Tag Archives: rights

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

Naptime

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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

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First Amendment Audit: Chicago TSA Agent Claims Filming Airport Security Screening is Illegal, Calls Police

Ohare International Airport TSA Screening First Amendment Audit

A “First Amendment Auditor” was confronted by a TSA supervisor while legally filming security screenings at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and initially threatened with arrest.

Note: The video included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. 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 embedded below shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” 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.

This particular audit took place within the TSA security screening area at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. As you can see in the screenshot above, the TSA employees were getting fairly intimate with some of the passengers going through the screening. (And no, there in fact was neither a movie, nor a dinner provided by the Transportation Security Administration afterwards.) Soon after, one of the screening agents noticed the camera and alerted a supervisor, by whom the camera woman was then confronted.

He approached, (very incorrectly) stated that it was illegal to film the screenings, and even briefly attempted to physically block her camera. Next, the supervisor threatened to call the Chicago police and have her arrested. When that didn’t scare her into stopping, he attempted to make good on that threat by calling (presumably) the police.

In the meantime, while he was on the phone, she returned her attention to filming. During that phone conversation she was also approached by several other TSA employees and told that she was not allowed to film the screenings. However, it is in fact very legal to film the screening area of airports and the screening process itself. The only restriction upon that is a rule against filming (or photographing) the monitors displaying the NSFW images that they take with their body scanners.

The woman in the video (AKA “It’s That Magic You Crave“) frequently posts First Amendment Audits and other videos to her Youtube channel: “Pink Camera Magic.” You can support her by making donations to her via GoFundMe.

***Spoiler Alert***

In the original description for the video on YouTube, a “surprise ending” is mentioned. Whoever the TSA supervisor was talking to apparently informed him that he was wrong and they weren’t going to send any cops down to arrest her for legally filming in public. However, that’s actually not the “surprise.” (Not the biggest one, at least.)

The shocking plot twist is that he told her that and even apologized about being wrong.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Oklahoma Governor: Police Not Complying With Executive Order to Audit Untested Rape Kits

Backlog Untested Rape Kits Police Refusing to Comply Audit Order

The massive backlog of untested rape kits sitting in evidence rooms across the country totals anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands in number.

Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin stated that only about half of the police departments in the state were complying with an executive order she issued in April instructing them to perform an audit of all untested rape kits. To be clear, the order wasn’t to complete the testing of the thousands that are sitting in evidence rooms throughout the state. In fact, it wasn’t even actually to begin testing them. It was simply to perform an inventory and determine just how many of them there are.

For many of those departments, though, the deadline of December 31, 2017 has come and gone. A lieutenant at the El Reno Police Department who states that they did do the audit but it somehow slipped his mind to send the information in. Meanwhile, according to “News9.com” Sgt. Jillian Phippen of the Tulsa Police Department maintains that they just don’t have the personnel or money to do it.

“For us, to do that, to comply with this unfunded mandate, it’s just a lot of money,” said Sgt. Phippen. “We’re already putting my sex crimes detectives back into the field to work patrol positions, so it’s not like we just have extra individuals that can stop what they’re doing and then complete this audit.”

It’s kinda obvious where the priorities of police department are when  one representative states that he “just forgot” to provide the information and the other says that their department has their rape investigators out generating revenue by writing tickets, instead of solving sex crimes.

For her part, Governor Fallin, who has now given them until Feb. 15th to comply, doesn’t seem terribly worried about the fact that thousands of rapists are walking the streets and potentially victimizing other women, when they could have been caught long ago. She “isn’t happy with the lack of cooperation she is getting from law enforcement.” However, she seems to be willing to afford them the benefit of the doubt that they (eventually) will.

“That’s not enough.” Governor Fallin said. “We need to do better and I think everybody’s certainly willing to step up and do it but we need to finish the job.”

Rape survivors, such as Danielle Tudor, aren’t quite so patient, though:

Tudor says that’s not acceptable.

