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Update: Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Charged With Defrauding Elderly Couple of Over $700,000

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton is facing charges relating to defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton, along with three other people, is facing charges relating to the defrauding of an elderly Las Vegas couple.

In August of last year, I reported on Lt. Tom Melton, the commander of one of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT teams. At that time, it had just been announced publicly that Melton was under investigation in relation to the financial exploitation of an elderly couple.

As part of that exploitation Lt. Melton persuaded a court to name him as legal guardian and trustee for a couple named Jerome and Beverly Flaherty. On February 14, Melton was was indicted on charges of defrauding an 87 year old widow, who suffered from dementia.

According to the charging documents, he also deceived a court into believing that Beverly Flaherty was still alive after she had died in order to gain control over several of her accounts and then name himself as the beneficiary. One of the couple’s accounts Melton stole from in this manner was the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

All told, Lt. Melton was able to steal over $700,000 from Beverly Flaherty and her husband Jerome, both of whom are dead now. In addition, he’s accused of stealing a Ford Explorer. The fraud reportedly took place between December 2010 and May 2017.

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.

Lt. Tom Melton a SWAT team commander at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Commander Lt. Tom Melton

In order to facilitate that fraud, Melton hired April Parks, the corrupt and abusive owner of a private for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons, were also indicted along with Melton for defrauding the Flahertys.

The three of them were already facing over 200 felony charges related to taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision. A fifth person, Gary Neal Taylor, who was not indicted in Melton’s case, is also facing seven felony charges for similar crimes he committed in conjunction with Parks, Simpson, and Simmons.

The individual charges include (Melton uses his middle name):

  • Lt. James Thomas Melton: Two counts Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category B), one count Theft (category C), seven counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Grand Larceny Auto (category C), two counts Perjury (category D)
  • April Parks: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), six counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)
  • Mark Simmons: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C)
  • Noel Palmer Simpson: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category C), eight counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)

Local Media Coverage

Parks, Simmons, Simpson, and Taylor are all scheduled to begin trial on their previous charges in May of this year. It’s not clear yet exactly when Lt. Melton will be facing trial. However, since the charges are felonies he will no longer be collecting his $300,000+ yearly salary, like he had been while on paid vacation since the formal investigation began last July.

I will update you once again whenever Lt. Melton receives the inevitable plea deal that will allow him to be sentenced to probation.

Original Investigation Report

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Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Under Investigation For Financial Exploitation of Elderly Couple

Lt Tom Melton LVMPD SWAT Commander Elderly Exploitation

Last week, it was announced that Lieutenant Tom Melton had been placed on administrative leave (AKA paid vacation) as the result of a criminal investigation. Melton is the commander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT team. He’s also been one of the public faces of the LVMPD, oftentimes being interviewed by local media and frequently providing briefings at crime scenes.

Initially, Metro declined to give any details about what the nature of that investigation was. However, soon after his suspension was announced a search of public records indicated that he has ties to a woman already facing over 200 charges of defrauding elderly people placed under her care. Lt. Melton had been appointed as legal guardian and trustee for Jerome and Beverly Flaherty, an elderly couple, who have since died. April Parks, the woman previously charged, was awarded co-guardianship of the Flahertys with Melton.

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.

In March, Parks was indicted on charges including perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation, as part of a for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks has been characterized as the “ringleader of a small group” that included her husband; Gary Neal Taylor, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons. All four have been accused of taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision.

After confirmation was received that Lt. Melton was in fact the focus of an investigation into exploitation of an elderly couple, his attorney denied that he was involved in the fraud. Instead, he maintains that he had only hired Parks to care for the couple, whom he describes as friends of Melton. No other details relating to the nature of the investigation into Lt. Melton’s involvement have been released by the LVMPD.

Of course, it very well could be that he had no involvement in the fraud Parks and her partners are accused of. However, the timing of the suspension could potentially indicate otherwise. The fact that the other people involved were indicted in March and Melton didn’t come under investigation until the end of July would seem to imply that there’s more to it. It’s also a bit contradictory that none of the family members of the hundreds of other victims Parks exploited appear to be under investigation.

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After Officer Mohammed Noor Shot Justine Damond Minneapolis Police Got A Search Warrant For Her House

Justine Damond Officer Mohamed Noor Minneapolis Police

For some inexplicable reason Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor “feared for his life” when him and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity were approached by an unarmed 40 year old woman wearing pajamas. The Minneapolis Police Department’s equally ridiculous response to Noor shooting Justine Damond, whose “crime” was calling the police to report a potential sexual assault, was to go out and get a search warrant for Damond’s house.

According to a description of the search warrant posted at KSTP.com, the intent seems to have been to find evidence of drug usage or some sort of written statements by Damond:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators were granted permission to search Justine Damond’s home hours after she was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer, according to court records.

