Tag Archives: trials

Nevada Cop Block Members Sue LVMPD for Chalk Arrests/Harassment

Chalk is Temporary, Murder is Forever

Chalk is Temporary; Murder is Forever

Lawsuit Filed Over Intimidation Arrests

Earlier today (Sept. 26, 2014), four people associated with Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective filed a civil rights lawsuit over arrests by the LVMPD in August of 2013 during anti-police brutality protests in which drawing on sidewalks with “sidewalk chalk” was labelled as graffiti, as well as a pattern of harassment by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, both before and after those arrests, designed to intimidate us into ending our advocacy for victims of police brutality in the Las Vegas area.

The federal lawsuit filed by attorneys Maggie McLetchie and Robert Langford on behalf of Ballentine, Catalino Dazo Jr., Gail Sacco, and I (Kelly W. Patterson), was reported this afternoon in the Las Vegas Review Journal which includes these details of the lawsuit (some of the links within the quoted content have been added by me):

“Four activists who express themselves with sidewalk chalk filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday against the Metropolitan Police Department.

According to the federal lawsuit, the department has engaged in ‘a policy and practice of deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of individuals engaging in peaceful protests

‘Plaintiffs have been improperly arrested, cited, and harassed for engaging in free speech,’ the complaint alleges…

According to the lawsuit, the Police Department has allowed its officers to harass, cite, arrest and search the plaintiffs ‘for peacefully writing in water-soluble chalk on a public sidewalk’ that Las Vegas police officers had instructed them to write on.

The document claims these actions violated the plaintiffs’ ‘constitutional rights to free speech, expression and assembly, rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and unlawful arrests, and substantive and procedural due process rights.’

Additional state tort claims in the lawsuit include false imprisonment, negligent training and supervision, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress

Las Vegas police began harassing protesters on May 1, 2013, according to the lawsuit, and three of the plaintiffs were cited during a protest at the department’s headquarters on June 8, 2013…

On that date, the lawsuit alleges, Sgt. Mike Wallace approached the three protesters and told them that writing with chalk on the sidewalk constituted graffiti. He then detained them on the sidewalk for about 45 minutes, according to the lawsuit…

During two demonstrations in July 2013, protesters used washable colored chalk to write critical statements of police on the sidewalks outside the department’s headquarters and in front of the Regional Justice Center.

Police said it cost city workers $1,500 to clean up the chalk using power washing equipment.

As a result of the July protests, Ballentine, Patterson and Dazo were charged with gross misdemeanor counts of placing graffiti on property and conspiring to commit a crime.

Police arrested Ballentine and Patterson on Aug. 10, 2013, while they were walking to the department’s headquarters to chalk, according to the lawsuit

Ballentine spent three days at the Clark County Detention Center, where he was denied his medications and suffered from anxiety, according to the lawsuit, and Patterson spent four days at the jail.

The charges were later dropped. District Attorney Steve Wolfson said new evidence showed that courthouse marshals had directed the protesters to chalk in a specific location outside the justice center.

‘There wasn’t expressed permission, but there was implied permission to use the chalk on the sidewalk outside the courthouse,’ Wolfson said.

But McLetchie said the district attorney fails to understand that “the Constitution forbids the government from requiring prior permission before you engage in First Amendment-protected activity.”

According to the lawsuit, the citations issued in June 2013 and the arrests made in August 2013 were designed ‘to chill future speech.'”

The full Review Journal article can be read here.

Further Reading

Still stands

Still stands

I’ve been advised by our lawyers not to comment in detail on the case while it is active, but you can read pretty much every article ever written about the case right here. (It actually progresses from the most recent stories to the latest. So, if you want to start at the beginning you have to backtrack to the last page.)

As I said, I won’t be doing any extended commentary on the case in this post. However, I will point out that I made Metro and Sheriff Gillespie a very reasonable offer (see the picture to the right) early on during the protests that I don’t believe they ever even considered accepting and still haven’t shown any real interest in to date.

Also, I think it’s amazing that the main cops involved in these ridiculous arrests are named “Mike Wallace, Chris Tucker, and Lt. Liberty.” I’m tempted to think they are just making up names at the LVMPD.

Call Flood Request for Brian Sumner Arrested for Filming Cops *Update*

Update: Charges Dismissed Against Brian Sumner

Brian Sumner’s Case was Dismissed. (Thanks to a Little Help from Some Freinds.)

Brian Sumner has reported via the FaceBook event page that his charges were dropped He also stated:

“Its all thanks to you. I wish everyone of you could have seen the DAs face. My lawyer told me that she wasn’t sure if the DA was going to inner (sic) the agreement. I’m going to take that as it was a very successful phone bomb. You all have my heart, and our voices will be heard.”

Thanks to everyone that managed to call. Remember, call floods have been very effective at putting pressure on police departments and courts to release people being charged with bogus crimes based on retaliation or intimidation motives. Always call if you can.

 

 


Brian Sumner wrote the article included below regarding how “obstruction” charges are often used to punish and attempt to discourage people involved in Copwatch or Cop Block related activities. This is done much the same way that “resisting arrest” is often used to prosecute people who have been arrested, even when the actual excuse for arresting them is thrown out or dismissed, as a way of intimidating them.

