Tag Archives: police brutality

Yet Another Camera Somehow “Malfunctions” While Las Vegas Police Are Abusing Someone

Video of Las Vegas Metro Police abuse has malfuntioned (yet again).

Las Vegas peace activist Vera Anderson was assaulted and had her hair ripped out at the Clark County Detention Center after a protest. Somehow the video showing that became “corrupted.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has the worst luck when it comes to cameras. Time after time, key evidence caught on video somehow, someway ends up disappearing.

Sometimes, the camera that would have recorded the relevant moments just happened to be malfunctioning that day, as was the case while Metro officers were murdering Erik Scott outside of a Costco back in 2010. The one camera that had a perfect view of the shooting wasn’t working. Even after it was sent out to be processed by forensic video experts, only 96% of the digital information on it could be recovered. By chance, that 4% which couldn’t be restored (due to physical damage to the hard drive) was the portion in which Scott was being killed.

Other times, Las Vegas Police officers are just forgetful, as was the case when one of the LVMPD’s Heroes held a gun to NFL player Michael Bennett’s head and told him he was going to “blow his fucking head off.” Unfortunately, that officer who could clearly be seen (from a distance) on another officer’s body cam footage holding a gun to Bennett’s head, didn’t remember to turn his body camera on during the one portion of the incident that is in dispute.

Of course, when all else fails and video is actually recorded at the time of the abuse, it sometimes mysteriously becomes “corrupted” after the fact. Such was the case for LVMPD K-9 Officer Jeffrey Lynn Harper, who was facing charges of arson and fraud after he was caught intentionally  burning a four-wheeler and a trailer used to haul it in an attempt to collect money from the insurance policies covering the vehicles.

The NHP dash cam video, in which he made incriminating statements about the fire and being behind on payments for them, somehow became corrupted during the “investigation.” This forced the case to be dismissed after a mistrial was declared over the missing video evidence. By some amazing coincidence, his case was handled by a lead investigator, Denell Hoggard, who was due for retirement immediately afterwards.

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.

Degraded, Humiliated, and Physically Assaulted

In April of 2017, Vera Anderson was arrested as part of an anti-war protest just north of Las Vegas. Creech Air Force Base, where the protest took place, is where most of the drones being used to murder people in foreign countries by the U.S. military are remotely controlled. Various protests organized by numerous different groups take place there throughout the year.

This particular protest, was organized by a local faith-based organization named “Nevada Desert Experience,” many of whom are pacifists. Like most other protests held at Creech, it included a mass act of civil disobedience, in which participants are arrested after walking past the official property line of the base. For the most part, it’s a symbolic event that often results in a “cite-and-release” situation, rather than a trip to jail.

During recent protests, there has been an increase in instances in which those arrested are transported back to Las Vegas to where the Clark County Detention Center is located. However, even in almost all of those cases the procedure generally only involves being booked and then released within a short period of time.

When Anderson was arrested, things went a little differently, though. While she was being processed for booking, a female corrections officer insisted that beads Anderson was wearing in her hair had to be removed. She then began forcibly pulling them out. Ultimately, this resulted in a chunk of her hair being ripped out, creating a bald spot.

In the process, she was also grabbed by the neck, told to “stop acting like an animal,” and accused of “wanting to play games” after she indicated that she was being hurt. Eventually, she ended up being confined in a restraint chair, which is intended for use in cases in which inmates are behaving violently, not for someone complaining about being in pain because their hair is being yanked out.

The Latest “Corrupted” Video

Recently, surveillance footage of the incident (embedded below) was released after a public records request was filed by local ABC news affiliate “8 News Now.” However, Anderson and the guard are mostly out of the frame of the camera and there’s also a counter obstructing the view during the time her hair was being pulled out. As a result, very little of what happened during those moments is visible on the video that was released.

A guard can be seen filming the abuse of Vera Anderson. That video was "corrupted," though.What’s very much visible within that video is that one of the other guards is also filming the entire scene with an additional hand-held camera. That camera should have had no problem depicting exactly what happened. It also would include audio, unlike the surveillance footage, which would confirm or refute what was said to Anderson.

Of course, the key word there is “should.” In keeping with Metro’s history of bad luck with video evidence, there just happened to be a “glitch” that caused a technical failure. As a result, all of footage of the incident taken by the one camera that would have most clearly depicted it was somehow corrupted.

Without that video, the “investigation” prompted by an internal affairs complaint Anderson filed was inconclusive. A further complaint to the Citizen Review Board did result in a finding that the corrections officers had violated department policy. That violation, however, wasn’t for pulling Anderson’s hair out by the roots.

It was for not returning the beads attached to the clump of hair they left lying on the floor afterwards (which is actually visible in the surveillance video). The board also determined, due to the fact Anderson wasn’t going to be in jail very long, that the beads should have never had to be removed in the first place.

Obviously and not surprisingly, the video recorded that day isn’t the only corrupted thing within that jail or the LVMPD in general.

Local News Report of the Incident/Missing Video

Posts Related to the LVMPD

“What Happened in Vegas” Police Brutality Documentary Screenings in Las Vegas Scheduled for March 12th and 19th

AMC Rainbow Promenade in Las Vegas will be holding a theater screening of "What Happened in Vegas" on March 19th

Within the next two weeks, “What Happened in Vegas” will screen twice in Las Vegas. On March 12th, Showing Up for Racial Justice Las Vegas (SURJ LV) will hold a free DVD screening and on March 19th a theater screening will take place at AMC theaters.