A criminal law expert can’t understand why.

“I don’t understand why they’re looking for bodily fluids inside her home,” said Joseph Daly, an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, referring to one of two recently-released search warrant applications.

“Whose bodily fluids are they looking for? Is she a suspect? I don’t understand why they’re looking for controlled substances inside her home. I don’t understand why they’re looking for writings inside her home. The warrant does not explain that to me.”

“When I read that search warrant, I really cannot find probable cause to search her home,” he continued.

According to court documents, investigators applied for the warrant on the following grounds:

  • The property or things above-described was used as a means of committing a crime
  • The possession of the property or things above-described constitutes a crime.
  • The property or things above-described is in the possession of a person with intent to use such property as a means of committing a crime, or the property or things so intended to be used are in the possession of another to whom they have been delivered for the purpose of concealing them or preventing their being discovered.
  • The property or things above-described constitutes evidence which tends to show a crime has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a crime.

Asked if that means the BCA considers Damond to be a suspect, spokesperson Jill Oliveira replied via email:

“No, an individual involved in the incident.”

Daly, who said he has served as a visiting professor at the University of Queensland in Damond’s native Australia, believes concerned members of the public in both countries will be outraged by the BCA’s request to search the home.

Instead of investigating Noor’s deadly actions, the first reaction to a completely unjustifiable murder by a police officer against an innocent woman was to go and file for a search warrant for her house. The focus of that search on the victim rather than the shooter, along with the statements about Damond being “panicked” during her 911 calls, Noor being startled by a loud noise, and the references to ambushes of police officers tells you what their true intent was in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

They were hoping to find something to smear her name with and make it appear that she was acting irrationally or in some way that could somehow be construed as threatening. Just for good measure, they’ve also made sure to say that a cell phone was found near her body, so they can claim he thought she was holding a gun. As is common practice for police departments when one of their own kills an innocent person, they were already setting up a scenario where Damond had caused her own death.

Meanwhile, Noor reportedly feels that his Brothas in Blue have “thrown him under the bus.” According to an anonymous friend, “His colleagues are accusing him of not showing proper police conduct on Saturday night.” To be fair, cops will normally support one of their own, regardless of how heinous and obvious their crime might be. However, it’s a bit hard to argue with anyone that says that shooting an innocent, unarmed woman is proper conduct.

In another development last week, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has been forced to resign by Mayor Betsy Hodges. It’s been a bad couple weeks in the arena of public opinion for Chief Harteau. In rapid succession, she has had another murderous cop get off after shooting Philando Castile and video surface an officer executing a family’s pet dogs.

Minneapolis Police Who Murdered Australian Woman After 911 Call Hadn’t Turned Their Body Cameras On

Minneapolis Police Shooting Australian Justine Damond Nevada Cop Block

Just before midnight on Saturday night (7/15/17), police in Minneapolis responding to a 911 call shot the woman who had made that call. Justine Damond, an Australian who was living with her fiance and his son, had called to report that she heard what sounded like someone being assaulted near her home.  Justine, who was due to be married to Don Damond next month, died as a result of the shooting.

Neither officer that responded to her call has been publicly identified yet. Currently, both of them have been placed on paid vacation while their coworkers “investigate” what happened. As of yet, no official explanation has been given for why one of the police officers decided he needed to shoot Damond.

According to a statement to the media, the officers had not turned their body cameras on and their dash cam “did not capture the incident.” No explanation for why those cameras were not turned on was provided either, although Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has stated she intends to find that out.

Via the Guardian:

Her stepson, Zac Damond, said she had called police after hearing a noise near her house.

“Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S just before 11.30pm Saturday,” the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. “At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.

“The BCA’s investigation is in its early stages. More information will be available once initial interviews with incident participants and any witnesses are complete … The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists.”

The two officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

Her stepson said Damond, 40-year-old Sydneysider, was “passionate” and his “best friend”.

“Basically my mum was shot for reasons I don’t know,” he said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday morning. (Video embedded below – editor)

“I just know she heard a sound in the alley so then she called the police and the cops showed up and she was a very passionate woman, she probably thought something bad was happening and then next thing I know they take my best friend’s life.”

Details are still lacking at the moment and this story will be updated as those details emerge. However, what this story obviously illustrates is two things that I point out often here at Nevada Cop Block. First, the police cannot be trusted not to murder someone when they show up. They won’t do it every time, but you just never know when they might. So you should avoid calling 911 unless absolutely necessary (and you should do everything you possibly can to minimize or even eliminate that as a necessity) and unless you are comfortable with the possibility that the person you called them could end up dead. In fact, you might even be the one that gets killed.

