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Nevada Cop Block Will Be Attending Freedom Fest 2017 and the Anthem Film Festival

Freedom Fest Las Vegas Nevada Cop Block CopBlockThis year, members of Nevada Cop Block will be attending Freedom Fest, which is held annually here in Las Vegas. Freedom Fest 2017, which will be hosted by the Paris Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, marks the tenth anniversary of the “world’s largest libertarian gathering.”

The theme for the Freedom Fest this year is, “Exploring New Frontiers.” A title that is no doubt inspired by the fact that Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, will be serving as a keynote speaker this year. Other notable speakers include John Stossel, Steve Forbes (whose 70th birthday will be incorporated into the events), Nick Gillespie, and John McAffee, along with many more. In addition, as always, there will be multiple panel discussions, debates, and breakout sessions devoted to libertarian ideas and theories.

The Police on Trial

What I expect to be one of the highlights will be the mock trial that this year features “the police on trial.” It is described this way on the event site:

What is the state of policing in America? Are the police overstepping their bounds and eroding the rights of citizens? What about the safety of the police officers who have promised to protect and serve? Fox Business host Kennedy, who hosts her own show on Fox Business, is back as the judge in our mock trial, the most popular event at FreedomFest.

This year we’ll put “The Police on Trial,” accused of violating property rights (through civil asset forfeitures), racial discrimination, and using excessive force with SWAT team and individual arrests. She’ll oversee prosecuting attorney Neill Franklin (Baltimore Police Department), defending attorney Larry Elder (popular radio talk show host), and star witnesses Adam Bates (Cato), Daniel Franklin (NAACP), Larry Burns (Las Vegas Police Department), and Dan Bongino (NYPD, Secret Service). Not to be missed.
FreedomFest Mock Trial Police Las Vegas Nevada Cop BlockThat should be interesting. (I say: Guilty as charged. Watch the video here and see what their verdict was: https://youtu.be/z3eftVK8rFE)

Anthem Film Festival

The other major attraction of Freedom Fest is the Anthem Film Festival, which has accompanied it for the past seven years. The stated goal of the film festival, which includes, documentaries, narrative films, and short features, is to provide a venue for filmmakers who care about individuality and libertarian ideals. In addition to the screenings, each film also features a panel discussion with those involved in making them afterwards.

Of course, if you’ve followed Nevada Cop Block recently you also know that the film festival has special relevance this year for Las Vegas and anti-police brutality activists working within the city. On Thursday, July 20th, at 3:20pm, the documentary “What Happened in Vegas,” by Ramsey Denison, will be screening inside the Versailles 3 Theater.

As I’ve already described several times on this site, “What Happened in Vegas” details the many crimes, corruption, and cover-ups of the LVMPD. Along with other local cases of abuse, racism, and police brutality, it focuses on the murders of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police officers, as well as the cover-ups that followed them. (See below for the official movie trailer and links to related posts on NVCopBlock.org.)

The post screening panel will also include a press conference attended by the mother and other family members of Tashii Farmer-Brown. This will be the first public appearance by Brown’s family since he was murdered by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on May 14th. Lopera has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter, after the local community reacted with outrage at his actions.

Brown had approached Ofc. Lopera and another Metro officer requesting help. Instead of being treated like someone needing help he was instead treated like a criminal even though he was not suspected of or wanted in connection with any crime at the time. After he became afraid and tried to leave, he was chased, beaten, tased seven times, and eventually choked to death by Lopera.

Personally, I’m looking forward to Freedom Fest and especially to the screening of “What Happened in Vegas” during the Anthem Film Festival. Hopefully, you’re going to be there, too. If you see me or one of the other members of Nevada Cop Block out there say hello.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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Off-Duty New Jersey Cop Shoots Man During Bar Fight

On Friday, it was reported that an off-duty Newark police officer had shot a man after being involved in a late night bar brawl. As of yet, the officer has not been identified publicly, except as being an 11 year “veteran of the force,” and few details about the actual fight, which took place at a bar named “Paddy’s Place” in Union City, were released.

Via ABC7ny.com:

An off-duty Newark police officer fatally shot a 37-year-old man inside a bar in Union, New Jersey, early Friday.

The victim, Michael Gaffney, of Piscataway, was discovered inside Paddy’s Place on Rosemont Avenue North just after 1 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“He was a great man,” said Marc Pasuca, who attended high school with Gaffney. “Just his heart, and he loved his family so much. You could see in his posts, he was so ecstatic over his daughter getting honor role…he had a heart of gold.”The preliminary investigation determined that an altercation between Gaffney and the off-duty officer led to the officer using his service weapon, but multiple agencies were working to determine exactly what led to the shooting.

Michael Gaffney Off Duty Cop Shooting

Michael Gaffney

“No one should bring a gun into a bar, and now this poor teenage daughter is without a father,” Pasuca said. “I can’t imagine my daughter waking up without a dad.”The officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

“Now we grieve, and we try to move on,” Pasuca said. “I don’t know, you try to change laws or something. I don’t know. What are you going to do? Put a metal detector at every bar so a guy doesn’t come in with gun? I don’t even know.”

The investigation into this matter, which remains ongoing, is being conducted in strict accordance with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General guidelines governing all investigations into incidents involving use of deadly force by law enforcement.

It is unclear if any charges will be filed.

There’s also some conflicting information regarding whether the shooting took place inside the bar or outside. A different report from NJ1015.com states that the fight and subsequent shooting took place outside the bar.

Spoiler: I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for charges to be filed. The cop involved would have to have been caught on video and clearly in the wrong for that to happen. Even then it’s still a bit of a crap shoot whether they would be charged and later receive the traditional slap on the wrist that accompanies such charges.

Also, in spite of the somewhat common reaction by people to call for more laws, it’s already illegal to shoot someone unless it is in self defense. Since the details of the original incident and fight haven’t been released we don’t know if that was the case (and I certainly support the right to self defense). However, if the officer involved wasn’t acting in self defense, we obviously don’t need another law stating that it’s illegal to murder someone.

The fact that he had a gun in a bar while drinking in the first place, is something that raises plenty of questions. Once again though, this is something else that’s already covered by current laws. In fact, in many states it is a felony to use a gun while drinking.

The problem isn’t the lack of applicable laws. It’s the fact that those laws are rarely applied to certain people with shiny little badges.

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