As has been noted here numerous times in the past, the documentary “What Happened in Vegas” by director Ramsey Denison exposes the corruption, racism, and violence prevalent throughout the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It also puts on display the cover-ups and character assassination of their victims that the LVMPD employs to hide such behavior from the public.

In order to do so, it focuses primarily on the cases of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown. All four of those men were killed by Las Vegas police officers under extremely questionable circumstances and reasoning. However, very few if any questions were asked at the time by local media or politicians.

Although each of those killings received pretty substantial local attention from the public, the lack of critical media coverage prevented much of that indignation from reaching many people outside of Las Vegas. This in turn also allowed the LVMPD to move quickly past them without any real accountability for the officers involved.

In highlighting these and other similar, but non-fatal, cases, “What Happened in Vegas” shows how and why Metro has been able to so easily cover-up and deflect blame from the department and its officers, in spite of such egregious violence. One of the more obvious reasons why the media and politicians are so willing to “play along” is that the city is extremely dependent on the casinos and tourism industry. As a result, there is tremendous pressure to ensure potential visitors aren’t concerned that Las Vegas is unsafe.

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 addition, after the Route 91 Festival mass shooting that took place October 1st on the Las Vegas Strip, “What Happened in Vegas” was updated to include issues with the LVMPD’s subsequent investigation of Stephen Paddock and the Mandalay Bay (MGM Resorts International). Director Ramsey Denison shows how the lack of information and falsehoods that have been exposed within what information has been released are really a microcosm of the way the LVMPD has conducted itself in all of those previous cases.

Also, the motivations behind the botched investigation of the Las Vegas mass shooting are essentially the same. On one hand, the police were covering up for and minimizing the liability of a casino (and their own incompetence). While on a more broad level, it was an effort to ensure potential tourists feel safe coming to Vegas. However, as the movie shows, the fact that Sheriff Lombardo and the LVMPD were dealing with national, rather than the local, media prevented them from so easily covering up the many inconsistencies within their narrative of what happened that day.

“What Happened in Vegas” is a very fast paced movie that covers a lot of ground. If you have the opportunity to see both of the screenings detailed below I would encourage you to do so. Also, if you live outside of Las Vegas and therefore can’t attend these screenings there are other options to see the movie that you can (and should) take advantage of.

At the official website, WhatHappenedInVegasTheMovie.com, you can order the DVD, stream the movie via video on demand (VOD), or set up a theater screening in your own city. There’s also an option for schools and community organizations to set up an educational screening.

Monday, March 12th Screening with “SURJ”

On March 12th, a free DVD screening of What Happened in Vegas will be hosted by members of Showing Up for Racial Justice, Las Vegas. This screening will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas, which is located at 3616 East Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89115.

Via the description on their Facebook event page:

Join SURJ LV as we view and discuss the award-winning documentary, What Happened In Vegas by filmmaker Ramsey Denison. After the film Kelly W. Patterson from Nevada Cop Block (NVCopBlock.org), who appeared in the film, will be on hand to answer questions as we discuss what we’ve watched.

This is the film that the police don’t want you to see.

Mr. Denison has graciously given SURJ LV permission to show the film free of charge, but he encourages everyone to bring donations for NV Cop Block to further the work they are doing in the community.

As is stated in the invite, SURJ LV  has asked that I do a question and answer session as part of the discussion that they will be holding at the conclusion of the screening. I very much appreciate them setting up the screening and, based on my own personal experiences at events they have held, I fully expect that discussion to be a very valuable addition to the movie itself.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

Monday, March 19th AMC Theater Screening

Exactly one week later, on March 19th, What Happened in Vegas will premier in a Las Vegas theater for the first time outside of a film festival. (Last year it showed at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival, for which it was awarded “Best Documentary,” and at the Anthem Film Festival, where it won the grand prize award.)

That screening will take place at the AMC Rainbow Promenade 10 theaters, which is located at 2321 N. Rainbow Promenade, Las Vegas, Nevada. One thing that should be noted is that the movie screening is being held independent of the AMC theater group (essentially, the theater is being rented for the screening) where it is being hosted. Therefore, tickets are not being sold through the theater box office and must be purchased online, via Tugg.com at this link.

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Police Interference with Las Vegas Showings

As previously mentioned, outside of the two festival showings, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is very much not because of a lack of interest. In fact, three different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

After the Eclipse Theater in Downtown Las Vegas expressed interest in showing What Happened in Vegas, “some (LVMPD) officers stopped by” and that interest suddenly disappeared.

However, in all those cases that initial interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s even been reported that they received visits from representatives of the LVMPD to help them make that decision. Sources I’ve been in contact with have also told me that Metro has issued a memo to all of their officers directing them not to discuss What Happened in Vegas publicly.

Once you see the movie, you will very much understand why Metro desperately doesn’t want it to be shown theatrically within the city of Las Vegas. It very clearly, convincingly, and dramatically lays out the criminal nature of Sheriff Lombardo and others at the top of the LVMPD and the real consequences of it for the residents and visitors of Las Vegas.

