gillespie last year took the dramatic reactionary gesture of stopping police from responding to fender-benders, they still show up in 4s and 6s to detain pedestrians and arrest people for traffic violations. And of course, no need to even mention the overt intimidation tactics used by Metro on opponents of the tax as a whole following last year’s commission battle… but you can look back through my 2014 blog if you’d like a taste.

There are many reasons to oppose the tax, and following are some clips of last year’s dissenting comments, then recent quotes from people opposing the new incarnation as well. You can submit your comments using this form if you can’t make it to the public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday September 1st, 2015, in the Commission Chambers the Clark County Government Center (500 S. Grand Central Parkway) at 10am. Let’s make it another filled-room record number turnout!

(Facebook event page)

More Cops Tax 1 Highlights:

Reasons people are against the current More Cops Tax:

“Because my household is taxed 39% of our income, then we are taxed on sales, then taxed when we leave money to our children! That’s triple taxation and under our constitution, there’s to be no double taxation! Thirdly, we have enough law enforcement in this city.” -Rachel Kline

“The People have not been shown a forensic audit that was requested as far back as 2013. We need to be able to assess if there have been any significant changes made to reel in this huge budget that has had much waste in the past. The liability insurance alone has gone up so high, so we need to see if there has been any special training implemented to change that direction. The forensic audit would help Sheriff Lombardo as well as he also could see where the weak areas are. The forensic audit is a win, win.” -Liberty Shirl

“Las Vegas has a higher per capita ratio of cops to citizens than Chicago or LA. We have enough cops. Their time is being grossly mismanaged. Money is being wasted at an alarming rate. Metro has an undercover fleet that would make NY jealous and is unnecessary. SWAT units that could be its own army. It’s insane. The spending is out of control. We don’t need more cops or more taxes. We need responsible representatives, not millionaire cops and legislators.

(Also) how much money is spent on payouts against metro for unlawful actions….and administrative leave pay. That needs to end before more tax money is taken from citizens.” -Karen Steelmon

Sheriff Gillespie 2.0, Sheriff Lombardo“More $ for police means they will continue the militarization against private citizens, with military assault vehicles, weapons, and attitudes. The people are not the enemy. Fix the system that allows discriminatory practices, like Driving While Black, Shoot to Kill, MMJ patients are Criminals.” -Diane Kuroda

“More Cops Tax is fiscally irresponsible money management. In a quick survey on the average police pay around the country, we find police in Nevada are the highest paid police force, and Clark County being the highest paid in the state. I found that in Arizona, our neighbor to the south, the average starting pay for a police officer is roughly $15,000 a year less than the average starting pay in the entire state of Nevada, and an additional $15,000 more if compared to just Clark County.Our neighbor to the north, Utah, has an average starting pay for police at $56,000 a year, give or take a few hundred dollars. This is roughly $34,000 a year less than the officers in Clark County. The difference in pay is the average starting pay for a teacher in Clark County.

In California, the average pay for a police officer starting out is roughly $59,000 a year. The average pay for a police officer at LVMPD is $89,000 a year. Roughly $30,000 more a year than a state that has 3 of the largest cities in the Nation. Again, the difference in pay is the average starting pay for a teacher in Clark County.

Las Vegas is ranked 29th in in the nation for city size and population, but has a police force ranked 7th largest in the entire country! Our police force is ranked #1 for highest paid police force in the United States. We should not have one of the largest police forces, with the highest pay in the entire United States with a population of tax payers not even making the top ten! It’s greed. It’s misappropriation of funds. It’s malfeasance! It’s falsely thinking the job of a police officer is more important than the job of a teacher! With our school system ranking 50th in the Nation, our administration has the gall to ask AGAIN for an increase of pay for police, but ignores the obvious shortfall in education. We are sick of it!

We have shortages in every industry BUT police. It’s about time we stop giving all our funds and tax dollars to fund an over paid police force, and start funding for our future by hiring teachers, do something about the homeless population besides brutalize them with the use of police force. Do something about the water shortage. Do something about the energy shortage, but seriously, stop trying to increase the police force, their pay or their benefits.

Every police officer hired is directly responsible for lacking one teacher. That’s big because we have a severe lack of teachers and education funding.

They are over paid, underworked, overly aggressive and over privileged! I urge our elected officials to stand with the people who elected them and vote no again on the New Cops Tax until education is fixed!” -Becca Martin

Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial against the More Cops Tax:

“But this scaled-back, countywide sales tax increase to boost police budgets isn’t worthy of approval because it has the same flaw as its predecessors: It burdens taxpayers to bail out fiscally unsustainable local governments that have no interest in making hard decisions and prioritizing their spending.