Brian is a local activist and copwatcher from the Fresno area. Within a relatively short time he’s made quite a few videos and been involved in several major actions in and around Fresno seeking police accountability as part of the Fresno Liberty Movement. As a result, he has become a target for retaliation by local police and other government employees. In one such instance (not the one in the video included below), he was charged with obstruction simply for filming the arrest of another person from a distance. He will be starting trial for this “crime” today, Sept. 10th 2014, and has asked (via a FaceBook event) that people call the DA to show their support and ask that they drop those bogus charges:

“Brian Sumner was arrested for obstruction of justice while filming a routine traffic stop in Clovis, Ca. Please call the DA’s office as many times as humanly possible and ask them to drop the charges. Brian will begin his first day of trial at 1:30 pm 9/10/14. Vanessa Wong is the DA prosecuting the case against Brian. The phone number to her office is (559) 600-3141. Any and all support will be greatly appreciated. #NoVictimNoCrime #PhotographyIsNotACrime #CopBlock #CopWatch #Solidarity”

“Obstructing” is “Resisting” for Cop Watchers

We have all seen a youtube video where a cop demands ID, or for someone to go with them, and when they refuse the cop threatens them with resisting arrest. Even though no crime was committed beforehand…  If you have not seen one of these videos click the link below.


Threatened with resisting arrest.


 

I FILM COPS!

I have been filming the police for around a year and a half now, and it has slowly just become apart of who I am. I was just out of the military, and dealing with the poor taste it left in my mouth. I had been Listening to the Adam VS the Man podcast, reading The Free Thought Project, and watching everything CopBlock.org was putting out. I had joined the military to serve, and well lets just say my service was more of a disservice.

The visible wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan these “Wars on Terror” were being flaunted along with 9/11 as major reasons to draft such legislation as the Patriot Act, or NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) to create such organizations as the NSA, and the TSA. While the US military eroded rights, and lowered the living conditions in the middle east, the US government was  systematically removing rights, and lowering the standard of freedom in the USA.

I was drawn to activism and civil disobedience because it was an in your face act of rebellion, and when you do something like block a freeway, chalk up a police station, or take over the streets with a group of people, and the authorities just have to let you do it due the critical mass its very liberating to one’s soul. You make connections, and form bonds with each other much like in the military.

One thing I have noticed is cops don’t take kindly to an unknown person walking up and sticking a camera in their face. Luckily for me, I could care less what a cop wants. Too many times there is no objective record, and cops take advantage of people, or worse hurt them. The supreme court ruled that it is the job of police to enforce the laws, not protect people. With that in mind does it make a little more sense why there are so many victimless crimes?

Police often tell me that my presence is an obstruction of their investigation, they usually try to defend it with “I’m cool with you filming, just from over there, Officer safety, and all” or something along those lines. In reality what the cop is trying to do is place you in a position where you are less likely to capture what he is doing, and/or saying. I have been threatened with arrest for this crime known as “Obstruction of Justice”  on many different occasions. I recently made the connection between resisting arrest, and Obstruction of Justice.

If I am not harming anyone, and I am filming from a distance that I deem is reasonable for both mine, and the officers safety, and if I am not engaging the officer in any unwanted dialogue how can I be obstructing justice, or interfering with his investigation? Is he claiming that my presence with a camera is somehow hindering him from doing his job? Or is he afraid of what the camera will see? Regardless the situation remains where unquestioned obedience to an authority figure, possibly a complete stranger, can and will land  you in cage, even worse you can end up with a criminal record.

The same can be said with resisting arrest. As we saw in the video link above the man was eating a meal at a fast food restaurant. When the man did not want to leave his meal, and go with the officer he was threatened with arrest for resisting arrest. How can your only crime be not wanting to have an interaction with a complete stranger? Does it make sense that you can literally be arrested for refusing to go somewhere with someone who claims authority over you?

Police now can detain and arrest you for not wanting to talk to them. At the same time police can detain and arrest the people who would film these arrest’s in order create an objective record, if they do not follow the orders of a the police officer. I will now share a personal experience from 2 nights ago with the Clovis, Ca police department.


Clovis police officer, and local hero Jesus Santillon, threatened me with arrest for filming him while he detained, and later arrested a homeless man with a bicycle.


This video also may serve as an objective comparison of the behavior of  cops while in certain uniforms. The officer with the tactical vest, and the military haircut was the one to make contact with me, and cry about “officer safety” in an attempt to get me to alter my position.  While the police officer in his regular uniform was very patient, and kept to the matters at hand.

Notice also that even the nice cop was telling me what to do. Officer Santillan was telling me to move, the other person involved Officer Shermanti was telling me that no one threatened me, and the supervisor was telling me to keep my opinions to myself, and to do whatever complete strangers with guns tell me to. In retrospect thats actually not that bad of advice… If a complete stranger came up to me with a gun and told me what to do. I would probably do it. Unless it was a cop. Then I would probably film it.

I hope you also noticed that none of the cops really listened to me, they all just made excuses for each other, and talked at me in a manner that made me feel more like a subject to them. In other news, Officer Jesus Santillan was awarded a hero medal for 80 DUI arrests, and singlehandedly making up 21% of the DUI arrest for Clovis PD.