Body Cam Video of Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder by Officer Kenneth Lopera

The LVMPD’s Shifting Timeline for the Oct. 1st Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Related Posts

Henderson Police “Not Concerned About” Violent History of Newly Hired Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres

Newly hired Henderson NV Deputy Chief of Police Thedrick Andres shot Juan May during an off-duty incident while he was a sergeant at the Arlington Police Department in Texas

A photo taken earlier in the evening shows newly hired Henderson Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres and Juan May, the man Andres shot to death after a fight on a party bus.

In November, LaTesha Watson, formerly a deputy police chief with the Arlington (TX) Police Department was sworn in to replace Moers as the Henderson chief of police. Thedrick Andres, who served at the APD with Watson before retiring as a lieutenant, was subsequently hired to replace Long as Watson’s deputy police chief.

While there has been some unhappiness expressed over the department’s decision to pick candidates from out of state as replacements, Deputy Chief Andres’ work history would seem to be right on par with those working within Las Vegas area police departments. That history includes three incidents of violence, two of which involved the use of a firearm by Andres while he was off-duty, at the Arlington (TX) Police Department.

During what was described as a road rage incident, Andres pulled his gun on another driver after claiming that driver had threatened him with a hatchet. That “hatchet” that reportedly caused him to believe his life was in danger turned out to be a plastic ice scraper. Previously, while employed at the New Orleans Police Department, Andres was also accused of using excessive force in a citizen complaint.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Party Bus Shooting

The most troubling incident from Andres’ past was his fatal shooting of a Marine veteran named Juan May in June of 2014. That incident began with a birthday party, which took place on a “party bus.” Although May and other relatives of his who were among the twenty people on that bus didn’t know Andres or that he was (at the time) a sergeant with the Arlington Police Department, the group picture above implies there was possibly some mutual friendships between them.

Juan May was murdered by Henderson Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres while he was a Sgt. at the Arlington Police Department

Juan May

According to descriptions, at some point someone (presumably May) jokingly suggested that Andres should dance on a stripper pole that was on the bus. That apparently offended Andres and led him to begin directing derogatory remarks at May and his relatives. This later escalated into a physical fight once they left the bus after Andres approached May and reignited the argument.

There are some differences in the details of what happened next among eyewitness statements. However, there are several common denominators among them. Everyone agrees that Andres is the one who approached May and began the final argument and that he had been drinking on the party bus. They also agree that Andres also hit Juan’s cousin, Patrick May, who was attempting to break up the fight.

The other point of agreement is that shortly after, when Juan May was walking back to his car, Andres began running to his own car. Witnesses state that “someone” yelled that he had a gun in his vehicle. Andres, in fact, retrieved that gun and killed May with it, later claiming he had fired in self-defense.

Not surprisingly (since grand juries are primarily used for that purpose in cases involving police officers), he was eventually exonerated by a grand jury in spite of the retrieval of a weapon after a fight being pretty well established as an act of premeditation.

Police Chief Latesha Watson is Not Concerned

It shouldn’t be surprising that Chief Watson isn’t concerned about Andres’ past. Of course, she worked with him for years in Texas and obviously is the reason he was hired to be the second in command at the Henderson Police Department. In spite of the fact her statement that “if someone was found guilty of wrongdoing, then they wouldn’t have a job,” when applied to police officers is at best a technicality, it’s not something that should be unexpected.

The Henderson Police Department's newly hired Deputy Chief of Police, Thedrick Andres, and Chief of Police, LaTesha Watson

Thedrick Andres and LaTesha Watson

However, the lack of concern by the City of Henderson is something that should draw a few more raised eyebrows. After all, Watson and Andres were hired to replace two police executives who were forced to resign after sexual harassment claims were made against them and the Henderson City Council was caught covering that up by portraying it as a “mutual parting of ways.

In addition, Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn, who previously resigned from a city government position in North Las Vegas after a sexual harassment scandal, is currently under investigation again for (you guessed it) sexual harassment in Henderson and Mayor Debra March has also just been sanctioned over ethics violations. (At this point, it takes a bit of searching to find someone in the Henderson city government that isn’t under some sort of investigation.)

When you consider all that, maybe you should look to hire someone who doesn’t already have a history that includes excessive force complaints and pulling guns on (or actually shooting) unarmed people while off-duty. Maybe that’s a good idea for the City of Henderson for PR reasons, if nothing else. You know, hire someone who is less likely to create yet another misconduct scandal.

Of course, Henderson is the city known for not prosecuting (and later promoting) a cop who was caught on video repeatedly kicking a man suffering from diabetic shock in the head, because “they train officers to do that in the police academy.”

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

First Amendment Audit: Cop Blocker Nasty Nathanial Assaulted By Morro Bay Chief of Police Gregory Allen

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas was assaulted and unlawfully detained by Morro Bay Police Officers, including Police Chief Gregory Allen

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas was assaulted and unlawfully detained by Morro Bay (CA) Chief of Police Gregory Allen and Officer Greg Gruich.

The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block by “Nasty” Nathanial Thomas, via reader submission. You can (and should) visit Nathanial’s YouTube channel (click here) to see other videos he has posted. In addition you can see other posts involving Nathanial that have previously been published at NVCopBlock.org by clicking here, here, and here.

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.

This video shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” As Thomas explains in more detail within his description, that consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

Obviously, this video is very much an example of that (commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them). As can be seen on the video, during this audit Thomas was approached by Morro Bay Chief Of Police Gregory Allen, who was accompanied by Officer Greg Gruich. They then proceeded to demand ID from him, stating that filming inside the lobby was a misdemeanor crime based on an city ordinance which they claimed not to know the code for.