… We already have the best-paid local government workforce in America (including Metro officers), and that comes at a cost. And don’t get us started on the city of Henderson, which just increased recreation fees, provided its police with a 2.5 percent raise that will cost about $1.2 million per year going forward and has too many institutional problems to list here. Henderson doesn’t need more police or more tax money, yet it’s about to get both.

Police funding is not a crisis in Southern Nevada. The money is there. The More Cops tax means more of the same for every local government in the county. We can’t afford that.”

The new tax hike is just as needless as it was in 2013-14, so here is a compilation of links and videos prepared for last year’s fight as well:

Videos and articles to get you ready for the “More Cops Tax” hearing

Here was a compilation of police brutality prepared just before the last tax hike attempt and another created this year:

More related links:

Clark County Budget:

Special thanks to:

Southern Nevada Watchdogs

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Las Vegas, NV Police (and Security/BLM) Brutality Video Compilation #2 (Update)

0This is an update (sequel?) to a previous police brutality compilation video that Jason Nellis submitted to CopBlock.org (by way of Nevada Cop Block) about a year ago. This version is almost twice as long (because the hits just keep coming) and also includes some incidents involving Las Vegas area security, as well as local actions by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who are employed by the Federal Government.

In the description to the video, on YouTube, Jason writes (links added):

(This is) A 2nd video compiling clips of excessive force and sometimes killing by law enforcement and security in and around Las Vegas. Mostly Metro (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) but also multiple abuses by hotel security guards, especially on Fremont Street downtown, and by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) outside of the city.

 

Last year I made the first part (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgg3C…) in “preparation” for the More Cops Tax vote at the County Commission, which was defeated. That was attempted to be brought back in the past couple months by the new Sheriff (former Sheriff Doug Gillespie announced he wouldn’t run for reelection after the loss), but now it appears indefinitely detained. We need to keep an eye out for that to be brought back though and I’ll update this as we get word.

 

And over the past year such huge national attention has been brought to police brutality and people in general are recording the police more than ever, consistently, and law enforcement agencies across the country are taking notice, and some are even taking responsible steps in the right direction. We keep this up and they’ll remember we the people are who they have to answer to. The problem is still rampant and out here there appears to be a growing problem in our recently revitalized and hyped-up yet gentrified Fremont East district of the Downtown corridor; awareness and pressure are the keys right now against tyranny, and social media is the primary avenue.

 

A recent Facebook (page) to keep track of all the officer-involved shootings in Nevada (why not make a page for your state?): http://facebook.com/ShotByPoliceNV/

 

Keep updated on police abuses and keeping police and the local government accountable at:
http://www.nvcopblock.org

http://www.snwatchdog.org
and more, website submissions welcome. Remain vigilant.

 

Clip sources (all from the past two years):
Police using excesive force on defenseless african american girl (Aug 19, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EZc0…

 

Police put man in chokehold (April 6, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1Vn9…

 

Security from Insert Coins (Fremont Street, Las Vegas) Attack a Man Dancing on the Sidewalk (Feb. 12, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkb53…

 

Cop Sexually Assaults Woman Then Arrests Her & Judge Turns Her Back (July 3, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtRxZ…

 

Las Vegas Police assaulting rapper for NO REASON (March 31, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SBD3…

 

I-Team: Man claims police overreacted, used ‘choke hold’ – 8 News Now (Jan. 29, 2015): http://www.8newsnow.com/ story/ 27977459/ i-team-man-claims-police-overreacted-use­d-choke-hold

 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Beat a Man Because He Didn’t Move Fast Enough (Aug. 8, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfs3Y…

 

Protesters Fight Police Security On Fremont Street (Dec. 17, 2014- I was there to see the arrests afterward, happened to be on a movie shoot right there): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ntUE…

 

Last moments of man killed by police at Red Rock (Feb. 14, 2014… just before we held a Constitutional protest): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qArk6…

 

Ranch Riot!! Bundy Ranch Protesters Tasered by Federal Agents and Attacked by K9’s (Apr. 9, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhJ6H…

Watch the video below:

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Kelly W. Patterson of NVCopBlock On Non Partisan Liberty For All

Beware of Local Gang Members in the Las Vegas Area

Beware of Local Gang Members in the Las Vegas Area

Recently, I did an interview for an internet radio show on Block Talk Radio. The show is entitled “Non Partisan Liberty for All” and is hosted by Dave Bourne. While it can be heard everywhere (except most of China and sometimes parts of San Francisco) via the internets, it is based locally here in Las Vegas.

The main reason I came on was to discuss the article I had just posted about the suspicious events surrounding the hit and run incident I was involved in back in March and the chances that it was an intentional act committed in retaliation for my opposition to and exposure of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Department”s corruption and other crimes, including the murder of Stanley Gibson by Jesus Arevalo and complete lack of accountability for abuses committed against other local residents. In the process, we discussed my own history and how I originally got involved in activism.