Secondly, the police cannot be trusted to film themselves, whether that be via body cameras or dash cams. People still need to film the cops any time they interact with them for whatever reason. Otherwise, there’s a decent chance that they will “forget” to term them on or that they will “malfunction.” Even when that fails, the police still have control over whether that video will be released (and plenty of excuses not to).

It shouldn’t be up to the cop who is about to murder someone to turn the camera on that would document that. It also shouldn’t be up to police departments, who have a history of covering up for cops that kill, to release them to the public when they actually exist.

**Update** Justine Damond, who was dressed in pajamas at the time, was shot by Officer Mohamed Noor. Damond was reportedly talking to Noor’s (still unnamed) partner on the driver’s side of the patrol car when Noor fired across his partner and through the window from the passenger seat.

Statement By Step Son Zac Damond

Minneapolis Rally/Protest on Sunday

Bullshit Written by Officer Noor’s Lawyer

“A Wonderful Sign of Building Trust”

Nevada Cop Block Founder Kelly Patterson Assaulted; Illegally Arrested by LVMPD for Filming

lvmpd-illegal-arrest-assault-nevada-cop-block

Note: The Following post was written by and was originally published at CopBlock.org under the title “Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police.” It’s being reposted here for obvious reasons.

Kelly Patterson, founder of Nevada CopBlock and editor of this website, was spending his weekend doing what he usually does – filming the police on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. That’s when Patterson witnessed Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) officers about to affect an arrest on a woman and pulled out his camera (see video embedded below).

As you can see in the video, it appears that Patterson is a safe distance away from the arrest/officers, but for whatever reason a lagging LVMPD officer comes over to him demanding he leave. Patterson asks questions to the unknown and aggressive LVMPD officer about how his actions are criminal, but to no avail. Abruptly during the exchange, he’s arrested on bogus charges of obstructing a police officer and obstructing a vehicle in the roadway (after the officers arresting him threw him into the road).

While that seems ridiculous in itself, the comments made by retired Las Vegas police Lt. Randy Sutton are also pretty absurd. According to 13 Action News:

Sutton said, “Cop Block, the group that Patterson is part of, is notorious for antagonizing cops.”

“There was apparently some interaction before what we saw in this video because there was a reference made to it when the officer initially confronted the guy who had the camera,” Sutton said.

While Sutton said this, and the news aired it (with nicely edited footage, see below), you can see from the footage above that Patterson and the LVMPD officer had no interaction until the officer demanded Patterson leave the area – which is a violation of his right to record (especially since there was no danger or interference going on). CopBlock being “notorious for antagonizing cops” is also completely irrelevant. Police have to arrest people based on their actions, not the reputation of a group they are affiliated with. (An affiliation that the cop who started this incident and then assaulted and illegally arrested Patterson likely wasn’t even aware of.)

Thankfully, Sutton didn’t go full COPSUCKER and recovered by saying, “The reality is police cannot stop someone from videotaping an action and in doing that is not in keeping up with the policies of the police department.”

The question now is the same as it’s always been after such wrongful arrests, will the officer learn and be held accountable for his actions? Of course, cops are investigating cops on this matter. So, a fair review will be produced in a timely manner I’m sure.

Click Banner to Learn More About Filming the Police

Click Banner to Learn More About Filming the Police

Meanwhile, Patterson spent 24 hours in the local jail, faces two charges and possible injury from the interaction. Thankfully, Stephen P. Stubbs, a local Las Vegas Attorney, has decided to represent Patterson in his legal matters with the city.

Update: Shooting Nevada Inmates With Birdshot Banned by New NDOC Director (For Now)

As I’ve reported here on CopBlock.org in several posts over the past year, the use of shotguns loaded with birdshot has come under scrutiny recently in Nevada prisons after a high-profile case in which an inmate was killed after a fight with another inmate. The family of that inmate, as well the family of the other inmate, who was also shot but survived, and others have made claims that the fight was instigated by guards intentionally in order to allow for the shooting.

Although the Nevada Department of Corrections continues to deny that, they have filed manslaughter charges against one of the guards involved. In addition, the former director of the NV Department of Corrections, Greg Cox, was forced to resign by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

In April, James Dzurenda was appointed to take over as the director of the NDOC. Prior to this, he worked in the corrections department in New York and was the DOC commissioner in Connecticut. During that time, he drafted the use-of-force policy for New York State.

In a recent interview with a local NPR affiliate in Nevada, Dzurenda has indicated that one of his first moves as the state DOC director will be to suspend the use of shotguns loaded with birdshot within Nevada Prisons. Previously, the NDOC had indicated that they would not accept the recommendations of experts who had stated shotguns should not be used by prison guards included in a report prompted by the most recent shooting and other similar incidents. However, although he states that he thinks that he feels it’s unnecessary, he seems reluctant to actually stop their use permanently, instead specifying that it is a temporary ban.

