Tag Archives: Police State

Tashii Brown-Farmer Asked For Help; LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Tased And Choked Him To Death Instead

Unarmed and Seeking Help, But Tasered and Then Choked to Death Instead

Shortly after midnight on May 14th, Tashii Brown-Farmer approached two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers inside the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Stating that he was being chased by someone, Brown-Farmer requested help from Officer Kenneth Lopera and a partner who has not yet been named. Although Brown-Farmer had a history of mental illness and was described as “acting erratically” at the time, there has been no indication or allegation that he was behaving violently at any time that night. He also was not armed in any way whatsoever, nor was there any indication that there was ever any reason to believe he might be armed.

Instead of being dealt with as someone seeking help, Brown-Farmer was instead treated by the officers (who ironically are part of the tourism safety division of the LVMPD). This caused Brown-Farmer to feel threatened and run away, initiating a chase through an employees area of the casino and eventually into the parking garage of the Venetian. That is where Officer Lopera caught up to Brown-Farmer and proceeded to taser, beat, and eventually choke him to death.

In the end, Tashii Brown-Farmer was tasered seven times, punched repeatedly, and finally placed into a “rear naked choke hold” for over a minute until he was no longer conscious nor breathing. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The video embedded below shows body camera footage of the entirety of that chase and the deadly conclusion, in which Officer Kenneth Lopera unnecessarily decides to practice his mixed martial art skills on a man who is already being held down by at least two Venetian security guards.

Note: The media and the police have referred to Brown-Farmer both as “Tashii Brown” and “Tashii Farmer” (during their initial press conference, the LVMPD also spelled his first name wrong, excluding the second “i” that belongs at the end) without any official explanation for the discrepancy .

Bad Rationalizations and Media Complicity

The justification given for the deadly violence that Officer Lopera unnecessarily inflicted on Brown-Farmer was the typical “he wouldn’t comply” mantra that is often used. However, you can clearly see in the video that Lopera began using his taser on Brown-Farmer without allowing for much time at all for him to follow his orders. He then continued yelling at and tasing a man who was already having mental health issues.

The other thing that is readily apparent in the Venetian surveillance videos (embedded below within the full press conference video) is that when Ofc. Lopera began punching and hitting Brown-Farmer security guards from the casino had already began holding him down. Even more unnecessary than the punches Lopera threw was the choke hold he soon used to choke the life out of Brown-Farmer.

Not only were the security guards already there, but not long after numerous Metro police officers also arrived. There was no reason for Lopera to start choking him in the first place and there was no reason for him to continue choking him for over a minute, even after he had already lost consciousness. In spite of the initial claims released by the LVMPD, Brown-Farmer never attempted to use violence against anyone, including Officer Lopera at any point during this entire confrontation that Lopera initiated and then escalated.

However, not surprisingly, the local media has asked few questions about the official narrative and instead even allowed Metro’s PR department to downplay controversy by initially describing the prohibited rear naked choke hold as a “department authorized neck restraint.” They’ve also yet to challenge the LVMPD’s claim that Brown-Farmer was attempting to car jack the truck that was entering the parking garage as he ran by. Contrary to that claim, which the driver of the truck himself states he didn’t believe to be the case, the video only shows Brown-Farmer briefly touching the tailgate as he stops running. Not attempting to open it and not trying to enter the front (or any other part) of the truck as has been stated.

Instead, the LA Times published a fluff piece that was probably printed word for word as it was received from Metro’s PR department fawning over how “transparent” the LVMPD has become when they murder someone.

The Inevitable Smear Campaign

Of course, the one consistency with Metro is that they never fail to dig up dirt on their victims to try and deflect the attention away from the violent, unnecessary, and unrelated crimes of their officers. Brown-Farmer’s previous criminal record was displayed and highlighted during the press conference, including a murder charge that he was not convicted of. When Officer Kenneth Lopera confronted, chased, and then choked to death Tashii Brown Farmer, he was not at all aware of any of that information. Nor was that in any way relevant to the actions that Lopera took and that were clearly documented on video that night, regardless.