Among other things, I spoke about how I evolved from someone who believed in the basic philosophy of Anarchism, but didn’t think of it as a viable, real world possibility into someone that believes in and advocates for an Anarchist society. I also discussed my personal history with the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe and Charles (RadGeek) Johnson, my initial meetings with Cop Block founders Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman and how the harassment of homeless people  and peaceful activists that I witnessed while working with Food Not Bombs Las Vegas helped to shape my anti-police brutality based activism and ultimately the founding of Nevada Cop Block.

Scott Crow will be in Vegas Monday, May 19th

Scott Crow Will be in Las Vegas Again Monday, May 19th from 6-8pm at Reclaimed Art Suppliez

Another reason I came on was to announce Scott Crow‘s upcoming talk on Monday, May 19th, from 6 to 8 PM at Reclaimed Art Suppliez, which is located in Downtown Las Vegas, within the Arts district. Scott Crow, author of “Black Flags and Windmills” and one of the founders of the Common Ground Collective, is an excellent speaker and Anarchist organizer. His talk, entitled “What Me Worry? The Rise of the Surveillance State & What We Can Do About It” promises to be excellent and very relevant to Las Vegas activists.

Although Dave has only been doing this show for about a month (as of mid-May 2014), it’s a good show and he’s a great host. I’m looking forward to doing future appearances with the show and very much encourage Cop Block fans and others interested in liberty and freedom to tune in. In fact, you never know when other awesome Cop Block contributors, such as MO/KC Cop Block‘s (and Women of Cop Block, too) Janel Florez might put in an appearance or when Deo from Greater Cleveland Cop Block might call in to talk about awesome videos the  crew out there in Ohio have made.

And before you go, don’t forget to head over to the NVCopBlock shop to get your Official Cop Block Press Pass and/or a Nevada Cop Block T-Shirt. In fact, in honor of the Cop Block Press Passes Facebook Page going over 1,000 “likes” a couple days ago, anything in the Nevada Cop Block shop is 10% off until May 22nd (2014) if you use coupon code “1kLikes” in the cart.

Listen to NVCopBlock.org’s Own Kelly W. Patterson on “Non Partisan Liberty For All”

Listen To Politics Internet Radio Stations with Non Partisan Liberty For all on BlogTalkRadio

Did Las Vegas Police Retaliate Against Nevada Cop Block for Local Activism?

Kelly W. Patterson. NVCopBlock.org editor and local activist, shortly after a hit and run "accident."

Kelly W. Patterson. NVCopBlock.org editor and longtime local activist, shortly after a hit and run “accident.”

A Week of Oddly-Timed “Coincidences”

Two months ago, on March 5th, I was struck by a hit and run driver while walking in downtown Las Vegas. Anybody that’s familiar with Las Vegas traffic knows that in itself isn’t exactly an unusual event. However, a string of incredibly oddly timed and interconnected events surrounding my own incident, including another local activist being hit by a car the previous day, have made many within the local activist community wonder if there wasn’t more to it than just a random car “accident.” In fact, some have even classified it as an assassination attempt by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Personally, I’m putting this out there because I feel that it’s important that people know about it and that there be a public record of it. Because of my injuries, which included a broken back, and the medication that I was taking for those injuries, it did take me a while to get this written, but once again, I think it is important to get this on the record. Not unlike other issues involving Cop Block related activities, when those activities make you a target, visibility and transparency are important not just to ensure accountability but to provide protection for those involved. I really don’t want to see any other “coincidences” happen to any of my friends or other activists within the Las Vegas area and making it public makes it difficult for it to happen again without people connecting the dots.

This account is rather long, but I don’t think I could have condensed it much more and still shown all the various connections and commonalities between the incidents of the week in question and the past two years that establish the possible motives and “likely suspects.” To make things a a little easier to follow, I did create a timeline that lays out most of those connections in a visual manner, which you can find a thumbnail to below.

A Timeline of Events Surrounding the Week of Oddly Timed “Coincidences”

Click for a larger, more readable version

Click for a larger, more readable version

That week actually consisted of four separate incidents involving members or associates of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective (a local activist group that several members of NV Cop Block also belong to). All four of those involved members with ties to anti-police brutality activism, in general, and protests using chalk, in particular. That detail is fairly significant because last August the LVMPD dedicated an entire task force and two months of their time to investigate, charge, and arrest four people (the “Sunset 4“), including myself, for conducting chalk protests relating to police killings in the Las Vegas area and the lack of accountability for questionable shootings or even several that amount to outright murder.

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY "punishment" is paid leave.

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY “punishment” is paid leave.