Hero Cop Jesus Santillan

 “A Clovis police officer was given a California Hero Award on Saturday at the 16th annual Statewide Law Enforcement and Community Recognition Event in Sacramento, said Janet Stoll-Lee, spokeswoman for the Clovis Police Department.

Stoll-Lee said Officer Jesus Santillan arrested 80 drunken drivers during the graveyard shift in 2013, which accounted for 21% of the department’s total DUI arrests. Santillan worked on DUI checkpoints, AVOID task forces and saturation patrols in Clovis.

The event, which is sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, recognizes law enforcement officers and community leaders throughout California for their efforts to stop drunken driving.”

National Jury Rights Day in Las Vegas – Sept. 5th

Sept. 5th is Jury Rights Day

Sept. 5th is Jury Rights Day

A History of Jury Rights Day

People across the country will be celebrating Jury Rights Day September 5th. On this day in 1670, Quaker William Penn of London was arrested for the “crime” of preaching his personal religious beliefs. Penn pled not guilty and subsequently argued against England’s Conventicle Acts, which outlawed the practice of religions other than the Church of England.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge instructed the jurors to find Penn guilty. However, the jurors’ refusal to enforce a bad law led to the court jailing them for contempt and withholding food and water from the jurors. This became known as “Bushel’s Case” because of Edward Bushel, the jury foreman’s refusal to pay the fines, which had been charged to the jurors.

Afterwards, some of the jurors appealed their fines and imprisonment.  A higher court confirmed the right of the jurors to base their verdict on their best judgment and conscience.  Even though there was a law against freedom of religion, the high court held that juries could not be required to enforce any law they thought was wrong.

Jurors can judge guilt based on both facts and the validity of the law itself.

Jurors can judge guilt based on both facts and the validity of the law itself.

This higher court ruling created the precedent that jurors cannot be punished for their verdict.  It also set a foundation for our rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.

This ruling confirmed important protections for the jury, and firmly established the right of the jurors to refuse to accept bad government laws. This method of rejecting bad laws is called jury nullification or jury veto.  Through jury nullification, people can control their government by refusing to allow immoral laws to be enforced.

Resulting common law concepts firmly uphold the fact that Jurors cannot be punished for rendering or refusing to render a certain verdict. Nor are jurors are required to give any reason for the verdict that they render or justify it in any way. The fundamental right of Jurors to render their verdict based on conscience is basic to the preservation of Justice, in a free society.

William Penn later came to Colonial America and founded Pennsylvania.  Jurors continue to have the authority to nullify bad laws.  This authority is our peaceful protection to stop corrupt government servants from violating our rights.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the history of Jury Rights Day.

More information about jury nullification and jury rights in general can be found at the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA.org)

Schedule of Events in Las Vegas:

Friday ~
10:00 AM Pre-event flyering/outreach
10:30 AM Press Conference
11:00 AM Presentation about Jury Rights

Monday –
8:00 – 11:00 AM We will be handing out information about jurors rights and jury nullification to people going into the court.

Las Vegas will be holding several events that weekend.

Las Vegas will be holding several events that weekend.

Jury Rights Day Events in Las Vegas

The right to trial by jury is not as well respected as it should be or as our founding documents require. In clear violation of the plain text of our founding documents, several criminal defendants, perhaps even a majority of defendants, in Nevada are illegally denied their right to trial by jury. And, in those cases where juries are impaneled, the courts systematically confuse and mislead jurors as to the nature of their service on a jury. A jury trial is a check and balance on unaccountable entrenched government. It began as a check on royal power. It is still needed as a check on the power of the state. A litany of groups and individuals will gather at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas the weekend of September 5th in honor of Jury Rights Day.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday 10:00 a.m. , September 5th

A press conference will be held on the steps of the Regional Justice Center, 200 S Lewis. (View map to location) Representatives from several groups will speak on the importance of the right to trial by jury to them and their organization. Groups represented include, Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, Patient to Patient, Compassion Nevada Consulting, Cindy Lake candidate for Clark County Commission, Jim Duensing candidate for Clark County District Attorney and the Fully Informed Jury Association, T. Matthew Phillips a Civil Rights Attorney.

Friday 10:30 a.m., September 5th

An educational presentation at the RJC will be made by Jim Duensing, local attorney and candidate for District Attorney in Clark County. The presentation, geared towards the several homeschooled children attending, will also be enlightening to adult members of the public and press alike. All are invited and encouraged to attend this presentation covering the history and and nature of the right to trial by jury.

Monday 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., September 8th

Volunteers will be distributing informational handouts provided by the Fully Informed Jury Association, www.FIJA.org at the Regional Justice Center. These handouts will educate and remind the public about the nature and importance of the right to trial by jury.

Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas Thurs. Aug. 28

Attorney Stephen "Bowtie" Stubbs, who hosts free Know Your Rights seminars in Las Vegas.

Attorney Stephen “Bowtie” Stubbs, who hosts free Know Your Rights seminars in Las Vegas.

This coming Thursday, August 28th (2014), at 7:00 PM; Las Vegas area attorney Stephen Stubbs will be giving a free “Know Your Rights” seminar. The seminar will take place at the Leatherneck Club of Las Vegas, which is located at 4360 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102 (view map to location). If you are on Facebook, you can RSVP here at the event invite.

Among other things, this seminar covers people’s rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That includes the right to freedom of speech and the extent and limitations of that freedom. In addition, the First Amendment also provides for freedom of the press, which applies to citizens ability to film persons, including government officials and the police, while they are performing their duties in public.

While discussing the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Stubbs covers Nevada law relating to open carrying of firearms, as well as the limitations, licensing requirements, and process for such that the State of Nevada places on the concealed carrying of firearms. He also breaks down the different restrictions and prohibitions placed on non-firearm (knives, clubs, brass knuckles, etc.) weapons by state and local law.

Am I Being Detained or Am I Free to Go?

Am I Being Detained or Am I Free to Go?

Another significant part of the seminar involves what the police can and cannot do in relation to searches, seizure of property, and detention of people based on the Fourth Amendment.  That includes the requirement for reasonable suspicion to believe that someone is about to commit a crime, has committed a crime, or is in the process of committing a crime in order to justify detaining someone. It also includes the requirement for consent before police can conduct a warrant-less search, with a few very narrow exceptions, such as evidence in plain view and risk of eminent danger (one of several exigent circumstances). In addition, the differences between searches conducted upon someones person, a vehicle, or their home are explained.

Stephen Stubbs' Free Know Your Rights Seminar

Stephen Stubbs’ Free Know Your Rights Seminar

The Constitutional due process protections within the Fifth Amendment are also covered pretty extensively during the seminar. A person’s right against self-incrimination is explained. Stubbs goes over how (and why) people should invoke their right to remain silent when questioned and avoid answering questions without the benefit of legal counsel being present. (That second part actually has a bit of added significance, since Stephen Stubbs was actually arrested himself for refusing to leave the side of one of his clients, who had invoked his right to have legal counsel present during a traffic stop, back in November of 2013.)

In general, the seminar is very informative and worthwhile for anyone, since it’s not unusual for the average person to get stopped for, at the very least, a traffic violation and knowing your rights can’t hurt you. Beyond that, the seminar does focus largely on encounters with police and situations such as filming in public, interacting verbally with police, the legalities of whether cops can justifiably stop; search; and arrest someone, and what to do in those situations. Therefore, anyone involved in or wishing to become involved in Cop Block related activities should find this seminar very useful and well worth attending. It will also serve as a good opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals within the Las Vegas area.

If you do come (and you should) to this free seminar you will find Stephen Stubbs is a very knowledgeable and entertaining person, with a history of standing up for individuals’ rights, when they are abused by the police or other government employees. Personally, I’m very glad to have someone as well versed and approachable as him performing this valuable service for our community. BTW, did I mention that he does it for free?

No “More Cops” for the LVMPD; They Aren’t Needed and They Aren’t Wanted

Metro displaying just how shorthanded they are on Fremont Street. (Notice the massive, unruly crowd being held back behind them.)

Metro displaying just how shorthanded they are on Fremont Street. (Notice the massive, unruly crowd being held back behind them.)

This was received via submission after originally being posted at the website of the Sunset Activist Collective.

Once again, Sheriff Gillespie and County Commissioner Tom Collins are trying to push the “More Cops” sales tax down the throats of the people of Las Vegas to fill the self-inflicted gaps in Metro’s already bloated budget and hire even more cops to harass and abuse the members of that very community.

Yet another sales tax is wrong from a practical standpoint in a time when the Las Vegas economy consistently ranks at or near the bottom in every financial category and most local residents are already just barely hanging on. By nature, sales taxes are regressive. Unlike wealthy people that have the capability of stashing most of their income in the bank, poor people generally have to spend most, if not all, of their money on the basic necessities of life. It’s not a coincidence that crime rates have increased as the economy has tanked. People that have little or no other options resort to whatever they have to do to survive. Taking even more from people that are already struggling just to keep their head above water is not the way to “take a bite out of crime.” It’s an unarguable fact that poverty leads to even more crime.

Beyond the basic economics it’s wrong on an ethical level to expect poor residents to fund their own abuse at the hands of the LVMPD. People in poor and/or minority neighborhoods are routinely stopped, searched, abused, and humiliated by the police. In fact, Metro employs several “saturation units,” whose stated function is to descend upon certain neighborhoods en masse seeking any excuse they can to stop, interrogate, and arrest residents of that community. And those many, many abuses don’t end with harassment and wrongful arrests, either. The victims of police beatings and outright murder are predominantly members of the Poor People Shouldn't Have to Fund Their Own Abusepoor/ minority classes.

Not surprisingly, it has also been explicitly stated that these “select’ neighborhoods don’t include the ones in Summerlin. Many of the proponents of the “More Cops” tax increase are, in fact, residents of Summerlin and other wealthy neighborhoods, who have expressed the desire to have a cop in their neighborhood because it makes them feel safe. I have very little doubt that the residents of poor neighborhoods would have no qualms about letting them have some of the cops terrorizing their neighborhoods. They rarely make them feel safe, especially within the Las Vegas area, since there is absolutely no hope that any sort of accountability will ever be imposed upon the perpetrators of injustices against them.

Metro isn’t short on cops, they’re short on priorities. Anyone who has witnessed the massive East German style check point erected on Fremont St. every First Friday or the continual harassment of water vendors and buskers on the Strip, both of whom are just trying to earn a living during tough economic times, would have to question the claims of personnel shortages within the LVMPD. When you can afford to employ undercover cops to ensure tourists don’t have the chance to buy water at a cheaper price than the casinos sell it, then maybe you have a few people to spare for other things. Perhaps those plain clothes cops using official Metro vehicles to escort Zappos employees to their parking garage so they don’t have to look at poor people along the way, could be better utilized, as well.

Gillespie and the rest of his mafia dons have expended their budget on raises for an already overpaid police force, shiny new headquarters buildings that they insisted on pushing forward with in the middle of the worst recession in history, and million dollar settlements to the victims of their abuses and murders. Now they want the poorest people within this community to bail them out so that they can hire more cops even while absolutely refusing to do anything to hold them responsible for the crimes they continue to commit against their own neighbors and families.

Just say NO to more thugs!

Will There Ever Be Justice for Stanley Gibson? by Rondha Gibson

Rondha Gibson Widow Stanley Gibson Justice Murder LVMPD

Rondha, widow of Stanley Gibson, visits his grave. Stanley was murdered by Office Jesus Arevalo of the LVMPD on Dec. 12th, 2011.

Justice?

Can there ever really be justice? I never thought I would question this

Really never cared or had a reason to give it too much thought before

 I arrived in Las Vegas in 2000 due to the passing of my father

It was  a sad time for me reconnecting with my little sister

Who I hadn’t seen in many years. This is how I met Stanley L. Gibson

My brother in law and him were friends and he had come over one day

And that basically was the day we started our life together

 

For the next 12 years it was just Stan-N-Rondha

Two orphans against the world, but we had love

We shared a love that no-one could ever understand

But it was our love and then in one quick instant it was gone

 

By the hands of the people that say they are here to serve and protect

What they don’t tell you is they only serve and protect each other

They say if you are robbed you should call the police but

I ask you who do I call when Metro was the one who robbed me

 

This power LVMPD has to kill without consequence needs to end

Too much blood has been spilt due to their actions

Too much innocent blood has been shed

Stand beside me and let our voices be heard

 

NEVER FORGET!  NEVER FORGET!

 

by

 Rondha Gibson

Widow of Stanley L. Gibson

And victim of

 The actions of LVMPD & Jesus Arevalo

Justice Denied

Will Justice be Denied Yet Again in Las Vegas?

Other Posts Related to Stanley Gibson

Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibson’s Murder by LVMPD

Las Vegas is an increasingly more dangerous place anytime police are in the area.

The first “Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review,” regarding the murder of Stanley Gibson by Metro Officer Jesus Arevalo, is scheduled to take place on Thursday February 28th beginning at 9:00 am and will be located at the Clark County Government Center, where the Clark County Board of Commissioners hold their regular meetings.

We’ll be meeting up at 8:00am in order to organize together and go over the specifics of what we will be doing to bring attention to Stanley’s murder. It’s incredibly important for anyone that cares about justice and supports accountability for police that commit crimes against people within the Las Vegas community to be there and make their voice heard for past victims of police violence and to prevent future innocent victims.

In spite of the long-winded name change, the new process that was created by LVMPD’s Sheriff Gillespie and Chris Collins of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (Police Union) is designed to do anything but allow the public to find facts. The reality is that it is much worse than the original, much maligned, Coroner’s Inquest system that it will be replacing.

Unlike the Coroner’s Inquest, the Police Fatality Review will involve no opportunity for testimony from witnesses and only voluntary testimony by the police involved in the shootings, which the LVPPA has already gone on record as saying that pretty much has no chance of happening. What it amounts to is a choreographed staging of the police department’s version of events with zero representation from a genuine neutral party, the victim’s family, or independent witnesses.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson actually referred to it as a “performance,” while endorsing it, during the Commissioner’s meeting in which it was initially proposed. That’s just how much of a blatant and callous cover up the Police Fatality Review is.

The first case to go before this Police Fatality Review involves the murder of Stanley Gibson, an unarmed man who was shot seven times by Jesus Arevalo in spite of having committed no actual crime and having had his vehicle blocked in by several police cars so that it was unable to move.

Stanley, a disabled veteran, who was lost and suffering a panic attack as a result of PTSD and other ailments he suffered during his time in the Persian Gulf, represented no direct or imminent probability of harming anyone at the time.

There was no reason for any of the dozens of heavily armed police to feel in any way threatened by him. And the fact that of all those cops there, only Jesus Arevalo felt the need to fire the shots that killed Stanley Gibson only supports that conclusion.

Caution Police State ahead

Caution Police State ahead

Instead of holding someone that at best was grossly negligent that night accountable for his actions, D.A. Wolfson, Sheriff Gillespie, LVPPA’s Chris Collins, the Clark County Board of Commissioners, and every other member of the LV Metro Police Department are closing ranks around him in a misguided attempt to cover up yet another officer involved shooting under what could only mildly be called questionable circumstances.

Anyone living in Las Vegas should be well aware that there is a longstanding problem with brutality and outright murder by members of Las Vegas area police departments, especially those of the LVMPD. In several cases, especially those involving Stanley Gibson, Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, Henry Rowe, and Rafael Olivas, the circumstances behind the shooting have been incredibly questionable, if not completely inexcusable.

The obvious reason for the mounting body count by local police is the fact that no Las Vegas area police officer has EVER been held accountable for shooting someone, no matter how questionable that shooting has been.

Replacing what was already a terribly flawed system with one that not only retains those flaws, but incorporates even less transparency and can only be seen as a conscious effort to ensure the police never have to fear being held accountable for deaths they cause not only doesn’t address this problem, but in reality actually makes it harder for the police to do the things they are supposed to do by creating a lack of trust and discouraging any support for police from the people living within the community that they work.

It’s a self-perpetuating downward spiral that only exacerbates an already toxic and often violent relationship. The time to put an end to this has already passed and things can only get worse at this point if the transparency and accountability that Sheriff Gillespie promises so often isn’t actually upheld truthfully and with honest intentions.

As of right now, I have been unable to find any info regarding the specifics of the expected length of the kangaroo court that will begin Thursday or restrictions on public entry into the chambers where it will be held. Although, I suspect this lack of information is intentional, if I do come across that information I will post it here.

Join Nevada Cop Block at the Anarchist Cafe (A-Cafe) for “Disarm the Police”

This week, Nevada Cop Block will be hosting a special event as part of a local activist get together known as the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe, which will focus on bringing accountability to Las Vegas area police.

This event, “Disarm the Police,” will be an informational and organizing meeting regarding issues with police brutality, lack of accountability, and official corruption. In addition, there will be discussion about setting up regular actions based around bringing attention to and addressing those issues.

Methods, goals, and acceptable outcomes will all be discussed. Also, information about how to get involved with local police “watchdog” groups, such as Nevada Cop Block (NVCopBlock.org), will be provided for those wanting to become more involved on an ongoing basis.

The Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe meets Saturdays, from 6:00—8:00pm, at Sunrise Coffee Shop, which is located on Sunset Rd. between Pecos and Eastern (map below). The A-Cafe is not a place, it’s an event–a social experiment in urban anarchy, organized by the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left and a group of unaffiliated local anarchists. The A-Cafe is a forum for anarchists in the Las Vegas area to get to know each other, to hang out, to shoot the breeze, to talk some shop, to talk about the projects that we are working on, and to organize new projects. Anyone who’s an anarchist, anti-statist, or just anarchy-curious is invited to join us.

Drop in any time — the gathering is informal, and based on chatting and sharing information. There isn’t a fixed agenda. (But if you want to set up an organizing meeting for a particular project with a fixed agenda, A-Cafe is a great place to meet people to invite.) Feel free to drop in at any time and leave whenever you need to.

Bring yourself. Bring a friend. And bring anything — ideas you’ve had, projects you’re working on, literature, zines, flyers, art, whatever — that you’d like to share with some like-minded people.

View Larger Map

Don’t Let Coroner’s Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

Las Vegas Coroner's Inquest

Why are Las Vegas area police so afraid of transparency and accountability?

Tomorrow, Dec. 4th, beginning at 9:30 AM the Clark County Commission is scheduled to vote on proposed reforms to the Coroner’s Inquest process in which killings by Las Vegas area police are reviewed and facts surrounding them are made public.

If you have any desire to see transparency in cases where police shoot people and accountability for those innocent people amongst that rapidly growing number you should do everything you can to attend that meeting and let your feelings be known. (See map below.)

Reportedly, with the exception of Chris Giunchigliani, the commission is preparing to vote against the proposed reforms, which would effectively end the Coroner’s Inquests.

As has been well documented, the original Coroner’s Inquests served more as a dog and pony show where the official cover story was pushed and contradictory evidence and witnesses were minimized or outright withheld. All of which only served to exonerate police when they murdered innocent people rather than as a true fact finding investigation.

The inevitable criticisms and lack of confidence in such an obviously orchestrated and dishonest process led to demands for reforms from the families of people killed by Las Vegas police under suspicious circumstances, several communitty organizations, as well as both the NAACP and ACLU on behalf of victims. The resulting reforms, while not a perfect solution provided for several changes in the Coroner’s Inquest process to bring more transparency and increase the chance for true accountability, such as the ability for the victims to be represented by a lawyer that would have the ability to question witnesses. This in and of itself was an important step forward, since the District Attorney, who controls all the evidence and witnesses presented during the Coroner’s Inquest, has demonstrated a bias toward the police officers involved.

Las Vegas Coroner's Inquests

An all too common in the Las Vegas area lately.

Not surprisingly, the police and in particular the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA) have very little interest in a transparent process that might expose the murders their colleagues have committed. The LVPPA in it’s misguided attempts to “protect” police regardless of how glaringly wrong individual cops might be in a case or how negatively that affects the ability of other cops to do their job, has advised police not to cooperate with the new inquest should it be implemented. They also attempted to have the reforms thrown out as unconstitutional via a lawsuit that failed, but required that some minor procedural alterations be made to who was in charge of the inquest proceedings.

Unfortunately, largely because of that refusal to participate by local police, the County Commissioners are reportedly ready to buckle to pressure and scrap the Coroner’s Inquest process altogether. This would be bad for many reasons, not the least of which are that the alternatives are dramatically worse than the already inadequate original version of the Coroner’s Inquest was.

In most cases since the Coroner’s Inquests were put on hold, District Attorney Steve Wolfson has been issuing statements to explain his lack of desire to hold officers accountable for their actions. The fact that he recently stated that Henderson police are actually trained to kick defenseless people in the head repeatedly as a reason for not punishing a police officer in one of those statements doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in that as a viable substitute.

Nor does the use of grand juries as the other apparent option hold much hope for a fair outcome. As was pointed out on this site a while back, grand juries are highly secretive and in pretty much every other respect, including the DA’s exclusive control over witnesses and evidence, have all the same flaws that the previous Coroner’s Inquest process contained.

The lack of accountability for their actions up to and including outright murder has lead to a shoot first mentality amongst the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and other area police. It’s actually getting to the point where it is hard to keep track of the instances of police involved shooting because they happen so often. Recently approved reforms are the only way to ensure transparency and justice for the families of the victims of questionable shooting by local police.

Further Info and Reasons to Support Coroner’s Inquest Reforms:

Erik Scott

Erik Scott was murdered by Las Vegas Metro police on July 10, 2010. The obvious problems with the Coroner’s Inquest proceeding in his case were likely the final straw that lead to the current reforms.

Statement (via Facebook post) from Bill Scott, Eric Scott‘s father:

Per Lisa’s appeal (below), please consider being at the County Commissioners’ meeting on 4 Dec.

Potential Outcome 1: If the commissioners cave in to the PPA (police union), only the District Attorney will be deciding whether officer-involved shootings were justified. As DA Steve Wolfson has demonstrated, to date, he NEVER finds fault with Metro shootings, because he relies completely on Metro’s flawed “investigations” of OISs.

In a recent case, Wolfson “chose” to not review high-definition security-system video evidence that clearly proved Metro officers shot and killed a young man for no reason (the Olivas murder). If the DA can’t be bothered to look at indisputable data/evidence that counters Metro’s cover-up narrative, how will 1) victims’ families know the facts surrounding their loved ones’ death, and 2) rogue/bad police officers be held accountable for shooting innocents?

Potential Outcome 2: If the county commissioners decide to eliminate the NEW coroner’s inquest process and go back to the long-ago-discredited grand jury process, reviews of OISs will be a secret, closed-door process. The grand jury would be stacked with “citizens” who are cop-friendly, and, again, rogue/bad cops would be routinely exonerated. That outcome is virtually guaranteed, because appointments to the grand jury would be carefully controlled by those friendly to Metro and beholden to intransigent obstructionists, the PPA union.

If the community is to have any hope of holding its police force accountable, getting rid of dangerous “cowboy cops,” and stopping the epidemic of senseless, deadly OISs, it’s imperative that county commissioners modify the NEW coroner’s inquest ordinance to ensure it complies with the recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling.

That’s a simple change to the existing ordinance, but the PPA union is fighting reinstatement of inquest hearings under the new procedures, and any other credible means for “civilians” to hold police officers accountable for their deadly behavior.

Unless hundreds of Las Vegas-area citizens show up on 4 Dec. and explain to the commissioners that murders-by-cops will NOT be tolerated, the PPA will prevail, and the commissioners will cave to union and DA pressure. And killer-cops will never again be deterred from shooting, when less-than-lethal alternatives would be more appropriate.

As you think about whether to expend the time and effort to attend the 4 Dec. meeting, please consider: If Officer Wm. Mosher had been TRULY held accountable for his 2006 shooting, he might have been either in prison, or fired from the Metro police force and not on the streets of Las Vegas on July 10, 2010. And my son, Erik, would be alive today.

Letting PPA union thugs run roughshod over county commissioners and a community has deadly consequences. Erik paid for Metro/PPA thuggery with his life. Who will be the next killer-cops’ victims?

Thanks for your kind support of this vital campaign to restore justice.

Regards,
Bill Scott

The post referencedby Bill Scott in his statement:

When the Government Prosecutes one of Its Own, the Scales of justice are Tipped Heavily Against the Common Citizen

STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW.

The Clark County Commission will be discussing the coroner’s inquest process for officer-involved homicides on December 4, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. We need the Commission to pass a simple housekeeping measure to allow the inquests to proceed. The Commission needs to understand that the public does not want it to abandon or water down the coroner’s inquests for officer-involved homicides. The LVMPD has a very high rate of officer-involved homicides, and the public deserves to know the facts when a member of the community is killed.

Meet outside the County Commission building at 9:15 a.m. on December 4, 2012. We will have free t-shirts so you can tell the Commission: “START THE INQUESTS. WE DESERVE TO KNOW.”

What is the inquest process?
In December of 2010, the coroner’s inquest process was reformed into a transparent, public airing of the facts when the LVMPD kills a member of the public. The 2010 reforms did not make the process adversarial. They replaced the jury and verdict with a panel and neutral factual findings. To help get at the truth and ensure fairness, they also provided for participation by the officers, family members, and the public. The reforms were responsive to widespread concerns from citizens and the product of a democratic process and public input. The Sheriff supported the reforms and they also had broad public support (including from PLAN, the Las Vegas NAACP, NACJ, and the ACLU).

Why haven’t we had any inquests since reforms were passed?
Unfortunately, the Police Protective Association (PPA) has fought the implementation of the new inquest process, trying to avoid transparency. The Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court of Nevada have both rejected the PPA’s arguments that the process violated their rights, finding that the coroner’s inquest is a fair process. The Nevada Legislature also refused to abolish the inquest.

How can we fix the inquests?
The Nevada Supreme Court recently held that justices of the peace cannot preside over the inquests under current law. The Clark County Commission can easily fix this technical, procedural issue if it has the political will to stand up to the PPA. The issue regarding who should oversee inquests was not part of the 2010 changes. The pre-2007 had hearing master, oversee inquests. Just like justices of the peace, hearing masters are attorneys. They already oversee non-officer homicide inquests and are qualified to preside over inquests into officer-involved homicides.

Why should the inquest be fixed?

Stanley L. Gibson

Stanley L. Gibson, a disabled Army vet, was murdered by Ofc. Jesus Arevalo on Dec. 12, 2012

The public deserves to know what happens when the LVMPD kills a member of the community, and transparency is needed to restore the trust between the LVMPD and the public. The County has spent significant sums of money and time on the 2010 reform process, to defend the inquest in court, and to lobby at the legislature. That money should not go to waste.

Most importantly, since the 2010 changes were passed, there have been 22 officer-involved homicides. This means that a total of twenty two families now stand in line waiting to learn the facts about how their loved ones were killed. Without an inquest, there is no way for families to get direct access to information about their family members’ deaths. The families and the public that employs police officers want and deserve an open and transparent process in place so they can assess the facts surrounding office-involved homicides themselves.

Is there any reason to wait?
There is no reason to keep delaying. While the PPA has appealed the case it lost in federal court to the Ninth Circuit, there is no stay or injunction in place and nothing stopping the inquest from moving forward. In fact, both the Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court have already determined that the process adequately protects the rights of officers. Even if the PPA continues to improperly refuse to allow officers to participate regardless of whether the officers have any right to the protection of the Fifth Amendment claim, the inquests can move forward. Enough other evidence—evidence such as dispatch records, other witnesses, reports, and even video in some cases—can tell the story of what happened.

No more excuses. Start the inquests. We deserve to know.

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Be there and make your voice heard!


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Statement of Demands for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Depatment – Submitted by Sunset Activist Collective

Las Vegas police have killed 146 people in the past decade and not one single one of them has been ruled unjustified.

Recently, Nevada Cop Block received a list of demands from a local activist organization known as the Sunset Activist Collective. Based on Metro‘s (along with other Las Vegas area police departments) long and prolific history of abuses and even outright murders, those of us at NVCopBlock.org have no problem posting and even endorsing these demands, especially those criticizing the use of a grand jury to cover up Stanley Gibson’s murder and calling for Sheriff Gillespie to resign. Based on his and other local officials’ history of covering up and minimizing police crimes, we feel that nothing short of that will be required in order to bring accountability to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Here are those demands in their entirety:

 

1. We believe that the grand jury is a worse, more corrupt process when applied to public officials than the old Coronor's Inquest was and is only used when other public officials want to cover up their crimes while appearing to actually hold them accountable.Therefore, we demand that District Attorney Steve Wolfson file charges directly for a public jury trial against Officer Jesus Arevalo for the murder of Stanley Gibson.

2. We demand a face to face televised apology by Sheriff Doug Gillespie to  the families of Stanley Gibson, Trevon Cole and Erik Scott.

3. We demand the immediate resignation of Sheriff Doug Gillespie at the conclusion of demand #2.

4. We demand that any seized property be returned to the victims of police shootings. If that property has already been disposed of, then a equitable and fair compensation should be arranged within a reasonable amount of time.

5. We demand compensation for the victims of police shootings, including but not limited to monetary compensation, all lost future wages, funeral expenses, property damages, medical expenses and one half the expense of a four year college education for each child of the victim.

6. We demand that all charges against Emmanuel Dozier be dropped on the basis of the right to self defense.

7. We demand an end to the tactic of neighborhood saturation, which really amounts to targeted and unlawful harassment primarily of low income and minority neighborhoods. A majority of residents whose only crime is being poor shouldn't have to be harassed because a small minority of their neighbors have committed crimes (many of which fall into the category of victimless drug crimes).

8. We demand that any police officer who engages in a shooting that wounds or  kills a person who is unarmed be placed on unpaid leave pending a public trial. Nobody else gets an automatic paid vacation for shooting someone.

9. We demand that police prominently display their badge numbers and not interfere with public observation, including being filmed, by anyone while on duty. Citizens already have a legal right to record public official performing their jobs in public spaces and transparency serves the dual functions of deterring abuse of authority and providing a neutral witness of any interactions.

10. We demand that if local or state government enacts unjust laws such as a law similar to Arizona's SB1070 or a ban on feeding the homeless, that the police department refuse to enforce such laws. "I'm just doing my job" has never been a good excuse for participating in acts of injustice.