Tag Archives: video

Update: Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Charged With Defrauding Elderly Couple of Over $700,000

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton is facing charges relating to defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Team Commander Lt Tom Melton, along with three other people, is facing charges relating to the defrauding of an elderly Las Vegas couple.

In August of last year, I reported on Lt. Tom Melton, the commander of one of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT teams. At that time, it had just been announced publicly that Melton was under investigation in relation to the financial exploitation of an elderly couple.

As part of that exploitation Lt. Melton persuaded a court to name him as legal guardian and trustee for a couple named Jerome and Beverly Flaherty. On February 14, Melton was was indicted on charges of defrauding an 87 year old widow, who suffered from dementia.

According to the charging documents, he also deceived a court into believing that Beverly Flaherty was still alive after she had died in order to gain control over several of her accounts and then name himself as the beneficiary. One of the couple’s accounts Melton stole from in this manner was the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

All told, Lt. Melton was able to steal over $700,000 from Beverly Flaherty and her husband Jerome, both of whom are dead now. In addition, he’s accused of stealing a Ford Explorer. The fraud reportedly took place between December 2010 and May 2017.

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.

Lt. Tom Melton a SWAT team commander at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with defrauding an elderly couple

LVMPD SWAT Commander Lt. Tom Melton

In order to facilitate that fraud, Melton hired April Parks, the corrupt and abusive owner of a private for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons, were also indicted along with Melton for defrauding the Flahertys.

The three of them were already facing over 200 felony charges related to taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision. A fifth person, Gary Neal Taylor, who was not indicted in Melton’s case, is also facing seven felony charges for similar crimes he committed in conjunction with Parks, Simpson, and Simmons.

The individual charges include (Melton uses his middle name):

  • Lt. James Thomas Melton: Two counts Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category B), one count Theft (category C), seven counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Grand Larceny Auto (category C), two counts Perjury (category D)
  • April Parks: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), six counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)
  • Mark Simmons: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C)
  • Noel Palmer Simpson: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category C), eight counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Perjury (category D)

Local Media Coverage

Parks, Simmons, Simpson, and Taylor are all scheduled to begin trial on their previous charges in May of this year. It’s not clear yet exactly when Lt. Melton will be facing trial. However, since the charges are felonies he will no longer be collecting his $300,000+ yearly salary, like he had been while on paid vacation since the formal investigation began last July.

I will update you once again whenever Lt. Melton receives the inevitable plea deal that will allow him to be sentenced to probation.

Original Investigation Report

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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.

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Grand Jury to Review Manslaughter Charge Against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera in Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Grand Jury Manslaughter

A Las Vegas grand jury will review the involuntary manslaughter charge against LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera, who used an unauthorized choke-hold to murder Tashii Brown in May 2017.

Lawyers for Las Vegas Police Officer Kenneth Lopera (he didn’t personally attend) were in court Thursday (Jan. 25) for a preliminary hearing. It was described in a story by the local Fox affiliate as a date-setting hearing.

In May of 2017,  Lopera used an illegal choke-hold to murder Tashii Farmer-Brown, who had approached Lopera and another officer at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip asking for help. (See description below) Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statements have referred to it as a “unauthorized restraint technique” in order to try and make it sound less violent than it actually was.

During the hearing, it was announced that prosecutors will have a grand jury review Officer Lopera’s involuntary manslaughter charge. Lopera has also been charged with one count of “oppression under the color of law.” That too will be reviewed by the grand jury.

The LVPPA, the Las Vegas police union, is providing legal defense (and has set up a fundraiser that violates the GoFundMe rules, but GoFundMe has refused to take down) for Lopera. Steve Grammas, their president is quoted as saying that they “welcome the review.” But then he’s also on record stating that he thinks hiring a cop who has murdered three people to officially advise cops that shoot someone is a good idea because “he has a lot of experience with that.”

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office was given until March 26th to seek an indictment against Lopera by the judge. The grand jury can choose to endorse those previous charges or could revise them.

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.

Ploy by Police & Prosecutors to Drop the Charges?

Of course, that last part about “revising” the charges is something that likely will cause people who have followed this case to take notice. Grand jury hearings are usually just a formality within the process of filing charges. The old saying, “any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich” is often used to illustrate just how easy it is.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Officer Kenneth Lopera

LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera

However, as has been pointed out before here at NVCopBlock.org, prosecutors often use grand juries to justify not indicting police officers after they kill someone. District attorneys are in full control of the proceedings and decide what evidence is presented (or not). Essentially, they throw the case then use the fact the grand jury didn’t issue an indictment to claim they did everything they could but the case just wasn’t strong enough.

They are also ostensibly the representatives of the victims during the grand jury proceedings, although they really work for the other side. Much more often than not, that carries over to when cops are accused of criminal behavior. The fact that grand juries are by law a secret hearing, with criminal penalties for anyone that discusses what transpired, ensures that no one (including even the jurors) can expose or even criticize their lackluster efforts.

The fact that Officer Lopera is only facing a manslaughter charge (involuntary at that) is itself a point of contention among locals. Most who have seen the body camera footage (embedded below) of Lopez repeatedly tazing, beating, and then choking Tashii Farmer-Brown to death feel it was a pretty clear cut case of murder.

If a grand jury somehow decides not to uphold even those charges, things are going to get hot early this year in Vegas.

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Farmer-Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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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 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

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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

Update: LVMPD Officer Caught on Body Cam Beating Woman For Littering Sentenced to Year in Prison

Excessive Force Prison Sentence Las Vegas Police Officer Richard Scavone

Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Richard Scavone has been sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a handcuffed woman as part of a plea deal.