The first of these incidents, on March 4th, 2014, was when one of the “Sunset 4” arrestees was stopped by Metro police for the rather arbitrary reasoning of supposedly following the car in front of her too closely. To further complicate this incident, just prior to the stop, she had dropped off Ballentine, who had also been among those of us arrested in August of 2013, prior to being stopped.

During the stop, the cops brought up the fact that she had been arrested for chalking and questioned her about her involvement in protesting. At the time, it was considered harassing, but because it was the first incident, it was assumed that they had just noticed the arrest on her record and wasn’t widely believed to be a targeted act.

Later that same evening, the second incident took place, this time involving local activist Jen Harney, who had organized a widely publicized protest shortly after the chalking arrests. Similar to my own incident, while crossing the street downtown she was hit by a car. Later, it was determined that the person driving the car she was hit by was not only an ex-cop, but that he currently works for a company that sells weapons and equipment to police departments.

The very next night, on March 5th, I was walking to the bank down Charleston near Las Vegas Blvd. As I (legally) crossed 8th street, a car made a right turn off of Charleston, ran into me, and kept going. During the collision, I suffered a concussion, and as is often the case in accidents, I don’t remember much beyond the initial point where I saw the car was going to hit me. However, I do have some hazy memories of afterwards and I’m pretty certain that the car didn’t make any effort to stop at all.

Finally, the last incident happened two days later on March 7th, 2014, during a “First Friday” art festival, which is held every month in downtown Las Vegas. Once again, this involved Jen, who was holding the official grand opening for a gallery and art supply store she owns. Late in the evening, a group of uniformed LVMPD officers came to the store.

While there, they displayed no actual interest in shopping, but instead stood together outside looking through the window. Soon after, they approached the doorway and again just stood watching as Jen’s partner, who is not particularly involved in activism, spoke to some customers. She asked them if there was anything she could help them with and subsequently asked them if they would like her to give them a tour of the gallery. They refused both those requests and continued for some time behaving in a way that made her feel very “freaked out” and intimidated, in general.

The Connections

Metro Doesn't Like When people Bring Attention to All Those Murders

Metro Doesn’t Like When People Bring Attention to All Those Murders

As previously stated, taken separately none these incidents are particularly unusual in Las Vegas. Even those clearly involving intimidation and harassment are pretty standard behavior for Las Vegas area police departments. While it gets a little more suspicious, even the two incidents involving people being run down by cars within less than 24 hours could conceivably just be wild coincidences. However, taken as a whole and factoring in all the common connections paints these as a rather unlikely and most oddly timed set of “coincidences.”

First of all, as has already been pointed out, all four of the incidents involved someone with both a connection to anti-police brutality protests and the previous chalking arrests. Secondly, three of those four incidents involved obvious, direct, and provable connections to the police and even to the LVMPD. The lone exception to that is the hit and run against me, in which the driver has not been identified. Thirdly, the limited time frame itself casts suspicion on the randomness of these events. All four of these incidents happened within a 96 hour period and three of the four took place within 24 hours of each other.

Expanding beyond that, there are even more common connections than those simple, obvious ones. On February 14th, 2014 officers from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) abused and subsequently murdered a man after cyclists called 911 to report that he was attempting to flag people down and appeared to be in need of assistance by Red Rock Canyon, just north of Las Vegas, and instead of offering that assistance they sent police to arrest him. In response, members of Nevada Cop Block conducted a protest involving chalking at the headquarters of the Nevada Highway Patrol, which had also had an employee present at the shooting, a few days later.

This particular protest took place roughly two weeks prior to the beginning of the four incidents. In addition, an undercover police officer in an unmarked vehicle was parked across from the NHP headquarters when those taking apart arrived, even though it hadn’t been announced publicly until about thirty minutes before it was scheduled to take place. This clearly shows that the police are still closely monitoring (the justification for those earlier illegal arrests involved surveillance by the LVMPD, both online and in person, which was detailed in the arrest reports) the activities of NVCB and the Sunset Activist Collective.

Yet another “coincidence” is that these incidents all took place during the week prior to the second Saturday of the month. This is significant because “Second Saturdays” are the days on which the regular monthly anti-police brutality protests that lead to the arrests for writing things the cops didn’t like with chalk are typically held. And a protest at the headquarters of the BLM was in fact scheduled for that day, although it was postponed by one day (see below) due to the four incidents that week.

The Motives and Previous Examples of Retaliation

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

There are no shortage of clear motives for Las Vegas police to go after members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective. Members, both individually and as a group, have a long history of being very active within local grassroots organizations. This has often involved acts of civil disobedience and many times has involved direct criticism of the police and their historical lack of accountability. After the murder of Stanley Gibson in December of 2011, a regular, sustained pattern of such protests began.

