Tag Archives: North Las Vegas Police Department

N. Las Vegas Police Chief Admitted Covering Up for Mayor in Child Porn Investigation

Child Porn Investigation North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee

Outgoing North Las Vegas Police Chief Joseph Chronister has admitted that child porn on NLV Mayor John Lee’s iPad was not properly investigated and was instead deleted by a detective.

In North Las Vegas, the outgoing police chief, Joseph Chronister, admitted in May that NLV Mayor John Lee received special treatment and that special treatment was based on his position and his ability to affect “certain aspects” of the NLVPD. This special treatment took place during an investigation, which began after the mayor asked police officers working at city hall for assistance in removing child porn from his iPad.

NLVPD Chief Joseph Chronister

Former Chief Joseph Chronister

Mayor Lee claimed that the child porn was on his tablet because “a hacker” sent it to him in an email. However, during the investigation no such email was found and the browser history showed that the iPad had been used to access illegal porn sites that included what appeared to be child porn.

In addition, a week prior to approaching the officer about the iPad, the mayor made what was described as an odd request for help with “debugging a phone” in a voicemail to the Chief. As a result, some have speculated that the hacker sending an email story was just an excuse concocted to hide the true source, possibly amid fear that the incriminating material would eventually be found.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Review Journal shortly after his retirement, Former Chief Chronister stated that the detective assigned to the investigation did an incomplete investigation, didn’t follow up on inconsistent evidence uncovered during that investigation, and later took the mayor’s iPad to an Apple Store to have its memory wiped, before returning it to the mayor.

Via the LVRJ:

North Las Vegas police got the case after the mayor asked the department for help removing what he believed to be child pornography from his personal iPad. A detective helped out but didn’t check any of the mayor’s other electronic devices or press Lee on why his story didn’t make sense in light of evidence found, a police report filed last year shows.

Asked if anyone else would have been treated the same way, the chief said the short answer is no.

“We’re talking about the mayor of North Las Vegas,” Chronister said. “He is a person of authority. He is a person of power. He absolutely has the ability to control certain aspects of our department.”

That includes who the chief of police is.

NLV Mayor John Lee

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee (right)

The “investigation” lasted all of one day, apparently included no questions about the lack of that email or the presence of the porn sites in Mayor Lee’s browser history, didn’t include any attempt to investigate if other devices under his control also contained such material, and concluded with Detective Mark Hoyt “going above and beyond” to make sure any incriminating evidence was thoroughly wiped out of the iPad’s memory at the Apple Store.

Hoyt’s excuse for not doing a complete investigation was that the apparent children on the porn site were from a different country and therefore he couldn’t determine their age. Chronister, who was in fact later replaced as NLV police chief by Mayor Lee anyway, now says he wishes his department had done more.

Meanwhile, Joseph Dooley, a retired FBI agent who previously ran Connecticut’s computer crimes task force, agrees they should have done more. Among other things, he states (in the same article) that the country where the porn sites originated from should not have kept them from conducting an investigation into what appears to be kiddie porn, that the iPad should have been seized immediately, and that the email story “couldn’t have happened as the mayor described.”

Dooley also classifies Det. Hoyt’s trip to the Apple Store to have the memory wiped as “bizarre.” Instead, they should have consulted the District Attorney‘s Office to determine if there was probable cause to seize other devices and investigate if they contained similar material.

Las Vegas area police departments have been no stranger to sex based crimes lately, including two members of the LVMPD being arrested for child porn. Beyond that, another Metro detective was just given a light sentence after he attacked a prostitute when she tried to raise the price on him, yet another has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a domestic violence call, a Clark County Court Marshall groped a woman in court and then had her arrested for reporting it to a judge, and the former head of the Las Vegas Constable’s Office was caught covering up one of his underling’s illegal use of the department’s background check system to find personal information about his favorite adult film stars.

When you have police chiefs openly admitting that they gave special treatment to city officials and that that special treatment was predicated on the fact that “He is a person of authority. He is a person of power. He absolutely has the ability to control certain aspects of our department” that’s the kind of results you end up with. Especially when you pair that with a district attorney who’s literally never seen a police shooting he couldn’t justify. The fact that Former Chief Chronister could come out with an admission like that and not even really cause much of stir actually tells you a lot about “accountability” among the police and public officials in Las Vegas.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Nevada Court Upholds Firing of North Las Vegas Cop for Covering Up Brother’s Crime

On June 25th, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned a decision by a lower court that would have reinstated a North Las Vegas police officer. That officer, Lazario Ruiz, was fired after he failed to report and then lied about an incident in which his brother argued with and then stole jewelry from another man. Officer Ruiz was present during the confrontation, which involved a brother-in-law, but also made no effort to intervene or prevent the crime.