During that press conference, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill also continuously (and purposefully) referred to Brown-Farmer as “the suspect,” in spite of the fact that he was not actually wanted for or even suspected of any crime whatsoever. McMahill even admitted that had he not died Brown-Farmer would not have been charged with any crime. In reality, he was someone that was experiencing a medical issue. In fact, Officer Lopera’s treatment of Brown-Farmer as a suspect for a non-existent crime is what prompted him to run away in the first place.

As you can see in the video below, these type of smear campaigns are business as usual for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police (and other departments). It’s also especially hypocritical given the skeletons within Undersheriff McMahill’s own closet.

A Continued Lack of Accountability At The LVMPD

In spite of the PR campaigns they orchestrate and the willingness of the media to unquestioningly support those phony claims of “transparency” and progress, the simple truth remains that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department still has never held a single police officer within the history of their department accountable for killing someone. Regardless, of how questionable or downright unbelievable the circumstances are behind them, they get a free pass and nothing more than a paid vacation every single time.

Nothing about this case or Metro’s handling of it, indicates that it (or any other case in the near future) will be different.

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The IRS Intentionally Targeted Innocent Small Business Owners in Order to Steal Millions Via Forfeiture Laws

Earlier this month, a report from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General detailed how the Internal Revenue Service used a restriction on deposits to bilk otherwise law abiding individuals and businesses of millions of dollars using asset forfeiture laws. Those restrictions require that any deposits made to a bank above $10,000 be reported to the IRS. The stated intention of that restriction is to draw attention to profits generated by illegal acts, such as terrorism and the violation of drug prohibitions.

In order to escape that scrutiny, many of those involved in such activities employ what is called “structuring,” which consists of splitting large deposits into multiple smaller deposits that are below that $10,000 threshold. However, many others involved in completely legal activities also do the same thing for various innocent reasons. Those reasons include a lack of awareness of those restrictions, insurance policies that limit coverage of deposits to less than that amount, and simply an effort to avoid extra paperwork (often on the advice of bank employees).

While structuring is illegal under the federal Bank Secrecy Act, according to the Inspector General it is really just a technicality that is intended to allow the initiation of an investigation into whether the deposits in question were derived from illegal activities. Instead, the IRS often used the practice of structuring alone as a justification to seize those deposits, via civil asset forfeiture. They also intentionally targeted small businesses and individuals engaged in legal activities due to the fact that they were less likely to be able to fight the forfeitures and in order to avoid “time consuming” investigations of actual criminals.

Via the Washington Post:

They “were not put in place just so that the Government could enforce the reporting requirements,” as the IG’s report puts it.

But according to the report, that’s exactly what happened at the IRS in recent years. The IRS pursued hundreds of cases from 2012 to 2015 on suspicion of structuring, but with no indications of connections to any criminal activity. Simply depositing cash in sums of less than $10,000 was all that it took to arouse agents’ suspicions, leading to the eventual seizure and forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash from people not otherwise suspected of criminal activity.

The IG took a random sample of 278 IRS forfeiture actions in cases where structuring was the primary basis for seizure. The report found that in 91 percent of those cases, the individuals and business had obtained their money legally.

“Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” according to a news release from the IG. “Rather, they were legal businesses such as jewelry stores, restaurant owners, gas station owners, scrap metal dealers, and others.”

More troubling, the report found that the pattern of seizures — targeting businesses that had obtained their money legally — was deliberate.

“One of the reasons why legal source cases were pursued was that the Department of Justice had encouraged task forces to engage in ‘quick hits,’ where property was more quickly seized and more quickly resolved through negotiation, rather than pursuing cases with other criminal activity (such as drug trafficking and money laundering), which are more time-consuming,” according to the news release.

In most cases, the report found, agents followed a protocol of “seize first, ask questions later.” Agents only questioned individuals and business owners after they had already seized their money.

In many cases, the property owners provided plausible explanations for their pattern of deposits. But these explanations appeared to have been disregarded or ignored.