Metro showed their willingness to engage in retaliation and intimidation against those who would dare to criticize them and their policies by engaging in a targeted and concerted effort to justify arresting us on trumped up charges. Not only did they attempt to characterize drawing with chalk as a graffiti crime, but they also threw in the old standby for “stacking” charges of conspiring to commit the non-crime. In order to do so, they created an actual task force dedicated to investigating, charging, and arresting some people writing stuff with chalk. Also, as detailed in the police arrest reports, they engaged in surveillance of those they wished to arrest. This included monitoring of online and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc), as well as actual, physical surveillance.

Additionally, even the bogus graffiti charges only allowed for a citation to be issued, which the city had already refused to prosecute, unless the “damage” caused amounted to more than $250. So, in order to arrest the “Sunset 4” they had to convince the county District Attorney to actually prosecute it and they had to inflate the clean-up costs for something that throwing a little water on would remove. All of that (once again) was for some people writing stuff with chalk on sidewalks.

Not surprisingly, there was a rather large uproar within the community once the ridiculousness of the charges and the outrageous $1550 clean up bill was made public. This led to the charges being dropped shortly after and was yet another in a long string of embarrassing incidents that would eventually lead to Clark County Sheriff Gillespie announcing that he would not be running for office again in the upcoming election. The story also got picked up by the AP and received national press coverage, which had the inverse effect of shining a bright light on all the questionable killings and complete lack of accountability toward them that we had been protesting in the first place and which they were trying to intimidate us into not bringing attention to.

Political Prisoners

Political Prisoners

Those arrests were, of course, not the first time Metro has abused their authority or retaliated against someone. In a pretty well publicized incident, they came to the house of the widow of a man they murdered and held her brother hostage until she agreed to allow them to search that house in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find a weapon or some other incriminating evidence to justify their killing of him. Another well known case involves a woman who was arrested while appearing in Family Court after she reported having been sexually assaulted by one of the marshals working at the court. Similarly, a Las Vegas Constable was recently placed under investigation for stalking and sexually harassing a woman and then shooting her dog when she refused his advances. In yet another case, the lawyer for a group of bikers involved in a harassment lawsuit against Metro was himself arrested.

The LVMPD doesn’t limit themselves to retaliating against and harassing everyday citizens, either. It was recently reported by a former Metro captain that the top brass within the LVMPD held an internal meeting to coordinate an effort to dig up dirt on Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak. The reason that they wanted to do so was in order to discredit him after he opposed a proposal to raise Las Vegas area sales taxes to finance the hiring of additional cops (more on that later).

Why Would They Come After Me Specifically?

PointingAtGillespieYT

Pointing at Gillespie

This is something that people not familiar with local police issues and the people involved in those issues might ask. One of the more obvious reasons why I would be chosen is a simple matter of convenience. I’m pretty well known around town for being an avid bike rider and prior to being injured I rode on the average about three hundred miles a week between commuting and recreational group rides. So, if you were going to pick someone to target with a car “accident,” picking the guy who’s on a bike in traffic at least two or three hours every day is a pretty easy choice to make.

However, anyone familiar with Nevada Cop Block‘s and my own actions over the past two years probably already has a pretty good idea of the deeper reasons. I founded NVCopBlock.org shortly after Officer Jesus Arevalo, who was at that time an employee of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department, murdered (on video) a friend of mine from high school, named Stanley Gibson, on December 12, 2011. While I had been involved for quite a while in activism and anti-governmental abuse issues locally and informally with Cop Block on a national level, this unnecessary, and in my opinion intentional, killing of an innocent, unarmed person that I actually knew made things personal for me.

During the arrest that has already been discussed there were several indicators that things soon became personal toward me for the cops, as well. Not only were several references made to Cop Block or “that Cop Block guy” by people during our booking, but I personally overheard a phone call (once again during booking) in which one of the members of the task force they created to arrest us stated “we got Kelly.” The fact that he mentioned me by name shows that there was some effort to target me personally. (I was actually rather pleased that they displayed such an awareness of Cop Block, since I think it’s important that they know we’re watching them and it showed that we were doing an effective job.)

At the same time, the LVMPD and their lobbyists within the Clark County government were busy undoing reforms that had been created to address the glaring lack of accountability that the much criticized Coroner’s Inquest process allowed. They were, in fact, working to replace those reforms with a new system for reviewing police fatalities that was even worse and less transparent than the original Coroner’s Inquests that had failed to hold even one single cop accountable for shooting someone, even when that person was unarmed and/or completely innocent in the entire history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments' Pathetic History of "Accountability"

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments’ Pathetic History of “Accountability”

Knowing that they intended to ensure Stanley Gibson would join Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, and Henry Rowe on the long list of people blatantly murdered by local police for which no accountability would be afforded or even pursued. I and others involved with Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective began staging demonstrations against the circumvention of the inquest reforms and police brutality, in general. This soon evolved into regularly scheduled protests held every “Second Saturday” of the month and came to include writing with chalk as a regular method of exposing police abuses and paying tribute to their victims.