After Thomas declined to identify himself, based on it being an unlawful detention for exercising a legal right, he was assaulted, thrown to the ground, and placed under arrest. That arrest was later classified as a detention and no charges were filed as a result, although Thomas states that he was held within a police car for over an hour while in handcuffs. It’s also worth mentioning that Chief Allen and Officer Gruich addressed Thomas as “Nate” numerous times throughout the video. That obviously implies that they in fact did know who he was already.

Note: In Nevada, the police are limited by law [NRS 171.123(4)] from detaining a person for longer than one hour total without establishing probable cause to make an arrest. In addition, that maximum time is not an open window to detain people for a full hour. The actual time someone can be detained is predicated on the reasonable amount of time it should take to investigate the crime the person being detained is (reasonably) suspected of. (This is a state law specific to Nevada, it may not apply if you live in a different state.)

Department Contact Information:

Morro Bay Police Department
850 Morro Bay Blvd
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-6225

Police Officials Involved In Incident
Chief Gregory Allen – Phone: (805) 772-6284
Officer Greg Gruich

App & Social Media Links
Morro Bay Police Department on Facebook
Morro Bay Police Department on Twitter
Morro Bay PD App

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office
1035 Palm Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
(805) 781-5800

District Attorney
Dan Dow
Contact Form

Social Media Links
San Luis Obispo County Facebook Page
San Luis Obispo County Twitter Account
San Luis Obispo County Youtube Channel
San Luis Obispo County on Flickr
San Luis Obispo County LinkedIn Account

Assaulted While Legally Filming in Public

On February 6, 2018 I was physically assaulted by the Morro Bay Chief Of Police Gregory Allen, and uniformed Officer Greg Gruich, while conducting a First Amendment Audit outside of the city’s police station.

Morro Bay Chief of Police Gregory Allen

Morro Bay (CA.) Police Chief Gregory Allen

First Amendment Audits are a form of activism. It is where individuals, such as myself, test the responses of public officials by openly filming government facilities from public view. Police stations are often an ideal location for a First Amendment Audit.

As an auditor I have filmed everything from police stations to correctional facilities to courthouses to military installations to even NASA. If it can be seen in public then it can be filmed.

Now here is the challenge that First Amendment Auditors have. A number of people are under the impression that you need permission to film government buildings or public officials. I can’t even count the number of times that I have heard things like “your not allowed to film a Federal facility” or “your not allowed to take pictures here.” This is where as an auditor you are given the opportunity to educate people.

What it all comes down to is that there can be no expectation to privacy when in a public place. This does not exclude public officials, such as police officers.

Now I expect a private security guard making minimum wage for standing outside the entrance of a Walmart to be ignorant of the law. However, I do expect someone, such as Chief Allen, whom before coming to Morro Bay was a 34 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, to understand the basic laws concerning public photography.

Video Of Assault

But whether or not Chief Allen was ignorant of the law, or simply chose to ignorant it, he felt it necessary to physically assault me. With assistance of Officer Gruich, Chief Allen threw me to ground where my head hit the concrete.

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas

“Nasty” Nathanial

My hands were then twisted behind my back in a very aggressive and painful manor. I was then handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a hot police car while Chief Allen and his goons tried so desperately to figure out some way to charge me with a crime.

After about an hour I was released without any charges. Why was I not charged with anything? The answer is actually very simple. Because there was NO CRIME! At least not on my end.

As for Chief Allen and Officer Gruich, I can think of a handful of crimes they committed last February 6, such as assault, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and so on…….. Will the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office file criminal charges against Chief Allen and Officer Gruich? I think you probably know the answer to that.

Regardless of how this incident plays out, in the end Chief Allen and Officer Gruich need to be held accountable for their actions. Thank you for reading.

Nasty Nathanial Thomas

Local Media Coverage of the Incident


Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Update: Details Revealed About Evidence, Previous Arrests of Las Vegas Ex-Cop Finally Charged in 1997 Rape and Murder

Previous Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer Murder

At a preliminary hearing, court documents revealed LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall already had a criminal history before the 1997 rape and murder he was finally charged with in January.

Last week, I wrote about former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr., who was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. The original story was that a “lack of funding” prevented the testing of the Iverson’s rape kit and other DNA evidence from the crime scene. Presumably, that made it impossible to prosecute him at the time from a lack of evidence.

After receiving a grant from the New York District Attorney’s Office, the rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016. Then, in February of 2017, Sewall’s DNA was positively matched to that rape kit. As a result, Officer Sewall was finally charged with rape and murder earlier this month (Jan. 10th).

A sample of Sewall’s DNA had actually been available since 1999, when he was sentenced to (just) probation for a separate arrest on multiple on duty sex crimes, and he was accused by prosecutors of Iverson’s murder the very same day her body was found. Once again though, since they couldn’t scrape together the cash to test that one rape kit, Sewall was able to avoid prosecution for twenty-plus years.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

When he was eventually arrested  last month Sewall essentially confessed to the murder of Iverson in a statement to Metro detectives. Although, in a quote published by Mike Shoro of the Las Vegas Review Journal it does sound like he is looking to claim it was an accident:

“During the interview, he admitted to engaging Iverson in sex for money,” Sewall’s arrest warrant said. “During their sexual encounter, Iverson was shot. Sewall couldn’t account for why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson. He knew she was shot in the head and he immediately fled the scene.”