The interview also touches on Nevada’s “unique” prison culture and use of guns within those prisons. Dzurenda also indicates that he wants to focus more on rehabilitation and “reintegration” of prisoners being released back into society. plus, he wants more money (surprise!) and he thinks you can help him get it.

Via KNPR.org in Las Vegas:

Throughout history, however, Nevada has developed a unique prison culture. Huffington Post recently published an in-depth story about the use of guns inside Nevada’s prisons following the High Desert State Prison incident, and the sub-headline says it all: “Guards inside prisons shouldn’t have guns. That’s pretty much an accepted fact. Except in Nevada – and the results are mayhem and death.”

When interviewing writer Dana Liebelson, she told KNPR that Nevada’s use of guns inside its prisons “is highly unusual.” Skolnik said he agreed with her – to an extent.

“When I left, Nevada had the lowest rate of correction officer to inmates in the United States,” Skolnik said. “I don’t anticipate it’s gotten any better. If anything, it’s probably gotten worse.”

Is Dzurenda possibly wondering what he’s gotten himself into? Maybe. But he’s not shying away from tough questions about the state of the Nevada’s prisons. In fact, Dzurenda’s interview with KNPR was a first – former director Cox and interim director McDaniel never responded to multiple requests for interviews for the past few years.

One of his first orders of business, he said, is stopping the use of birdshot (the pellet-style ammunition that killed Carlos Perez in 2014) at least temporarily.

“To me, I don’t think it’s necessary,” Dzurenda said. “I’m not saying it’s going to be eliminated, but I’m going to temporarily take it offline because I think there are better things out in the world today we can use to control inmate populations.”

These things include non-lethal rounds of ammunition such as bean bags, rubber or plastic.

Dzurenda is more concerned, however, with programming inside correctional facilities – and considers an inmate’s first day at prison what should be the first day of reintegration efforts.

“If you take a snapshot today, and you don’t arrest anyone ever again, there’s 13,500 inmates in the system right now and 88 percent of those have less than 20-year sentences,” Dzurenda explained. “That means 12,000 of those offenders are released into our community pretty soon – that’s if you arrest no one.

“No matter how we feel about an offender, they are going back into the community. If we don’t funnel resources to do better for them, we’re just going to re-victimize our communities.”

As Skolnik noted, however, getting the money and resources together to have proper programming for inmates is no walk in the park. So how could Dzurenda do what his predecessors could not?

Constituents. Dzurenda may not be a political candidate – but getting the constituents to care about the people being put back into their communities might be able to get the ears of their represented politicians.

You can listen to the entire interview here on KNPR’s site.

Nevada Prison Guard Charged With Manslaughter in Fatal Shooting of Inmates (Update)

I’ve posted several times over the past year about the shooting of two prison inmates at the High Desert State Prison, which is located at Indian Springs, Nevada, just north of Las Vegas. Lawsuits by the families of those inmates, Carlos Perez and Andrew Arevalo, claimed that a fight was instigated between the two prisoners by correctional officers in order to justify the shooting.

As I’ve stated previously regarding the incident:

Both prisoners were handcuffed behind their back at the time of the fight and the lawsuits maintain that neither prisoner represented a threat to the guards sufficient enough to justify them being shot. Carlos Perez died from his injuries, while Andrew Arevalo was gravely wounded but survived. Although it was later overturned, Arevalo was also “internally convicted” of murder charges by the warden relating to Perez’ death.

As I’ve also reported, this and other incidents of shootings by Nevada prison guards led to a review of the use of force within state prisons and the use of shotguns in such incidents. A report produced at the conclusion of that review criticized prison guards’ use of shotguns by concluding “Nevada’s Department of Corrections (NDOC) is improperly relying on live ammunition instead of proper staffing.” Instead of accepting the advice to stop murdering inmates with shotguns, the NDOC responded to that report by saying they “hope to reduce the use of live rounds,” but won’t be doing so anytime soon and agreeing that they should hire more guards.

Two weeks ago in my last update, I discussed the releasing of internal disciplinary reports from the original “investigation” of the shooting, which were released as part of the discovery process in the lawsuits brought by the parents of the inmates shot at High Desert State Prison. Although they didn’t address the claims of the fight being instigated by the guards, they did pretty clearly place the blame for the shootings on those guards.

Latest: Guard Trainee Indicted

Earlier this week, former High Desert State Prison Correctional Officer Trainee Raynaldo J. Ramos was charged with two crimes in relation to the shooting of Perez and Arevalo. However, several questions remain regarding the nature of the charges, as well as the lack of any other indictments.

In light of the conclusions included within the disciplinary reports, the inmates’ families and others believe that Correctional Officers Jeff Castro and Isaiah Smith, both of whom were also present during the shooting, should have been charged, as well.

emailbannerVia Fox5 Las Vegas:

Ramos was charged with one count of the performance of an act in reckless disregard of persons or property resulting in death, and one count of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the death of inmate Carlos Perez.