“What is says to me as a rape survivor and unfortunately what it says to future sexual assault victims is, ‘Is it worth it to report it? Is it worth it to have that rape kit done because I have no guarantee that my evidence will even be used in my case.'”

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

A National Issue and a Question of Priorities

It’s a valid concern for victims of rape and other crimes involving sexual assault and it’s not just limited to Oklahoma, either. A 2015 story by USA Today estimated at least 70,000 untested rape kits existed nationwide, based on data obtained through a massive campaign of open records requests. A year earlier, in 2014, the Daily Beast published their own estimate of 400,000 kits that have failed to be tested since the mid 80’s when DNA testing began to be widely used.

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.

Police Need to Take Rape Seriously

Police Don’t

While it’s a handy excuse to ignore things the police don’t really want to be bothered with the “lack of funding” doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. Early last week, I posted about former LVMPD Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.,who was (finally charged with rape and murder twenty years after the crime was committed.

In spite of the fact investigators suspected Sewall literally from day one of their investigation in 1997, the victim’s rape kit wasn’t processed until 2017. Prosecutors supposedly couldn’t find the money to process a rape kit in a case where they already had a suspect, that suspect had a previous history of sex crimes, and they already had access to his DNA profile.

Meanwhile, the LVMPD and the City of Las Vegas managed to scrape together over a half billion dollars between them to build a new police headquarters and city hall. Just for good measure the nearby suburb of North Las Vegas also built new fancy building for their police department and city government.

Just as outrageous is the story Joey Lankowski posted here at NVCopBlock.org yesterday. Within it, he detailed how it was recently exposed that Henderson (another Vegas suburb) Police Chief Patrick Moers and his second in command, Deputy Police Chief Bobby Long, were forced to resign as the result of a sexual harassment scandal.

As part of what was originally characterized as a “voluntary separation,” Moers and Long received about $400,000 for accrued vacation hours and benefits. I have very little doubt that that money alone would have funded testing for quite a few of the 4,000+ untested rape kits within Southern Nevada. If not, then the $750 million in public funds the Clark County Commission voted to give the Raiders for a new stadium certainly would.

Are There Other, Worse, Reasons for the Lack of Urgency?

Of course, the reason that there wasn’t a more immediate uproar about Chief Moers’ and Deputy Chief Long’s large payoffs was because the Henderson City Government kept the true reason for their resignations under wraps for months until an anonymous source tipped off the local newspaper.

Similarly, Officer Sewall spent the vast majority of those twenty years violating his probation terms without suffering any significant repercussions. Nor did anyone in a position to do so make much of an effort to get the one rape kit that could confirm what they already suspected was true processed. It’s almost like the respective prosecutors, city governments, and police departments were just not that interested in pursuing the case, if they could avoid it. Almost exactly like that.

(Not to mention the mayor of North Las Vegas, for whom the former NLV police chief admitted having covered up the presence of child porn on his computer and the current number two man in charge at the LVMPD, who once had to resign after he asked a woman to expose herself in exchange for not being arrested.)

It’s no secret that some police have used their position and the vulnerabilities of women they often interact with to pressure or physically force them into performing sex acts. In fact, just three years ago, right there in Oklahoma City, Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of raping 13 women and had preyed upon numerous more during his time as a police officer.

Experts say that DNA evidence is as high as 99% accurate and has led to the identification of over 1,200 serial rapists in Detroit and Cleveland alone after concerted efforts were made to test the backlogs there. It would seem that Oklahoma, Nevada, and everywhere else would want to do the same, thereby bringing justice to past victims and preventing future ones.

Unless they’re afraid that a certain occupation might pop up a little too often once those tests are conducted…

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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.

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“F*ck the Right Thing. If Black Shoot Them” – Kentucky Police Chief’s Racist Messages to Recruit

Kentucky Police Chief Todd Shaw Racist Facebook Messages With Recruit

Facebook messages between former Prospect (KY) Police Chief Todd Shaw and a recruit in Louisville have revealed racist comments and images that were exchanged between them.