A Previous History of Violence Against Women

However, like most cases of crimes and misconduct committed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, it has now come out after the fact that the real story is quite a bit different than what was originally reported. Not only did court documents reveal even more details about his arrest history that predated the murder, but it also raises serious questions about why he couldn’t have been prosecuted even without the DNA evidence.

Rape Murder Charges Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.

Those documents, which were made public at a preliminary hearing last week, also show that Metro police officers had responded to a domestic violence call at Sewall’s house in 1995, two years prior to the murder. Although he (not surprisingly) was never charged with a crime as a result, a .357 revolver was confiscated from Sewall by those officers.

As I mentioned in the original post, Officer Sewall was also arrested earlier in 1997 in a video sting operation for forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts. He was on duty and used the threat of arrest in those sexual assaults. That arrest led to his resignation from the LVMPD.

In addition, although he was only sentenced to probation for those rapes, that sentence is what required him to submit a DNA sample in 1999. As was once again mentioned in the previous post, Sewall also was arrested while he was awaiting sentencing in 1999 for propositioning an undercover cop who was posing as a prostitute in San Diego.

Sufficient Evidence Twenty Years Ago?

Based on those court documents, that .357 revolver and those previous arrests would have represented a pretty significant piece of evidence in the 1997 case for which Sewall currently faces charges. In fact, had it been pursued that alone probably would have been more than enough to tie him to the murder and secure a conviction.

Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Sewall Murder Rape Victim Nadia Iverson

An Undated Photo of Nadia Iverson.

Back then, before Clark County’s “Blue Card” law was overturned, all handguns had to be registered with Metro. As a result, Sewall’s was officially listed as an owner of such a weapon. Obviously, there was also a record of that from when he had it impounded during his domestic violence incident as well.

According to the current arrest warrant detectives at the time determined a bullet “consistent with a .357 revolver Sewall previously registered with Metro” was used to kill Iverson. In spite of that, Las Vegas police seemingly did not even attempt to match the bullet to the gun they knew Sewall had at the time.

Not only that, but when Sewall was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego while he was already awaiting sentencing for raping prostitutes, he had that same revolver in his possession. Meanwhile, neither the LVMPD or Clark County prosecutors mad any effort to acquire the gun they obviously suspected he had used to murder someone after it was confiscated by San Diego police.

Instead, Sewall was sentenced to probation and that revolver was later destroyed by the SDPD, eliminating any chance it could be tested for a ballistics match. Officer Sewall proceeded to violate that probation numerous times over the course of the next five years with relatively little consequences for those violations. Also, as can be evidenced by his Facebook profile, Sewall was living a pretty comfortable life during the twenty years Iverson’s rape and murder went unpunished.

Incompetence or an Intentional Lack of Effort?

As has already been pointed out in previous posts, the excuse that there was a lack of funds is a ridiculous excuse for not testing the thousands of rape kits that have sat untouched in evidence rooms from as long ago as the mid-eighties. Las Vegas area city governments and police departments have had no problem coming up with well over a billion dollars in total for new government buildings, publicly funded NFL stadiums, and faulty radio systems.

They even came up with $400,000 to pay off the police chief and deputy chief at the Henderson Police Department after they were forced to resign for sexual harassment. The idea that they couldn’t somehow come up with enough money to test that one rape kit that would positively identify the person they suspected in the case literally from day one should be considered an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

But even if you disregard the DNA evidence altogether, they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time charging and even convicting Sewall. Detectives investigating the crime scene had already determined she was killed by a gun matching one they knew for a fact he owned.

The fact he had it impounded by the San Diego police during his 1999 arrest obviously means he still had it in 1997 after the murder. They very easily could have gotten a warrant to have it tested right after the murder or while it was in the possession of the San Diego police.

Regardless of any other evidence (which I’m sure there was), matching the gun to crime would by itself be pretty damning. A prostitute being raped and then killed using a gun owned by someone with a history of sexual assault and violence against women (and in particular prostitutes) would be pretty hard to explain away.

Instead of presenting (or apparently even seeking) that evidence however, investigators just filed it away along with the rape kit that they don’t seem to have had any interest in ever having processed. At best, this would have to be classified as a huge case of incompetence by the Las Vegas police and prosecutors.

In fact, it’s almost like they intentionally tried to avoid prosecuting one of their own by making sure the evidence didn’t get found. Almost exactly like that.

Original Local News Report

Related Posts

Grand Jury to Review Manslaughter Charge Against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera in Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Grand Jury Manslaughter

A Las Vegas grand jury will review the involuntary manslaughter charge against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera, who used an unauthorized choke-hold to murder Tashii Brown in May 2017.

Lawyers for Las Vegas Police Officer Kenneth Lopera (he didn’t personally attend) were in court Thursday (Jan. 25) for a preliminary hearing. It was described in a story by the local Fox affiliate as a date-setting hearing.

In May of 2017,  Lopera used an illegal choke-hold to murder Tashii Farmer-Brown, who had approached Lopera and another officer at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip asking for help. (See description below) Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statements have referred to it as a “unauthorized restraint technique” in order to try and make it sound less violent than it actually was.