“In most instances, we found no evidence that attempted to verify the property owners’ explanations,” according to the report.

It probably shouldn’t be that surprising that the Feds’ official revenue generators at the IRS jumped on an opportunity to go the extra mile and generate even more cash to fund our disfunctional, violent uncle’s war machine. Nor should it be particulary shocking that they avoided the tedious work of investigating actual criminals in favor of preying on innocent people that lack the ability to fight back.

Incidentally, it’s unknown exactly how much money the IRS stole from innocent businessmen, because they don’t voluntarily disclose those figures and refused to honor Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests for that information even after those requesting it said pretty please.

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Know Your Rights Seminar Held in Las Vegas by Attorney Stephen Stubbs (Video)

Note – this is an update of a previous post: “Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd.” This post includes a video of that know your rights seminar.

On March 23rd in Las Vegas, local attorney Stephen Stubbs held a “know your rights” seminar. Although this know your rights class was open (and very much relevant) to the general public, the primary reason for it being held was recent harassment of motorcycle riders in Las Vegas by the LVMPD (“Metro”) using saturation teams and the gang task force, including a “motorcycle intelligence unit” specifically created to gather information on motorcycle clubs.

As Stubbs mentions in the Facebook Live video embedded below, this harassment has involved the profiling of people that ride motorcycles and several violations of those people’s rights. That includes manufacturing suspicion to stop them, attempting to force passengers to ID themselves, and detaining them longer than is required to perform an investigation related to the (often dubious) offense that they have been stopped for.

Obviously, the motivation behind these targeted stops and the attempts to question those stopped is to gather information about motorcycle clubs under the false pretense that anybody belonging to a motorcycle club is a criminal and the even more flawed pretense that anyone riding a motorcycle and/or fitting a certain description must belong to a motorcycle club. Beyond that, Metro has also been known in recent years to illegally put pressure on public businesses, such as bars, to attempt to force them to exclude members of bike clubs from those businesses. This often is done under the threat of having their liquor license taken away.

Included below are embedded videos containing the entire know your rights seminar, as well as a shorter excerpt discussing a somewhat controversial method of handling general police encounters in which police insist on questioning you even after you’ve already invoked your Fifth Amendment right not to speak (use at your own risk).

Full Video of Know Your Rights Seminar

 

Downtown Las Vegas know your rights flyer by NVCopBlock.org

As regular readers of the CopBlock Network know, Stephen Stubbs has a pretty long history (see “related posts” section below) of defending the civil rights of people (including himself) against the police, especially those departments located within the Las Vegas area. That has included defending motorcyclists against the frequent harassment they receive from the LVMPD.

Stubbs has also in the past done know your rights seminars numerous times at events and for various groups (as well as independently) throughout the Las Vegas area. (See below for an embedded video of a previous know your rights training.) Among other things, these seminars typically will cover issues involving the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments such as the requirements for a legal detainment, when you are obligated to identify yourself to police, your rights when the police want to search you, your right to remain silent and why that’s a good idea, and your rights when filming the police (and why that’s also always a good idea).

In spite of the direct motivation for this particular know your rights seminar being the harassment directed at motorcyclists, the topics and rights discussed were not exclusive to cyclists and are helpful and applicable to anyone that is stopped by the police.

Excerpt: How To Handle General Police Encounters in Nevada

LVMPD doesn’t care about the law

Previous Know Your Rights Seminar by Stephen Stubbs

Related Posts:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been featured numerous times on the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd
  2. “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
  3. Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
  4. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Explains How Not To Get Beaten And/Or Shot By The Police
  6. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  7. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court
  8. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  9. Boulder City (NV) Police “Employee of the Year” Commits Perjury to Arrest Man Interfering With Revenue Generation
  10. Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
  11. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  12. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  13. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  14. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  15. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  16. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  17. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  18. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  19. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  20. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  21. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  22. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  23. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  24. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  25. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  26. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Other Videos:

The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt

Original Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

Lt. Yatomi is Promoted and Put in Charge of Internal Affairs

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