Court documents made public last week show “a pattern of highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” between Assistant Police Chief Todd Shaw and an unnamed Louisville Metropolitan Police Department recruit.

Shaw was the acting chief of police for the Prospect Police Department in Jefferson County, Kentucky at the time. Asst. Chief Shaw resigned in November after being suspended for the messages. Although no official reason is given (I bet you can figure it out), the recruit was not hired by the Louisville Metro Police.

The running dialog, which goes back to at least 2010, includes a question from the recruit in 2016 regarding a training assignment. He asks what the right thing to do would be if an officer comes upon three teenagers in a park smoking marijuana.

Assistant Chief Shaw’s response was: “Fuck the right thing. If black shoot them.” The recruit also questioned what should be done with the hypothetical murdered teens’ parents. In response, Shaw followed up by advising him: “If mom is hot then fuck her. If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick. Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him.”

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.

Shaw also makes light of the shootings of unarmed black people. The recruit sent an image of a black man and woman with afros. Along with the picture, the recruit asked: “Does this hair make it look like I have a gun in my hand?” Shaw’s reply was, “To me, yes.

In another exchange, the recruit jokes about buying all the houses around Assistant Chief Shaw’s and rent them to people through the “Section 8” program that provides government subsidies to low income residents. Shaw’s responses are “I like thugs sex anyways” and once again insinuating a desire for race-based violence: “I need target practice.”

One of the racist Facebook messages between Chief Todd Shaw and an unnamed recruit.

Other messages, such as the one pictured to the right,  joked about racial stereotypes and included negative references to Martin Luther King: “ML King was nothing but a raciast (sic) womanizer … but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year.”

The messages from Shaw, who had been a police officer for just under thirty years, were exposed by Mike O’Connell, the Jefferson County Attorney, who was seeking evidence of whether he had interfered with an unrelated investigation of sexual abuse within the Metro Police Explorer Program (a youth indoctrination and recruitment program for the police) at the time.

It’s not clear from media reports what exactly the nature of the suspected interference was, except that it involved looking up the private information of someone using the police database on the behalf of Officer Kenneth Betts. Betts is one of two Louisville police officers currently accused of sexually abusing teen “explorers.” The parents of the teens involved have stated that Louisville police failed to properly document their complaints and also urged them to keep quiet about the abuse.

Officer Betts was allowed to resign from the LMPD after it was found he had “improper contact” with a 16 year old member of the program. He was subsequently hired as a sworn reserve officer in the city of Audubon Park and as a Code Enforcement Officer in Rolling Hills. Betts spent seven years as the assistant director of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Explorer Academy, a summer program in conjunction with the Boy Scouts, and also participated in a program that involved visiting sick children at hospitals. He was allowed to continue doing so even during the time that he was being investigated for sexual misconduct.

Shaw’s lawyer attempted to prevent the messages from being made public after local media submitted Open Records Act requests. Among other things, he argued that the messages were exchanged privately between Shaw and the recruit and a lot of the messages included the internet slang “LOL” after them. According to attorney Michael Burns they were “just playing.”

O’Connell responded, “Any individual who shares such blatant racist views should not be given a badge, a gun and a position of authority. This type of bias from one officer gives a black eye to the countless policemen and women who do great work in our community each day.” He has also indicated that prosecutors have dropped 24 cases that would have relied primarily on testimony from Assistant Chief Shaw, as a result of the messages.

Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman denied Shaw’s motion to keep the messages private stating, “The documents reveal opinions and prejudices that bring into question Shaw’s integrity as a law enforcement officer who has been entrusted to serve and protect all members of society.” She also noted that those concerns were “magnified by his rank.”