During the hearing, it was announced that prosecutors will have a grand jury review Officer Lopera’s involuntary manslaughter charge. Lopera has also been charged with one count of “oppression under the color of law.” That too will be reviewed by the grand jury.

The LVPPA, the Las Vegas police union, is providing legal defense (and has set up a fundraiser that violates the GoFundMe rules, but GoFundMe has refused to take down) for Lopera. Steve Grammas, their president is quoted as saying that they “welcome the review.” But then he’s also on record stating that he thinks hiring a cop who has murdered three people to officially advise cops that shoot someone is a good idea because “he has a lot of experience with that.”

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office was given until March 26th to seek an indictment against Lopera by the judge. The grand jury can choose to endorse those previous charges or could revise them.

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.

Ploy by Police & Prosecutors to Drop the Charges?

Of course, that last part about “revising” the charges is something that likely will cause people who have followed this case to take notice. Grand jury hearings are usually just a formality within the process of filing charges. The old saying, “any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich” is often used to illustrate just how easy it is.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Officer Kenneth Lopera

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera

However, as has been pointed out before here at NVCopBlock.org, prosecutors often use grand juries to justify not indicting police officers after they kill someone. District attorneys are in full control of the proceedings and decide what evidence is presented (or not). Essentially, they throw the case then use the fact the grand jury didn’t issue an indictment to claim they did everything they could but the case just wasn’t strong enough.

They are also ostensibly the representatives of the victims during the grand jury proceedings, although they really work for the other side. Much more often than not, that carries over to when cops are accused of criminal behavior. The fact that grand juries are by law a secret hearing, with criminal penalties for anyone that discusses what transpired, ensures that no one (including even the jurors) can expose or even criticize their lackluster efforts.

The fact that Officer Lopera is only facing a manslaughter charge (involuntary at that) is itself a point of contention among locals. Most who have seen the body camera footage (embedded below) of Lopez repeatedly tazing, beating, and then choking Tashii Farmer-Brown to death feel it was a pretty clear cut case of murder.

If a grand jury somehow decides not to uphold even those charges, things are going to get hot early this year in Vegas.

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Farmer-Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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After Virginia Police Raid Wrong Address Innocent College Student Was Beaten, Arrested, and Evicted From Home

Maurice Neblett Police Raid Wrong House Cause Eviction

After Virginia police raided the wrong address, innocent Virginia Union University student Maurice Neblett was beaten, falsely arrested, and evicted from his apartment.

Note: This post is based on a a reader submission shared with Nevada Cop Block by Maurice Neblett. 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.

(Several quotes used below were taken from a previous article on this incident by Amelia Heymann, a contributing writer at the Commonwealth Times, which is the student newspaper for Virginia Union University.)

During a February 2014 police raid, Maurice Neblett, who was naked at the time, was pulled out of bed, beaten by as many as a dozen policemen, and then falsely arrested. He was punched, kicked, and further battered with flashlights, rifle butts, and other objects in a beating that went on for at least five minutes.

Eventually, he was placed in a choke-hold and then handcuffed. While handcuffed, one of the officers involved began verbally taunting him. That officer, Richmond Police Officer Mark Sims, reportedly whispered in his ear, “Who has the most power, us or the Bloods?” and “We should have done this to your brother, but it does not matter because he will be gone for a very long time. You will too.”

Neblett’s address at the time was 531 W. Bacon St. in Richmond, Va. The address on their warrant was “Building Two, Apartment 2120 at 610 W. Bacon St.” Not only were police at the wrong address, the address listed on their warrant doesn’t actually exist. Even if it had been a legitimate address the corresponding number would be a block away.

Further complicating the story is the fact that the two officers who obtained the warrant claimed they had conducted a 30 day investigation after they “smelled marijuana in the area.” No drugs, or anything else illegal, were found during the raid. Nor was any evidence of  illegal activity by Neblett or anyone at his address ever found. The only charges filed against him, two felonies for “assaulting an officer,” were later dropped.

No connection to the Bloods, the street gang referenced by Sims while they were beating Neblett, has ever been established. Neblett has also continuously maintained that he had offered no resistance to justify the force used against him. Neblett claims the officers discussed who would among them would like to volunteer to “be an assaultee.”

Being released from jail and having the charges eventually dropped wasn’t the end of the disruption that the Richmond Police Department’s actions that night caused for Neblett, though. Because he was initially charged with a federal crime, Neblett was evicted from his apartment. He ended up homeless as a result, living out of his car for several months.

In addition, he states that he suffers daily from anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of sleep and “a profound and insurmountable loss of trust in the state, the city and their law enforcement officials.” Neblett is a criminal justice major at Virginia Union University and obviously this raid and its aftermath greatly affected his studies.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Neblett says. “I’m trying to figure out if I’m in a nightmare.”

However, Neblett isn’t just focusing on what happened to him and his own problems as a result he has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police Department and hopes the lawsuit can not only find justice for him but also can lead to changes in policy within the department that would prevent raids such as this from happening in the future.

“I’m here, I’m breathing, a lot of people that have been in similar situations aren’t here today,” Neblett says.”This is bigger than me, I’m just a grain of salt.”