According to the criminal complaint, while serving as a correctional officer trainee at High Desert State Prison, Ramos shot Perez in the chest, head, and neck while Perez and another inmate were involved in a brawl. Perez died as a result of the shooting.

Perez’s brother,  Victor Perez, believes those involved should be held accountable for his death.

“They can say all they want that it was an accident. I believe my brother was executed,” he said.

Charges were not filed against two other guards who resigned in May 2015, according to the Associated Press.

Perez’s lawyer, C.J. Potter from Potter Law Offices, said the two guards were present at the time of the shooting.

“There’s two other corrections officers there. The Department of Corrections said they failed to intervene, they allowed the two to be in that situation to fight,” Potter said.

” We do feel that the other guards are at least partially responsible because they’re supposed to be training this guard to do things the right way and they didn’t,” Victor Perez said.

Several other things including the length of time between when the issues were outlined in the internal reports, the fact that he was only charged for the fatal shooting and not the injuries to Arevalo, the changing stories that have been publicly released about the incident, and the previous attempt to charge Arevalo with murder for the death of Perez have all been pointed to as evidence of a cover-up by the prison administration.

In addition, the fact that the trainee was the only one charged and the low level nature of the charges (often referred to as a “Policeman’s Discount”) that were filed against him has been characterized as a scapegoating tactic to draw blame away from the other two guards involved and the NDOC itself.

Via ABC 13 Action News:

It’s taken nearly a year and a half, plus allegations of a cover up, for the state to charge a corrections officer in a deadly prison shooting.

Contact 13 explains why some say this is only half a cup of justice.

In November 2014, two handcuffed inmates in a secured unit called “The Hole” got into a fight at High Desert State Prison. A guard fires multiple rounds to break it up. Inmate Andrew Arevalo is seriously wounded. Inmate Carlos Perez is killed.

“Carlos’ mother, Mrs. Perez, was very concerned that there would never be that sense of justice in the case,” said Perez family attorney Cal Potter.

On Monday, the Nevada Attorney General filed a criminal complaint against former Correctional Officer Trainee Raynaldo J. Ramos.

Ramos is charged with “reckless disregard of persons or property resulting in death” and “involuntary manslaughter” for his role in the death of Perez, who was shot in the chest, neck and head.

“Why did it take this long for these distilled charges to come down?” Potter asked.

The charges come just one week after an internal prison report went public — blaming two other corrections officers for failing to follow safety procedures, failing to break up the fight and bringing “negative media attention” on the Department of Corrections. There is no mention in the report of Trainee Ramos.

Potter said, “It’s almost like a half a cup of justice at this point.”

And for only half of the victims. Arevalo was injured by the same gun in the same incident, but no one is being held criminally responsible for shooting him.

“This gives NDOC, this gives the AG’s office almost a scapegoat in COT Ramos,” said Arevalo’s attorney, Alexis Plunkett. “They’ve charged him with low-level felonies and they’ve charged the lowest person on the totem pole.

They’ve charged the trainee. And they’re attempting to remove the blame from all the higher-ups and from anyone else. It’s a trickle-down. And at the very bottom of the totem pole is the person that they’re making take the fall for this.”

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Official Report: Nevada Prison Guards Blamed For Fatal Shooting of Inmates (Update)

Last year, I posted about the shooting of two prison inmates at the High Desert State Prison, which is located at Indian Springs, Nevada, just north of Las Vegas. Lawsuits by the families of those inmates, Carlos Perez and Andrew Arevalo, claimed that a fight was instigated between the two prisoners by correctional officers in order to justify the shooting.

Both prisoners were handcuffed behind their back at the time of the fight and the lawsuits maintain that neither prisoner represented a threat to the guards sufficient enough to justify being shot. Carlos Perez died from his injuries, while Andrew Arevalo was gravely wounded, but survived. Although it was later overturned, Arevalo was also “internally convicted” of murder charges by the warden relating to Perez’ death (see the first video embedded below).

As I also posted about last year, this and other incidents of shootings by Nevada prison guards led to a review of the use of force within state prisons and the use of shotguns in such incidents. The resulting report (see the second video embedded below) stated that “Nevada’s Department of Corrections (NDOC) is improperly relying on live ammunition instead of proper staffing” and recommended they stop doing that. Not surprisingly, the NDOC responded to that report by saying they “hope to reduce the use of live rounds,” but won’t be doing so anytime soon and agreeing that they should hire more guards.