This continued for about nine months before police first tried to intimidate us by issuing us citations for writing on sidewalks with chalk that is specifically sold for the purpose of writing on sidewalks. While those bogus tickets were never even filed, they set into motion the chain of events that led to the even more bogus arrests about two months later. That in turn led to even more embarrassment for Metro after public outrage at the ridiculousness of the charges and inflated clean up costs required to justify them led to those charges being quickly dropped.

MoreCopsFlyerShortly after that, Sheriff Gillespie announced amidst an almost constant barrage of scandals involving the LVMPD that he would no longer be seeking reelection for the next term, but that he would instead be putting his full efforts into passing the “More Cops” tax, which would increase the county sales taxes in order to fund the hiring of additional cops, and that getting it passed would be considered his legacy as sheriff.

Lines Out the Door Against "More Cops"

Lines Out the Door Against “More Cops”

I don’t normally get very involved in the formal political process because it usually amounts to nothing more than a waste of time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. However, partly because of my desire to connect with and support some very cool people and groups that had supported me while I was in jail and partly because it presented me with an opportunity to bring even more public attention to Metro’s abuses and personally confront those enabling and even encouraging it, such as Sheriff Gillespie and Las Vegas Police Union spokesman Chris Collins, I did become very involved in the fight against the More Cops tax.

Although they kept trying to bring it back hoping to outlast the opposition, ultimately Sheriff Gillespie’s “signature proposal” was defeated and in the process those that spoke out against it were able to bring a lot of attention to the waste and abuses within the LVMPD. Our “graffiti” arrests and the inflated clean up costs used to justify them, were often cited as examples of both those things. During the first time I spoke against the tax, a picture of me pointing at Sheriff Gillespie and calling his decision to refuse a recommendation to fire a cop that had shot an unarmed man because he thought his hat was a gun disgraceful was posted in the local paper as part of the coverage of the Commission’s vote against it.

Also by chance, during the public comments for the final vote a few months later, when the tax was ultimately defeated (until the next sheriff gets into office and brings it back), I actually ended up at the podium at the same time Chris Collins, head of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association – the police union – and was able to reference a previous comment he had made that all the money being wasted and all the people being wrongfully killed “had nothing to do” with the More Cops tax.

Conclusions

That'd be great Metro

That’d be great Metro

Those two instances of public defiance of the two biggest mob bosses in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, along with the ongoing protests and the public embarrassment caused by their previous attempts to bully us into stopping with citations and arrests, would by themselves be enough motive for someone to want to send a message to members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective and to want to personally retaliate and try to intimidate me. As was shown by their plan to discredit Clark County Commission Chairman Sisolak, the defeat of the tax increase that was so coveted was enough to make them want to strike back at those involved in opposing it.

Furthermore, their attempts to have us arrested and jailed for four years (contrary to the single year that was widely reported, we actually potentially faced one year for each of the four charges against us) for drawing on a side walk with something that would take a couple minutes to clean up with some water and a broom (and in fact didn’t need to be cleaned up unless someone didn’t want people reading the things written about them), shows their vindictiveness toward us.

Even with all of those reasons to potentially want to go after NVCopBlock in general and myself in particular, it might still seem a bit farfetched that they would actually try to assassinate me with a car. In fact, I hadn’t been on the look for that sort of tactic and wasn’t entirely convinced it was the case until after the “First Friday” incident, simply because it’s so incredibly easy for Las Vegas area police to get away with murder that I always figured if they wanted to come after us they would just shoot at us.

This Offer Still Stands

This Offer Still Stands

However, within the past few days a story surfaced in which a Muslim that the FBI was trying to pressure into becoming an informant actually recorded a federal agent warning him that he “might get hit by a car.” So it’s not exactly a foreign concept to them.

For decades, law enforcement agencies have employed “COINTELPRO” type programs to intimidate, falsely imprison, disrupt, and even kill activists and members of activist groups. On a federal level, the FBI used such tactics against MLK, Malcolm X, Jerry Rubin, Fred Hampton (who was drugged by a police informant and then murdered by Chicago police in his sleep), and even Albert Einstein, based primarily on their political activities and perceived threat to the power that those in authority at the time held. On a side note, while I don’t actually suspect that the Feds were involved in our incidents, someone self-identifying as a member of military intelligence did show up to our chalking actions at the Regional Injustice Center, one of the actions for which we were later arrested.

The “Aftermath” – AKA: Did It Work?