Also, regardless of whether or how the fact he is a black man may have influenced the actions of the police who raided his house, Neblett maintains that this should be viewed as an issue which is bigger than just a potential race-based incident:

“This is not a color bearing issue,” Neblett says. “It is important we support this because it could happen to anyone. We have to address again that no one is above the law and they have to be held accountable for their actions”

As noted above, Maurice Neblett has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police. Obviously, regardless of the eventual outcome lawsuits and everything that goes into filing them can be very expensive. That’s one of the reasons the police and governments choose the targets that they do. If you can’t afford to fight them in court, then they often get away with even the most egregious abuses.

Neblett has asked us to share a link to a page he set up to help offset the costs of lawyers and other expenses involved in pursuing justice in this case. If you are able to, you can donate by clicking this link to his GoFundMe account. Even if you can’t help financially, you can help him by sharing that link to others.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Murder Charges Filed Against Former Las Vegas Cop After 1997 Rape Kit is Finally Processed Twenty Years Later

Rape Kit 1997 Murder Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. has been charged with murder after a rape kit from 1997 was finally processed in 2017.

Earlier this week, former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. Iverson’s body had been found by a construction crew at an unoccupied apartment in May of that year. He was finally arrested on January 11th in Reno, where he had been living recently.

Sewall was named by prosecutors as a suspect the very same day that her body was discovered. However, although they had acquired a sample of his DNA in 1999, a positive identification of Sewall wasn’t made until February of 2017. The reason for that is because, due to a lack of funding, the rape kit collected from Iverson was not sent for processing until March of 2016.

In the meantime, Sewall spent a large percentage of those twenty years on probation for sex crimes committed while on duty prior to Iverson’s murder. In February of ’97 Officer Sewall had been caught on video attempting to force a woman to perform oral sex on him. Instead of being fully prosecuted for that crime, he was allowed to resign from the department and given a plea deal for two charges of oppression under the color of law.

He was then sentenced to probation, even though he was arrested in San Diego for soliciting a prostitute while awaiting sentencing. During that time on probation, he was caught in possession of a knife and gun by probation officers, failed to submit required reports, and also did not comply with a sex offender counseling program he had been ordered to complete.

Finally in 2004, he was sentenced to almost two years in prison for repeated probation violations. Even after being released from prison, he still didn’t comply the restrictions he was subject to as a convicted felon. At the time he was arrested in Reno, he had not registered his address change after moving from California and had to be tracked down by detectives. According to media reports (video embedded below), he then confessed to the murder of Iverson.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The failure of police departments and city governments to fund the testing of rape kits across the country has left huge backlogs and prevented the arrest and conviction of rapists. As a result, many of those perpetrators have been able to continue victimizing women and committing other violent crimes for years and even decades in some cases. Others have been falsely convicted only to be exonerated once the testing was finally conducted.

In Southern Nevada alone 6,473 rape kits went untested, including approximately 5,600 connected to investigations within the LVMPD. It wasn’t until they received a $2.7 million grant from the New York State District Attorney’s Office that those kits began to get tested within the past couple of years.

Over 4,000 of those rape kits are still in the process of being tested or have not been sent out for testing to this day. Meanwhile, in recent times Metro has spent almost $300 million on a new headquarters complex, $42 million dollars on a new radio system that never worked properly (of which allegations of favoritism and kickbacks have been made), and another $26 million dollars to pay for the radio system that replaced it.

The City of Las Vegas also spent $185 million to build a new City Hall. That and the LVMPD’s HQ were both initiated in 2008. So somehow they managed to find the funding for those optional (and heavily criticized) expenditures during the worst recession in 70 years, but not for the (relatively) tiny fraction of cost that would be involved in the testing of the rape kits.

And that doesn’t even take into account the annual cost of payouts to victims of the misconduct and violence perpetrated by Las Vegas area police officers. In several recent years that money alone would have paid for all of the rape kits to be processed. That’s especially relevant when discussing a crime that was committed by one of those officers and then went unsolved for twenty years because there was no money for the rape kit to be processed.

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Update: LVMPD Officer Caught on Body Cam Beating Woman For Littering Sentenced to Year in Prison

Excessive Force Prison Sentence Las Vegas Police Officer Richard Scavone

Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Richard Scavone has been sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a handcuffed woman as part of a plea deal.

A Las Vegas police officer has been sentenced to one year in prison as part of a plea deal for beating a handcuffed woman. As I posted about previously on NVCopBlock, LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone was caught on his own body camera assaulting the woman in January of 2015. He had decided that Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was a prostitute, even though he readily admitted later to having no actual proof of that.

He then decided to arrest her for loitering and also for littering, after she threw her coffee on the ground. In the process of profiling her for legally standing on a public street, Scavone became angry because she cursed at him. In retaliation for her not respecting his authoritah (AKA committing “contempt of cop“), he assaulted her multiple times.

In addition to throwing her on the ground, he also slammed her head against the hood of his car twice (after she complained about him touching her breasts), grabbed her by the throat and hair, and slammed her into the door jam of the car as he was shoving her into the back seat. During that entire time, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was handcuffed and not in any way whatsoever physically resisting.

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.

As I also posted about, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz  later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officer Scavone. Also named in the excessive force lawsuit were the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Travis Buechler, a former Corrections Officer. Buechler, who has since been fired for some undisclosed reason, stood by and watched Scavone beat a woman like a Good Cop without reporting it or interceding in any way to stop it. She reportedly suffered permanent injuries to her head, back, and neck during the attack. That lawsuit was settled for $200,000 of taxpayers’ money in July of 2016.