Yesterday, as a result of the aforementioned lawsuits, internal reports relating to the “investigation” of the shooting were released as part of the discovery process. While these disciplinary reports, which the Nevada Attorney General’s Office fought to keep secret, don’t address the claims of the fight being instigated by them, they do pretty clearly place the blame for the shootings on the guards involved.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

The Employee Misconduct Adjudication Reports specified six allegations against Correctional Officer Jeff Castro for neglect of duty, insubordination, unauthorized use of force, false statements and unbecoming conduct that brought the Corrections Department “negative media attention.”

Correctional Officer Isaiah Smith was written up for three allegations of neglect of duty and false statements for failing to report repeated, prior security breaches “which led to an inmate’s death.”

Carolos Perez, 28, died Nov. 12, 2014, from multiple gunshot wounds. Another inmate, Andrew Arevalo, now 25, was wounded. Both men were handcuffed behind their backs when they were shot in a shower hallway in a segregation unit known as “the hole.” High Desert is about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas, just south of Indian Springs.

The shooting death of Carlos Perez by a NV Prison Guard Has Raised many Questions

The shooting death of Carlos Perez by a NV Prison Guard Has Raised many Questions

Another correctional officer who arrived after the shooting stopped said there were “vast amounts of blood everywhere on the tier.” Another officer, identified only as Senior Correctional Officer Mumpower, evaluated the inmates who were both handcuffed and lying on the ground, according to an incident report.

Mumpower determined Perez needed immediate medical attention. He placed Perez “on his left side as he heard him gurgling on his own blood and this would allow for it to drain out,” the report said.

Prison medical staff took Perez to a trauma room and administered CPR and other treatment for about 45 minutes before he was declared deceased, the report said.

Prison officials acknowledged Perez’s death when it happened but didn’t provide details. That he was shot by staff didn’t become known until four months later when the Clark County coroner reported the cause of death and ruled it a homicide.

Two civil lawsuits, one filed by Perez’s family, the other by Arevalo, are pending.

The latest documents were contained as exhibits in a motion by the attorney general’s office seeking dismissal or summary judgment of the case filed by Las Vegas attorney Cal Potter on behalf of Victor Perez.

Besides the officers, the lawsuits name the state, former Corrections Department Director Greg Cox, the warden and other administrators as defendants. A state board in March approved hiring private lawyers to represent the three correctional officers for up to $45,000 each.

Cox resigned in the fall at the insistence of Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Castro, Smith and the trainee who fired the four shotgun blasts, Reynaldo-John Ramos, were put on leave immediately after the incident. Ramos, who was on probation, was terminated. Castro and Smith resigned May 1, 2015.

Andrew Arevalo was also shot and seriously injured by a guard's shotgun, but survived.

Andrew Arevalo was also shot and seriously injured by a guard’s shotgun, but survived.

The attorney general’s office sought to keep the internal reports secret, arguing they are personnel records not subject to disclosure.

But U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon, in an April 4 order, denied the state’s motion.

“Those reports concern the state’s investigation of the events that give rise to this litigation,” Gordon wrote. “The public has an interest in seeing that the state properly and thoroughly investigates allegations of serious wrongdoing.”

At the time of the shooting, both Perez and Arevalo were in a segregation unit known as “the hole,” where regulations require that inmates be moved one at a time and “all escorts of retrained inmates are hands on.”

Castro, according to the documents, admitted he often failed to comply with the regulation, telling an investigator, “Pitch and catch, that’s the norm at HDSP.” The description refers to allowing inmates to walk unescorted from one correctional officer to another.

The report said Castro failed to directly escort Arevalo from the shower to his cell, and also allowed Perez out of the shower without a hands-on escort while Arevalo was in the hallway. The two inmates got into a fight, and Castro failed to intervene, instead leaving the area to find a pair of gloves.

“The use of the shotgun would not have been required had … Castro followed policy and had he not had two inmates out of the cells at the same time,” the report said, adding that had he broken up the fight “the other officer would not have used the shotgun to quell the fight.”

Smith was also cited for failing to intervene in the fight. The report said Smith had witnessed Castro moving multiple inmates out of the cells at the same time but failed to report the security breaches.

The Review Journal also reports that “The attorney general’s office has been investigating the case for a year for potential criminal charges.” I wouldn’t suggest holding your breath on that, though.

Witnesses Dispute Official Story in Latest Shooting by LVMPD

Overnight Monday (technically Tuesday morning), Las Vegas police registered their 12th officer involved shooting, guaranteeing that the LVMPD will average at least one shooting per month for 2015. The as yet unnamed person killed on Monday had fled from an attempted stop by a marked patrol car around 2:00 AM after the plates on the vehicle came back as belonging to a different vehicle.

Although Metro says the original officer chose not to pursue them at that time, the same car was soon spotted by another patrol in a nearby neighborhood. The car (which has been identified as a stolen car by media sources) had been abandoned, but left in drive. So, although it was unoccupied it was moving down the road toward an intersection. The second officer blocked the vehicle with his own patrol car to stop it. At that point, the suspect was seen being escorted by a security guard  off the property of a nearby apartment complex.