So yeah, this story has a little bit of everything: a high-ranking racist cop advising a recruit and telling him to shoot unarmed black people, improper use of police database searches to cover up for another cop who is sexually abusing teens, a department “investigation” of that sexual abuse that is really designed to cover it up, and of course both him and the sexual abuser being allowed to resign so they could keep their pensions and benefits and even get rehired by another department.

Otherwise know as just another day at the office for American police.

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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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Las Vegas Protest at Mandalay Bay to Demand Release of Video Related to Route 91 Mass Shooting

October 1st Shooting Protest Mandalay Bay

A protest has been scheduled for December 21st at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip regarding the lack of transparency about the October 1st shooting during the Route 91 Festival.

Earlier this week, a local group called for a protest at the Mandalay Bay via Facebook. The group has stated that the protest will be aimed at putting pressure on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay, to release information about the Las Vegas Route 91 Festival mass shooting that took place on October 1st.

The protest is scheduled for 1pm on January 21st in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The Mandalay Bay is located on the Las Vegas Strip at 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. The group has stated that they intend to make this a ongoing regular protest until they are satisfied that their demands and concerns have been appropriately addressed.

Specifically, they intend to demand that surveillance footage from the Mandalay Bay be released publicly. As was reported here at NVCopBlock.org a couple days ago, LVMPD Sheriff Lombardo would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.” However, the lack of transparency on even very basic aspects of the shooting, as well as previously exposed inconsistencies, have left many questions unanswered and created doubts about the official narrative(s). Those #KeyboardBandits he is so frustrated by want those questions and discrepancies answered before they just “move on.”

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.

Members of NVCopBlock will be there to report on the protest. Obviously, we will be also be monitoring and filming any interactions protesters have with the police and/or security to ensure their rights and safety are protected. I’ve also been told that several other independent news organizations will be in attendance.

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

 

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Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo (and the Mandalay Bay) Want People to Just “Forget That (Mass Shooting) and Move On”

Sheriff Joe Lombardo LVMPD Las Vegas Shooting

LVMPD Sheriff Joe Lombardo thinks it’s important that everyone just “move on and forget about” the October 1st shooting by Stephen Paddock at the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over the MLK day weekend, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated:

“The frustrating thing for me as the head of the law enforcement is the keyboard bandits the guys who sit at their couches at their home and Monday morning quarterback everything you do and that are smarter than you. The pressure that we are put under to do the right thing and I believe we did the right thing and I am not hiding anything from anybody. You know what I know.

The reason why I say that it is just as important for you to be comfortable living here and have an understanding to prevent another event from taking place, for you to know what exactly happened. So, you know what exactly happened so far. I anticipate a press conference here in about a week to give you more information and to provide the media with more information associated with that event.

But there will not be a keystone or an important piece associated with Mr. Paddock and why he did what he did, so it’s important for us to forget that and move on and be resilient.”  – Via at the Baltimore Post Examiner

Overlooking the Freudian slip of Lombardo admitting that the “keyboard bandits” he’s so frustrated with are smarter than him, it is very much important that Las Vegas residents (and everyone else) know what exactly happened that day and why it happened the way it did. Unfortunately, if anything Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been doing the opposite of that important thing.

What few things they have released publicly have been incomplete on a basic, unnecessary level and in several major instances just plain inaccurate.  And in many cases these aren’t the kind of inaccuracies that have resulted from additional information being discovered during the course of an investigation. Nor are they things being withheld because public disclosure would compromise the investigation.

In fact, oftentimes these have been revisions or disclosures forced upon Lombardo and the LVMPD by those frustrating Keyboard Bandits and their inconvenient facts. Among other things, they were forced to admit that they lied about or withheld information on when Paddock checked in to the Mandalay Bay, the fact a Metro cop had fired his weapon inside the room where he had stayed, and the ever-shifting timeline of when the MGM security guard and Metro officers reached the 32nd floor and timing of the shooting in relation to that.