Police are legally required to report any crimes they witness. Police department policies also generally require officers to stop and/or apprehend anyone they see committing a crime. There are some “discretionary” exceptions, but that would hardly be appropriate when a family member is involved in something that is clearly a criminal act. (There is quite obviously a victim here.)

According to the Las Vegas Sun:

The court overturned the decision of District Judge Valorie Vega who had ruled the procedure was faulty in dismissing Ruiz for untruthfulness and unprofessional conduct.

North Las Vegas Police BadgeRuiz was present when his brother Tony confronted Oscar Talamantes, a brother-in-law, over money in August 2009. After the argument, Tony Ruiz ripped two gold chains off the neck of Talamantes and fled. Talamantes reported a robbery to police.

North Las Vegas officials maintained that Officer Ruiz was within 2 feet of the incident, never made a police report or made any effort to stop his brother. He maintained he did not see the encounter.

During the investigation, Ruiz gave four statements that the city said were untruthful.

An arbitrator admitted the four statements in his review of the case and ruled the dismissal was proper.

Judge Vega held that the four statements of Ruiz violated the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights and ruled in favor of the officer to return to his job.

The court ruled that there was substantial evidence to back the decision of the arbitrator and taht (sic) Judge Vega abused her discretion in ruling in favor of Ruiz.

So, Judge Vega’s ruling aside, that’s a rare bit of accountability for the Las Vegas area police departments. To be fair, even the LVMPD has somewhat of a track record of firing cops involved in financial crimes. It’s just that killing people thing they don’t seem to be too concerned about.

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North Las Vegas Anti-Police Brutality Protest – Wed. June 24th – 7pm (Update)

ChalkThePoliceState-29a

This actually applies to every Las Vegas area police dept.  Not one single time.

As was noted in a previous post, it was just announced by Clark County D.A. Steve Wolfson that yet another Las Vegas area cop won’t be facing any sort of accountability for killing an unarmed person under highly questionable circumstances. Of course, that and the shoddy “investigation” that preceded the announcement aren’t that unusual here in Vegas, where not one single cop has ever stood trial for shooting someone. However, the reason is a new twist. Wolfson actually stated that the reason this murder couldn’t be considered criminal was that the only (living) witness is the shooter, North Las Vegas Police Officer Raymond Lopez.

In March of last year, Lopez saw a homeless man near an abandoned house. He approached that man and less than a minute later David Robinson was dead with three gunshots to the head and another in his shoulder. Although, Robinson was unarmed and a knife he did have was found still in his pocket, Lopez used the excuse that he thought he saw something glimmering in Robinson’s hand to justify the shooting.

Obviously, in a city where a cop can say he thought a hat was a gun to justify shooting someone and not be punished in any way, let alone charged with a crime, that was enough for the police “investigators.” An outside research group was brought in to access that investigation and they stated that the interviews conducted were incomplete and that Lopez should be re-interviewed. However, he was allowed to resign and refused any further interviews.

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The idea that there isn’t other evidence beyond eyewitness accounts is ridiculous and the history of incomplete and uninspired “investigations” by Las Vegas area police and the Clark County District Attorney’s office, has created an atmosphere where cops know they can get away with murder and ensures there is no deterrent from them doing so. It’s not a coincidence that Las Vegas ranked no. 3 in the entire nation for police shootings.

Homeless people in particular are frequently bullied by and seen as targets for harassment and violence by the police. In fact, back in the 90’s the LVMPD’s Ofc. Greg Pease killed 3 homeless men in almost identical circumstances to Lopez’ case. In spite of three separate incredibly questionable incidents, he was never held accountable in any way whatsoever.

It’s these sort of sham investigations that let cops know they can do whatever they want, up to and including killing you, and get away with it every time. At some point people need to tell them we won’t just accept that anymore.

Wednesday, June 24th at 7pm – Nevada Cop Block will be holding a protest against the continued police brutality by the North Las Vegas Police and other Las Vegas area police departments and the absolute lack of accountability for those abuses. The protest will be held at the North Las Vegas Police Department Headquarters, which is located at 2332 North Las Vegas Blvd, North Las Vegas, NV 89030. You can get directions via the embedded map below. If you are on Facebook, you can RSVP at the event page located here.

Las Vegas Cop Shot Unarmed Man; Won’t Be Charged Since He Was Only Witness

North Las Vegas Police ShootingJust over a year ago, in March of 2014, Officer Raymond Lopez of the North Las Vegas Police Department saw a homeless man near an abandoned home. Thinking he was either squatting in or scavenging from the vacant house, Lopez approached David Robinson and about a minute later shot him three times in the head and once in the shoulder, killing him.