According to Metro (the video of their spokesperson’s official statement is embedded below), the suspect refused to follow orders, kept his hands behind his back, tried to run again, was not affected when tased, and eventually reached for a gun he presumably was concealing in his back waistband area. That resulted in the three officers at the scene firing at and killing the suspect. Reportedly, a gun was later found at the scene where the shooting took place.

However, since the shooting I have received audio of witness interviews recorded at the location of the shooting, which contradict the “official” story by the LVMPD. One of the inconsistencies include witnesses’ contention that the man was not actually armed at the time of the shooting. According to these witnesses, the police originally claimed that they found the gun they say he was armed with inside a nearby garbage can. (The original report was that a gun was found “in the area,” which is potentially consistent with that claim.) If that were true, the man who was killed obviously could not have been pulling a gun out from behind his waist.

It’s also stated that there is a video of the shooting. The existence of such a video has not been mentioned (or ruled out) by the police at this point, although some LVMPD officers are wearing bodycams currently. So, there is a possibility that that is actually the case. However, the person providing the audio appears to claim to have a copy of that video or, at the very least to have seen it, although that video was not provided and they would not have access to bodycam footage, which means it would have to be from another source.

That audio, which also has been embedded below, was received from a source whose identity I do know, but who has requested to remain anonymous. That is due to previous violent encounters they have had with the police, including those employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in retaliation for filming them. That person also stated that they live in the area of the shooting. (In one bit of a disclaimer, I will say that the person who submitted this audio does not in fact “run Cop Block” or even in any direct way contribute to this site, contrary to what he states at the beginning of the video. I point that out simply for the sake of clarification.)

Included with the link to the audio was this description:

“This message is for Kelly Patterson. RE: officer involved shooting 11/24/15 2am at Cambridge and Katie. The media has brushed this under the rug. What LAZY journalism.

After speaking to the numerous witnesses at the park, it was unanimous that the police didn’t have to kill the guy. The Story that you are reporting is no where near the story I was given by the numerous witnesses. Why did they deploy a taser if he had a gun? Not one single witness said he had a gun.

In fact, several people said they found a gun in a trash can nearby. This was another Metro murder and the LVRJ and all the other Las Vegas media sweeping another murder by Metro under the rug. Again.

Video footage was taken and it shows the officers running back from Maryland, seeing the man beyond the fence of the apt complex and ordering him to get down on the ground. The man shouting “I didn’t do anything” a couple times, a taser deployed and two more orders to get down before the cops opened fire. He then falls to the ground and dies.

Any journalist could have gotten the same testimony and video I attained. This is completely lazy journalism and another murder of an unarmed man in Las Vegas that the media refuses to accurately report on. Nobody at that park wanted to appear on camera. (neither do I BTW. I have enough problems with Metro. Keep me out of it) I recorded this conversation with the homeless people at the park who witnessed the murder.

Here is the audio…”

Metro has yet to release any follow up reports on the incident. Typically, they release the names of officers involved in shootings two days later, although the Thanksgiving holiday may delay that. This is also when they typically release updates to the original reports. It’s not at all unusual for their official story to change significantly from their initial narrative.

In fact, the LVMPD has a history of claiming suspects they shot were armed in some manor or actually using a weapon against them to justify their use of deadly force and then later admitting that was not the case. A few examples of this type of behavior are:

So, while the witness statements and possible existence of a video have yet to be corroborated, based on the history of the LVMPD and their penchant for evolving stories, I wouldn’t rule out another revision within the near future in this case, as well.

Public Schools, Social Engineering, and the Prison Pipeline on “Radical Anarchist Revolution” Radio Nov. 9th

Tonight at 7pm PST (10pm EST), you should tune in to hear the “Radical Anarchist Revolution,” from Las Vegas. (Click on that link to find it.) This is a new internet radio show that I am doing with Tasha Heath of Southern Nevada Watchdogs.

Although tonight represents just our second show together, Tasha and I have worked together in the real world quite a lot in the past couple years, primarily on local issues and often in relation to Nevada Cop Block, in and around the Las Vegas area. She’s pretty well known in Las Vegas and for good reason.

Tasha is a very dependable and principled activist and beyond that she’s just an awesome and very ethical person. She also is very knowledgeable in a lot of different areas and always willing to learn about things she isn’t familiar with. Plus, she’s tough; they don’t call her the Tiny Terminator for nothing.

So, I’m very happy to have the opportunity to work with her on the show and even in the limited number of shows we’ve done thus far, I personally think that we make a good combination.

In tonight’s show we will be discussing the public school system including the history of compulsory schooling in the United States, the issues with that; why many of those issues stem from the real priorities of public schooling, and how that has lead to the dumbing down of U.S. citizens, as well as what has come to be called the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

In terms of the history behind the school system we will be discussing some of the work John Taylor Gatto, a former award winning school teacher who eventually came out against public schools and compulsory schooling. He’s written pretty extensively since about the roots and influences behind the school system and the true intentions of those involved in setting up the system. As he illustrates quite well in his books and essays, schools were not actually set up with education in mind, but actually in order to create docile and compliant factory workers. The promise of a free education was really just the sales pitch used to get the general public to accept that.

Tasha in her proper place

Tasha in her proper place

Another reference we’ll discuss is “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” a book by James Loewen. This book discusses the ways that government prevents schools from teaching children controversial subjects, especially those that show the government in a bad light and/or would encourage children to challenge the government. The basis of that book is the way in which a sanitized presentation of subjects makes school incredibly boring and eliminates a lot of the things that should create interest in learning for children.

One of the examples discussed was Helen Keller, who had a pretty long history of activism relating to anti-war protests, labor issues, women’s rights, and issues of poverty. However instead of that rich and inspirational history alongside the many controversial aspects of her life and beliefs, most students only know of her as the blind, deaf, and mute girl who learned how to read.

In addition to that, we discussed the ways in which that the social engineering aspects of public schools have led to a dumbing down of the country’s citizens and how that is more often than not very intentional. From the beginning, where industrialists (Carnegie and Rockefeller for example) exerted their influence and funded the schools to ensure they would have that influence, schools have limited the opportunities that students have to learn things that would allow them to better their working conditions. In the early years, quite literally based the curriculum options to things that would translate to factory work. That includes exchanging the iconic one room school houses where children were able to learn at their own pace, whether that was slower or faster than other children their age. Instead they were segregated by age and into the hierarchical grade structures and only allowed to learn what was prescribed for their specific age group. The obvious effect of that is to eliminate independent thinking and condition children to think in terms of arbitrary rank structures.

FNB Group Pic

The hosts of “Radical Anarchist Revolution” caught in the act after illegally sharing food with hungry people.

More recently, and what is really an extension of that sort of social engineering via schools involves the drugging of children with pharmaceutical products, such as Ritalin and other drugs used to “treat” ADHD type conditions that way too many children are being diagnosed with currently. Part of the discussion around that will involve the profit motives from drug companies looking for new customers, as well as the fact that many of the things leading to a diagnosis for these conditions involve what is really just typical childhood behavior. In fact, it’s oftentimes the most active and ambitious children that are receiving these diagnoses and sometimes for the simply reason that they are bored and unchallenged by the school system.

And finally, we’ll be discussing children being abused by school employees and/or police assigned to schools. Also how has created what has come to be called the “school-to-prison-pipeline.” We be discussing the alarming number of teachers (five in the past three months) arrested recently for sexual offenses and the lack of accountability that contributes to that. Within the context of that, we will be discussing a recent case I covered here on CopBlock.org last month of a school cop that drove drunk, caused an accident by running a red light, assaulted the person he hit, and then pulled a gun on bystanders that tried to intervene. Incidentally, several years ago that same officer, Sgt. Anthony Russo, shot a 13 year old kid with down syndrome that was doing nothing except walking down the road with a BB gun. As can be expected in Las Vegas, he was never held accountable for that act.

Listen to the show. Don't make me come over there.

Listen to the show. Don’t make me come over there.

In addition, the increase in police involvement within schools, often for things that really amount to just typical childhood behaviour or even minor instances of misbehavior will be discussed. As part of that we’ll be referencing “Stupid Reasons Police Have Arrested Kids For In School” a post on CopBlock.org by Steven Thomas that details 20 different examples of really benign and innocent things that schools have had children arrested for, such as having a plastic knife, not asking permission to go to the bathroom, or even farting in class

You should tune in tonight for the show and listen to the full discussion of these important issues and more on the “Radical Anarchist Revolution” From Las Vegas with Tasha Heath and Kelly Patterson (click the link). You don’t want to be the only that doesn’t know what everyone else is talking about at the water cooler on Tuesday morning! The show is being broadcast on the “Non-Partisan Liberty For All” network, which is produced by Dave Bourne. I’ve been on his own show somewhat often in the past and he’s now in the process of expanding from a stand-alone show to a full network. The show Tasha and I are doing is actually the first new show to be featured on the network.

Below you can hear the archive of the debut show that we did a couple weeks ago, which includes a little bit of an intro about who we are and what sort of things we’ve been involved in around Vegas. The show will be airing every two weeks on Monday evenings 7pm PST/10pm EST.

RAR(rrrrr)!!! (It’s a thing. Get ahead of the trendy people and start saying it now.)