Not gonna Stop

Not Gonna Stop

If that question is taken literally, then it did almost work. As a result of the hit and run, I suffered a pretty severe concussion, a very badly bruised shoulder, and worst of all a compression fracture to my spine (which necessitated the ridiculously uncomfortable brace in the picture at the top of this article that I had to wear nonstop, including while sleeping, for an entire week). While I’m much better and at this point it’s just a matter of some residual pain, I am still recovering from that broken back two months later. I’m also quite certain that had I been hit even a fraction of a second earlier and been more to the center of the car, rather than toward the right corner, I probably would have been killed rather than injured.

However, since I wasn’t killed, the answer is an unequivocal no. If anything it makes me more determined to expose them for the criminals they truly are. Not only did they not intimidate me into stopping, the “Second Saturday” protest that we had scheduled to bring attention to D’Andre Berghardt Jr., the person the BLM murdered out by Red Rock Canyon in February, 2014, went on as planned with just a one day postponement to Sunday. Personally, I think that the fact they felt they needed to take me out just shows that what we’ve been doing is working and getting to them. Plus, I think we owe it to the people that have been murdered in the past without any justice or accountability to keep at it.

Although, both the arrests and the recent incidents have actually caused some of the people who originally came to our demonstrations to back off, the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments can count on the fact that I won’t be going away anytime soon and nothing they do will ever be enough to intimidate or scare me away from demanding true accountability from them.


Still chalking

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Front and Back Examples of Cop Block Press Passes

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Nevada Cop Block T-shirt

Nevada Cop Block T-shirt

In somewhat unrelated news, Nevada Cop Block recently had personalized Cop Block t-shirts created bearing the fancy new NVCopBlock logo, which is awesome (and I’m not just saying that because I’m the one that designed it). And of course, as always you can still order the Official Cop Block Press Passes via the Nevada Cop Block Site shop.

Additionally, the entire shop has been updated to accommodate the T-shirts and other new items that will be added soon. One of the new features is the ability to use Bitcoin and other “crypto” currencies within the shopping cart, if you’re into alternate currencies. (You can still donate directly to our Bitcoin wallet, also: 1JaQEAyPS71GW2JPPCMqMN53mTGMjVqctT).

Another really cool new feature with the new shop is that it has the option to sign up as an affiliate. What that means is that you can obtain a personalized referral link to share on your own website, Facebook, Twitter, or pretty much anywhere else you can post links. Whenever someone using that link purchases something on NVCopBlock.org, the person assigned to that link will receive 10% of any amount spent. So you can actually make a little money yourself by referring people.

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A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Police Brutality via Submission

Not once, in the entire 40 year history of the LVMPD, has a cop EVER been charged for killing someone, Even when that person was unarmed and or completely innocent.

Not once, in the entire 40 year history of the LVMPD, has a cop EVER been charged for killing someone, Even when that person was unarmed and or completely innocent.

The video at the bottom of this post, consisting of a compilation of various videos showing past instances of police brutality by members of the LVMPD, was submitted by Jason Nellis and uploaded to his YouTube channel in order to encourage Las Vegas residents to attend a January 21, 2014 Clark County Commission meeting, in which a vote will be held regarding Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s and Commissioner Tom Collins’ continued attempts to force through an increase in the county sales tax to hire even more cops. In the description for the video Jason writes:

“A video made especially to oppose the “More Cops Tax” being pushed at the County Commission, to be voted on by the Commission on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014. A compilation of clips, news headlines, and a personal account of police brutality and police shootings of innocent people. Please watch all the way through as, even if you still think more cops will keep us safer, you will see that this new tax won’t be all it’s cracked up to be.

Facebook event page for the “More Cops Tax” hearing: https://www.facebook.com/events/23882…

Community opposition page, with facts and figures: http://www.snwatchdog.org/images/more…
Southern Nevada Watchdogs: http://www.snwatchdog.org
Nevada Cop Block Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NVCopBlock.org
“More Cops Tax” related videos: http://jazoovian.wordpress.com/2014/0…
An article I recently wrote on Vegas cops: http://jazoovian.wordpress.com/2013/1…

Also, for one stranger’s backup to my story toward the end (I have found no videos, after lots of searching, unfortunately), here is a comment on a Las Vegas Sun story that made no mention of the events even though the reporter was supposedly there:

‘I was present downtown on friday night. I saw people being harassed VIOLENTLY by police without provocation. It honestly appeared as if a riot response was what they were attempting to incite from the peaceful but incredibly confused crowd. My friends & I were almost trampled by a horse as the officer astride it charged a man whom another officer told to put his bottle on the cruiser next to me. The city of Las Vegas is known THE WORLD over for being a city in which open container drinking is not only allowed but encouraged as a lynchpin of our economy. Now all of a sudden it’s a law thats ONLY enforced on locals. As I type this, I am standing next to 4 men with 3foot margaritas & a police officer. They are certainly not being treated as I was when I was simply moving down the sidewalk.'”