Although a knife was later (conveniently) found in Robinson’s back pocket, it obviously wasn’t in his hand, nor was he armed in any other way. In addition, no claim of physical resistance by Robinson was ever made, even by Lopez. His only claim to justify the shooting was that he saw “the glint of a blade.” This is fairly reminiscent of the claim by Jacquar Roston, of the LVMPD, that he shot an unarmed man because a shiny spot on his hat looked like a gun.

In what is a rather unsurprising outcome for murders involving Las Vegas area police, given their track record of having never charged a single cop in the entire 100+ year history of the city for shooting someone, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has just announced that Lopez’s action that day “cannot be deemed criminal.” And although even Wolfson can’t work up the nerve to claim this shooting was justified, he falls back on an excuse that there is a lack of evidence, based on the fact that the only (surviving) witness was Officer Lopez, in order to keep that perfect record intact.

CBN-network-bannerNot only did Lopez make sure he left no witnesses, but as is typically the case, he got a little help from his friends. The Force Science Institute, an independent research group brought in to analyze the case, stated that police “investigators” had asked Lopez incomplete questions. Going through the motions of doing an interview (or purposely steering interviewees away from important details that don’t fit the established narrative) is a known tactic police use to avoid scrutiny when cops are involved in a questionable shooting. It’s not anything that Las Vegas area police investigators haven’t already resorted to in previous officer involved shootings, either. FSI recommended that Lopez be re-interviewed in order to attain more comprehensive answers as to what happened that day. Instead, Lopez refused to submit to any further interviews and then quit in January as a result of the bad publicity from the case.

Per the Las Vegas Review Journal:

District Attorney Steve Wolfson

District Attorney Wolfson

Due to the lack of evidence, the district attorney’s office couldn’t disprove Lopez’s version of events, and were “unable to prove that the actions of Officer Lopez were in fact unjustified,” the report said.

“Based on the limited information we had in this case, it was important to determine if the officer’s explanation of events could be validated,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in the news release. “Making sure that we provide a thorough and accurate analysis in every officer involved shooting is our priority.”

As everyone knows, not every murder has a witness, not every crime has a “smoking gun” that by itself proves guilt or innocence. That’s generally determined by having the person(s) and crime scene involved investigated thoroughly for whatever evidence there is available and having them face tough and impartial questioning about any inconsistencies that might be uncovered in the process. However, in the case of police officers they find themselves being questioned by friendly co-workers, given time to get their story together, and not having any of those inconsistencies questioned. Much like with the beginnings of the aftermath of the Walter Scott shooting, any story that is presented by an officer to justify the shooting is readily accepted. Unless, of course, some video suddenly surfaces to contradict that and there’s no opportunity for the police to make that video disappear, like in the case of Erik (no relation to Walter) Scott.

N. Las Vegas Police ShootingIf anyone else was involved in shooting someone, they would be questioned about why they felt the need to point a gun at someone who wasn’t physically resisting in the first place and why they felt a need to fire that gun when the person’s only weapon was tucked away in their pocket and they could easily unload their gun (that was already out and aimed at the person) long before the person could ever pull the knife out and prepare to use it, even if they decided to do so. Perhaps that person would have good answers for those questions, but it’s kinda important to ask those questions when, “making sure that we provide a thorough and accurate analysis in every officer involved shooting is our priority,” as Wolfson would have people believe.

Most people would be arrested if they were involved in a deadly shooting and they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to just quit their job and walk away from the investigation with no further questions asked.

However, this is the typical M.O. of police departments nationwide when “investigating” their own and it’s a particular specialty of Las Vegas area police and the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. This type of toothless investigation is something Las Vegas residents have come to expect from both those entities. And this isn’t the first time that a local cop has been allowed to kill homeless people with no questions asked. In fact, pretty much the exact same scenario played out just about exactly 20 years ago.

ChalkThePoliceState-29aBetween 1994 and 1996, LVMPD Officer Greg Pease killed three homeless men under incredibly questionable circumstances. In each case, Pease reported he was investigating a potential burglary, claimed he acted in self defense after being attacked with a knife, and also just like Lopez the only other witness ended up dead. There is also one more similarity between the two. In each case, Pease’s actions were ruled justified, even though in the third instance he had the name of the man who “ambushed” him written on a notepad in his car prior to the incident.

It took getting caught using a LVMPD fuel card to fill his personal vehicle up for Pease to finally get forced into resigning. So, perhaps in that respect they’ve progressed a slight bit by forcing Lopez out after his first unjustifiable killing. Police departments in Las Vegas have a long and, at this point, unbroken record of looking the other way when their officers act inappropriately, up to and including those that murder.  This case won’t and shouldn’t give anyone much hope that this policy will change anytime soon.

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