Some of the motives behind the dishonesty and lack of transparency for those particular inconsistencies are fairly easy to figure out. Mostly, it boils down to trying to reduce liability for the Mandalay Bay and Metro itself and eliminate criticism of their lack of a response. If Paddock checked in right before the shooting, then people are less likely to question why no-one saw him do anything suspicious that would point to his intentions in the days prior.

Similarly, if the shooting began at the same time as security guard Jesus Campos had been shot, then people are less likely to question why Mandalay Bay security didn’t respond immediately. If it ended shortly after, people are less likely to ask why the “heroic” Metro police officers stood around in the hallway for over an hour without going into the room where they knew someone had just fired hundreds of bullets into a crowd of unsuspecting people and presumably didn’t know whether he would start shooting again.

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.

Las Vegas casinos are notorious for the amount of video cameras they have in and around them and for the vigilance with which security monitors those cameras. Except for the inside of the hotel rooms and other private areas such as bathrooms, you can’t walk two feet inside one without it being recorded. At least some of the police had body cameras. And Paddock himself had cameras set up both in the hallway and inside his room.

Yet there’s no video of the guard, Jesus Campos, being shot or the police in the hallway that day, no video of Paddock bringing his arsenal of weapons and ammunition from his car in the garage through the check-in area and to the room, no video of him smashing those giant reinforced windows out prior to the shooting. There’s also no video of him barricading the door to the stairwell, setting up cameras in the hallway, or disabling the farm alarms just prior to firing on the crowd.

Lombardo was in a big hurry almost before the sound of gunfire had faded away to assure everyone that only one person was responsible for this shooting. He also was in a rush to make sure everyone knew that that one person was dead and there was no terrorist connection. Even before there was time enough to confirm whether that was true, it was important for them to assure tourists didn’t get scared off by the idea of another incident like this happening in the future.

The problem is that the inconsistencies, altered timelines, and exposed lies that those efforts to keep information from the public have spawned has done nothing but fuel those same fears and mistrust toward the official story. Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM corporation (along with the rest of Las Vegas’ casino industry) would like for everyone to just “forget that and move on.”

It’s important that we don’t until we get some real answers.

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

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting already mentioned, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

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Video: The Rotting Barrel of Bad Apples That is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “Leadership”

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Captain Yasenia Yatomi, just one member of the LVMPD’s “leadership,” who have managed to excel at corruption, dishonesty, and a general lack of ethics.

In the video embedded below, Ramsey Denison, the director of “What Happened in Vegas,” and Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who also appears in the documentary, discuss several of the high ranking members of the LVMPD. As is pointed out in the video, those “leaders” have quite a stellar history of corruption and outright criminality.

Specifically, Stubbs discusses in detail his involvement with Captain Yasenia Yatomi, which has transpired over the last several years. In fact, it was Yatomi’s unethical and illegal actions that led to Stubbs’ first appearance at NVCopBlock.org. Yatomi, who was a sergeant at the time, unlawfully arrested Stubbs when he refused to allow her to deprive one of his clients of their Constitutional right to counsel.

She then followed that up by falsifying a police report to justify that arrest. Of course, since police reports are sworn statements, that constituted an act of perjury. However, rather than being prosecuted, fired, or in any way whatsoever punished for that (felony) crime, Yatomi was instead promoted.

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 fact, as her current rank indicates, she has actually been promoted not just once, but twice since then. As a matter of fact, as part of her promotion to Lieutenant, Yatomi was placed in charge of the Internal Affairs Bureau. Without even a hint of irony, the LVMPD put someone who was actively being investigated for a criminal offense in command of the department that investigates misconduct by police officers.

Some of the other highlights include Undersheriff Kevin Mcmahill, the current no.2 in command at Metro who was forced to resign earlier in his career after he sexually harassed a suspect. Also among the notable members of the LVMPD’s upper echelon is Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank, who has a history of domestic violence.

As they say, the fish rots from the head down. So it should be no surprise that the LVMPD is a barrel of Bad Apples from top to bottom.

The LVMPD’s “Dirtbag Dream Team”

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas