Tag Archives: Undersheriff Kevin McMahill

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Only Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter For Murder of Tashii Brown

On Monday June 5, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced during a press conference that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Lopera would be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the murder of Tashii Brown (also identified as Tashii Farmer in initial news reports). Along with that charge, he has also been charged with “oppression under color of office.” Both of those charges are low level felonies, carrying just one to four years of potential jail time. (See the first video embedded below for footage of the press conference.)

As has been previously noted here, Tashii was choked to death on May 14th at The Venetian Hotel and Casino, which is located on the Las Vegas Strip after askeing Lopera and another officer for help, stating that he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of providing that help they began treating him as if they were going to arrest him, making him more afraid and leading to him attempting to run away.

Ofc. Lopera chased him into the Venetian’s parking garage, tased him seven times, assaulted him repeatedly, and then used an illegal rear naked choke hold to kill him. In spite of the fact that Tashii Brown had not committed any crime or been suspected of doing so and was not attempting to attack anyone (including the police officers present) physically and was only trying to get away, he was violently attacked and eventually choked to death. (See body camera videos embedded below.)

Lopera could have actually helped Brown instead of treating him like someone that needed to be arrested, thus likely avoiding the entire confrontation. Also, at the time that he began choking him, Brown was already being held down my at least two security guards working for the Venetian. So there was no reason whatsoever for Lopera to commit the murderous act that he did that night or even any of the abusive acts that preceded it. In addition, even after being told several times (at least) by other officers to release Brown, Lopera continued choking him for over a full minute.

What’s more, Metro spokesmen have even admitted that Brown had not committed any crime, was not suspected of a crime at the time, and in fact would not have been charged with any crime had he survived Lopera’s attack. That, of course, came during an earlier press conference in which LVMPD Undersheriff Kevin McMahill (who has a history of his own) smeared Brown’s name in Metro’s now very familiar strategy used to justify the violent behavior of their officers when they kill someone and went out of his way to refer to him as “the suspect.”

Much has been made in the media about this having been the first Las Vegas police officer to be charged with a crime after killing a citizen. And as much of an outrageous fact as that is, that certainly could be viewed as a very small step in the right direction. However, instead of being charged with the crime of murder, which he actually committed, Officer Kenneth Lopera has only charged with involuntary manslaughter, essentially saying that it was just an accident and carrying only a four year maximum sentence. The reality is that it wasn’t involuntary and it wasn’t manslaughter.

This amounts to a cover up designed to appease the public that they knew would be outraged by the typical routine whitewashing of police violence in Las Vegas. They charged him with the bare minimum possible to buy themselves a little time until everyone forgets and they can let him off on a sham trial after the district attorney throws the case. It was a preventable and very much intentional act by Ofc. Lopera. It wasn’t something that just happened or an accidental result.

It was murder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Rationalizations and Media Complicity

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

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

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

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

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

The Inevitable Smear Campaign

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

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

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

A Continued Lack of Accountability At The LVMPD

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

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

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Family of Abel Correa Files Federal Lawsuit Against Las Vegas Police Over 2015 Fatal Shooting

One year ago, in August of 2015, two officers from the LVMPD shot Abel Correa, who was hiding in a closet inside his mother’s house after a neighbor had called police to report that he had been damaging property outside the home. Correa was suffering from mental illness, along with other medical issues, and according to the family Officer Glenn Taylor and Officer Eli Prunchak were aware of that from having interacted with him in the past.

In a body cam video (included in this post) released later, those two officers can be seen opening the door to the small coat closet Correa was hiding in and then shooting him five times. Although he was not armed with any sort of actual weapon, they claimed that he had “lunged at them with a sharp object.”That “sharp object” was subsequently identified as a screwdriver that they say he was holding along with a wrench.

Although the placement of the LVMPD’s body cams (conveniently) allows the hands of the officer wearing it to obscure much of the view of the people they shoot, what can be seen on the video doesn’t quite match up with that story. Also, since wearing a body cam is voluntary for Las Vegas police, only one of the cops was recording video that day.

As stated, Correa’s own hands are not visible in the video. So, it’s not clear what, if anything, he is holding. However, it is quite clear that he is not in any way lunging forward or extending his hands. In fact, he’s both moving slowly and standing straight up at the time he is shot. Regardless of what might have been in his hands when they opened the door, he is not the one acting aggressively at the point when he is shot.

The mother and three brothers of Correa have now filed a $13.2 million federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department claiming that Officers Taylor and Prunchak used excessive force and were not properly trained to de-escalate the situation when dealing with mentally ill people, as well as violations of Abel Correa’s civil rights.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Police arrived at Correa’s mother’s home in the 6900 block of Berkshire Place, near the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, between 6 and 10 a.m. that morning after a neighbor reported the man was breaking a window to enter the house.

Officers Glenn Taylor and Eli Prunchak arrived about two hours after the neighbor’s call, searched the home and found Correa, a methamphetamine addict with a documented history of mental illness, in a small closet by the front door. The officers shot Correa five times after they said they opened the closet door and Correa lunged at them with a screwdriver and wrench in his hands.

 Officers believed Correa was holding a knife and was going to stab them because he was in an attack pose, they said at a fact-finding review, which was held in June after the district attorney’s office preliminarily deemed the police shooting justified.

Metro acknowledged days after the shooting that Correa “was in dire need of mental health services.” At the fact-finding review, Correa’s family argued that Taylor knew about the man’s mental illness and didn’t know how to de-escalate the situation.

In a civil complaint filed Thursday, Correa’s mother and three brothers claimed the officers were not trained properly and used excessive deadly force.

Maria, Ricardo, Gilberto and Moises Correa accused the police department and Sheriff Joe Lombardo of violating Abel Correa’s civil rights through policies, procedures and training.

The lawsuit claims Lombardo had “knowledge that Defendants Taylor and Prunchak lacked sufficient knowledge and training in the Departments of Use of Force Policy” and “should have known officers were not aware of the policy regarding passive resistance.”

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According to the lawsuit, Taylor and Prunchak knew Abel Correa suffered from mental health issues, knew he had been placed on mental health hold and knew he had never used violence toward anyone, including police.

“Abel Correa posed no threat of harm to the defendant officers and/or to anyone else at the scene of the shooting, as Abel was hiding in a closet with the door closed and no means of escape,” the lawsuit reads.

One of the officers told Correa to raise his arms and, when he complied, they discharged their weapons at least five times, killing him, the complaint reads.

The lawsuit claims Lombardo, the police department, Prunchak and Taylor are responsible for Correa’s survival action — the injuries and pain Correa suffered immediately before his death, wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

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