MoreCopsFlyerEveryone certainly should come to the “More Cops” tax hearing, but even if you don’t see this post until after the vote has already been held, this video is well worth watching to see just how corrupt, violent, and completely unaccountable for their actions Las Vegas area police are. Among the notable clips included within this video are the case of a group of innocent and non-violent tourists that were attacked by Metro cops after they (the tourists) actually broke up a fight during New Years on the Strip, a Henderson motorist; who was repeatedly kicked in the head after falling asleep while driving; as a result of low blood sugar from being diabetic, the murder of Gulf War vet Stanley Gibson; who was suffering PTSD induced panic attack and completely innocent; as well as unarmed; when he was shot by Ofc. Jesus Arevalo, the murder of another veteran; Erik Scott; outside a local Costco store; in which the store’s surveillance camera somehow happened to be malfunctioning that day, and a recent case where an unarmed; innocent man was shot while attempting to walk out of a store; because a Metro cop mistook him for a suspect they were looking for.

More Cops Does Not Mean More Justice For Las Vegas – Submitted by Adam Sanacore

No "More Cops"

No “More Cops”

Centuries upon centuries ago, the Roman philosopher Cicero boldly stated that the more laws that exist, the less justice there will be for the people. Hundreds of years later, we still, by the bounds of our own willful shackles, continue to misbelieve that every time a new law is enforced, and the more the individuals trained to do the enforcing uphold it, that we’re going to be given a sense of safety.

This coming Tuesday, January 21st, the Clark County (NV) Commission will vote on a highly publicized and controversial new tax initiative known as the More Cops Tax. As one might expect, the bill is pretty self explanatory:

More revenue from the citizens generates more funding and more police officers on the road. The average informed citizen may wonder why this would need to be placed on the altar for dissection. “Why, more cops means more protection for the people!”, has been the most habitual, emotional based response from the collective of the American populace. Yet, as scientific research has shown us, possible correlations do not spell out causation. I want to make one thing clear to all of my readers right now: regardless as to whether or not you’re a republican, democrat, or libertarian, conservative, liberal, or voluntaryist, we cannot continue to hold the misconception that putting more police officers on the streets is going to endow us with a more solid feeling of protection.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’m sure Kelly Thomas, if he were still with us right now, would have something to say after he was beaten to death by two officers as he was crying out for his dad. Or what about the individuals who are falsely arrested or attacked by officers for videotaping arrests, an act which has been deemed legal by courts? Or, more importantly, what about the seemingly expanding list of individuals who have been assaulted, threatened, forced to watch in agony as their pets are shot, or even killed by officers for absolutely no reason? Are we really willing to continually delude ourselves into thinking that we’re being well protected?

Beyond the abuses, scandals, and deaths, there is another disturbing question about this More Cops Tax that seems to be largely ignored by the media and the commission. That inquiry is whether or not the appropriated funds (which we’ve been told will be spent rationally) could add to militarization of the LVMPD. Over the course of the last few years, the line between police officers and soldiers has become less noticeable. Armored vehicles resembling tanks, assault rifles, and fully equipped armor is becoming a standard norm in many states. The question, of course, is why? I’m not trying to make the argument that cops shouldn’t have equipment. What I would like to know, however, is why every police officer in the country now has to look like a member of S.W.A.T when they go through a neighborhood to settle a dispute.

Some of you probably think that I’m being slightly paranoid about all this, or that I’m simply being too pessimistic about this situation. Perhaps you’re right. However, I want you to consider this: every founder, from Washington to Madison, warned us about the consequences that unfettered militarization could have upon our country. James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, stated that a country with the elements of a standing army would no longer have the capacity to breed liberty. Posse Comitatus, one of the most important acts in properly defining the limits of military use, forbids the use of the military to handle police actions. If this tax does clear the commission, and ends up creating an environment where militarization and abuse at the hands of the police could fundamentally take root in Metro like it has in other parts of the country, when will we be finally willing to allow reality to slap us in the face and give us the motivation to draw a line in the sand? I want to make it fully clear that I’m not trying to say that every cop is an immoral abuser. I fully recognize that there are cops out there who are well intentioned and do their best to defend and secure our rights. Sadly, there is an epidemic of the uncaring aforementioned that have been detailed in this article, and the media seems to make it clear that they’re growing by the day.

If the commission really wants to make a real change among our police officers, then maybe they should look into how they can re appropriate funds to teach new cadets about the importance of upholding the Constitution, and not using their badge to as an excuse to lay abuse on others.

The above post was submitted by Adam Sanacore, originally via Facebook.