Eventually, due to the body cam footage (embedded below) and the pending lawsuit Scavone was charged with several federal crimes including assault and falsifying an official police report to justify that assault. In September of 2017, he accepted a deal to plead guilty to just one count of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

In spite of having all but one charge dropped and a letter from retired LVMPD Sgt. Raymond Reyes that spoke glowingly of his award winning career, impeccable reputation, and referred to him as “cop of cops,” Scavone actually received a harsher than expected sentence. Earlier this month, on January 11th, he was sentenced to a year in prison and an additional year of probation. He was also fined $20,000 given 300 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II.

Body Camera Footage of Officer Scavone’s Assault:

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New Years on the Las Vegas Strip: LVMPD Vice Detective Already Under FBI Investigation Accidentally Shot Tourist

Las Vegas Strip New Years Negligent Discharge LVMPD Det Al Beas

LVMPD Vice Detective Al Beas, who is already being investigated as part of an FBI corruption probe, was responsible for a negligent discharge that injured a man on the Las Vegas Strip during New Years.

NYE Negligent Discharge

It turns out that some of the fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip happened after New Years this year. An officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department managed to fire his rifle while moving barriers after the annual party on the Strip ended.

That round from his personal AR-15 (which Metro officers are allowed to carry while on duty) even managed to hit a bystander. Reportedly, two other people in the other thought they had been hit as well, but had no “visible injuries.”

Presumably, the injuries the unidentified man who was shot suffered were minor and resulted from the bullet bouncing off the pavement, rather than a direct impact. However, there are several interesting things about the negligent discharge involving Vegas’ local “Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight” (but does shoot early and often anyway). Prominently, among these is the lack of actual information that has been provided about it.

As mentioned in the video (by “What Happened in Vegas,” director Ramsey Denison) embedded below, the coverage of the incident itself initially received very little coverage locally. The post-NYE press release from the LVMPD didn’t mention it at all and it wasn’t reported by local news until two days later.

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.

Even then, what coverage was provided didn’t even discuss the nature of the injury beyond describing it as “minor.” Early reports also failed to identify the officer involved. It wasn’t until that information was leaked and subsequently reported by independent media sources that some of those blanks started getting filled in.

An obvious reason for this is that attracting tourists to Las Vegas for New Years is one of the biggest cash cows for the casinos located on the Strip. The LVMPD, those casinos, and the city government all go to great lengths to prevent anything getting out that might make people feel unsafe or question whether they should come to Vegas.

That’s especially true after the shooting at the Route 91 Festival on October 1st. As also mentioned in the video below and illustrated within “What Happened in Vegas,” by and large the local media is more than happy to play along with and facilitate that, as well. (The fact that the award winning documentary about corruption and police brutality in Las Vegas has been kept out of theaters within the city is itself an example of that.)

The LVMPD’s Corrupt Vice Squad and the FBI Probe

Beyond that, there might be another reason for the silent treatment. The officer responsible for the negligent discharge is one of the many poster boys (and girls) for corruption in and around the police departments patrolling the Las Vegas area. That officer, Detective Al Beas, is already being investigated by the FBI as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe into the LVMPD Vice Squad.

Several years ago Beas, along with Detective Chris Baughman, Detective Warren Gray, and Lt. Karen Hughes, were praised locally and portrayed in media as a group of crusading heroes that were saving women who had been forced into prostitution. In reality, they themselves were victimizing women and participating in sex trafficking.

Eventually, it was exposed that they were working on the behalf of certain pimps, including record producer and hip-hop artist Mally Mall, to eliminate their competition. Not only were they arresting the rivals of their “clients” they were also sleeping with prostitutes and then coaching those women to act as witnesses against the pimps at trial.

Lt. Hughes and Deputy District Attorney Liz Mercer, the lead prosecutor who convicted those pimps, reportedly were also sexually involved with the detectives and even the prostitutes. Mercer is now married to Det. Baughman, which has been characterized as a tactic to avoid having to testify against him, via spousal privilege.

Several of those pimps, including Arman IzadiOcean FlemingRaymond Sharpe, and Micah Duncan (aka Wheelchair Mike) are seeking new trials based on the revelations from the FBI’s corruption investigation.  So, yet again, due to who is involved this unrelated incident carried the potential to shine a light on a much larger issue that the LVMPD would much rather keep quiet about.

BTW, in spite of stating, “Officers guarding a crowd without intending to use their weapon should not have a round in the chamber,” Metro spokesman Jay Rivera has indicated that Detective Beas is not expected to be disciplined for his negligent discharge. In addition, Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas said he is unaware of anyone ever being fired for an unintentional discharge.

I wonder how that would go if someone without one of those Magic Uniforms that renders its wearer impervious to meaningful consequences for their actions (upto and including murder) had fired off a round (and hit someone), unintentionally or otherwise, on the Strip during New Years.

What Happened in Vegas

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas explores the extremely controversial killings of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police and the cover ups that followed. Several other instances of violent, racist, and/or outright criminal acts by members of the LVMPD are also featured to illustrate the overall systemic corruption within the department.

What Happened in Vegas also addresses several unanswered questions and issues about the investigation surrounding the shootings from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock during the “Route 91 Festival” on Oct. 1st. What Happened in Vegas is currently available on iTunes as well as on VOD (Video on Demand) or DVD.


“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

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