A Las Vegas police officer has been sentenced to one year in prison as part of a plea deal for beating a handcuffed woman. As I posted about previously on NVCopBlock, LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone was caught on his own body camera assaulting the woman in January of 2015. He had decided that Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was a prostitute, even though he readily admitted later to having no actual proof of that.

He then decided to arrest her for loitering and also for littering, after she threw her coffee on the ground. In the process of profiling her for legally standing on a public street, Scavone became angry because she cursed at him. In retaliation for her not respecting his authoritah (AKA committing “contempt of cop“), he assaulted her multiple times.

In addition to throwing her on the ground, he also slammed her head against the hood of his car twice (after she complained about him touching her breasts), grabbed her by the throat and hair, and slammed her into the door jam of the car as he was shoving her into the back seat. During that entire time, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was handcuffed and not in any way whatsoever physically resisting.

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.

As I also posted about, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz  later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officer Scavone. Also named in the excessive force lawsuit were the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Travis Buechler, a former Corrections Officer. Buechler, who has since been fired for some undisclosed reason, stood by and watched Scavone beat a woman like a Good Cop without reporting it or interceding in any way to stop it. She reportedly suffered permanent injuries to her head, back, and neck during the attack. That lawsuit was settled for $200,000 of taxpayers’ money in July of 2016.

Eventually, due to the body cam footage (embedded below) and the pending lawsuit Scavone was charged with several federal crimes including assault and falsifying an official police report to justify that assault. In September of 2017, he accepted a deal to plead guilty to just one count of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

In spite of having all but one charge dropped and a letter from retired LVMPD Sgt. Raymond Reyes that spoke glowingly of his award winning career, impeccable reputation, and referred to him as “cop of cops,” Scavone actually received a harsher than expected sentence. Earlier this month, on January 11th, he was sentenced to a year in prison and an additional year of probation. He was also fined $20,000 given 300 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II.

Body Camera Footage of Officer Scavone’s Assault:

Posts Related to LVMPD Police Brutality

CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman Preparing to Challenge Drug War in Court Jan. 11th During Marijuana Arrest Trial

Marijuana Possession Trial Ademo Freeman Adam Mueller

“When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year” – Ademo Freeman

The following video and post was originally published at CopBlock.org by Asa J under the title, “CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War.” Obviously, it refers to Ademo’s arrest last year in Ohio on charges of possession of the scary, dangerous “drug” marijuana, that most people could not care less about at this point. More specifically, it relates to the trial for those charges that begins next week, on January 11th.

Barring some sort of eleventh hour plea deal with a sentence of time served (he has stated he would not agree to any deal that requires additional jail/prison time), Ademo will be facing up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 if he is found guilty. More than likely, his freedom hinges on someone in the jury exercising their “Jury Nullificationrights and ruling based on the morality of the War on (Some) Drugs and the prosecution of victimless crimes, rather than the letter of the law.

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.

CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War

Next week, CopBlock co-founder Ademo Freeman will square off against those wishing to send him to prison for peacefully traveling with medical marijuana in a state that also recognizes legal medicinal use of the plant.

You heard that right. Due to the lack of legal framework surrounding medical use of cannabis in Ohio (even though the state passed medical cannabis in 2016), Ademo faces up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 when he stands trail on January 11 for possession of his medicine.

As such, Ohio law stipulates that the Board of Pharmacy attempt to negotiate and enter into reciprocity agreements with other medical marijuana states before allowing use of their medicine. Before entering into an agreement with another state, the Board must determine that the state meet certain criteria.

First, the eligibility requirements imposed by the other state in order to obtain a registry identification card have to be substantially comparable to Ohio’s requirements. Second, the other state must also recognize patient or caregiver registration and identification cards issued in Ohio. Ohio has no such agreement with Colorado, the state Ademo obtained his medical cannabis card in, nor any other state for that matter. In fact, the politicians of Ohio have dragged their feet for two years on this issue depriving who knows how many from receiving medical cannabis and killing countless others.

Ademo is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Shortly after founding CopBlock with activist and friend Pete Eyre in 2010 the two were part of a group of activists arrested for recording public officials at the Franklin County, Massachusetts jail.

The following year Ademo was arrested for wiretapping and faced 21 years in prison after video surfaced from West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire showing a student being roughly pushed down onto a cafeteria table by police detective Darren Murphy.

Ademo recorded telephone conversations he had with a Manchester police captain, the West High principal and her assistant in attempt to bring attention to the incident. He represented himself in court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation. Those convictions were later thrown out by the New Hampshire Supreme Court however.

CopBlock is a decentralized organization made up of a diverse group of individuals united by their shared belief that “badges don’t grant extra rights,” CopBlock.org states. In this pursuit CopBlockers routinely draw attention to police brutality and corruption and are known for their controversial and sometimes intense encounters with police. Naturally, shining a light on the domestic enforcement arm of government attracts unwanted attention. In February, Ademo was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking marijuana and possession of hash oil in Warren County, Ohio.

According to WCPO, 24 pounds of marijuana and 26 vials of hash oil were found in Ademo’s car after he was pulled over by Ohio State Troopers for a missing license plate light. He was arraigned on a $75,000 bond.

From behind bars Ademo routinely spoke out about police accountability issues and problems with the criminal justice system. He was released from jail in March following a major bond reduction having refused a plea deal to serve one year in prison.

Ademo has long been a crusader against the drug war, an issue that routinely garners attention on the pages of CopBlock.org. An advocate of self-ownership and an opponent of victimless crime laws, it was in fact a 2004 marijuana conviction that ultimately led Ademo to co-found CopBlock.

Now, almost 14 years later, Ademo continues to stand up for his individual right to decide for himself what to put in his own body. Next Thursday he will stand trial in Warren County having refused another plea offer this week that would have resulted in a 36 month prison sentence suspended for 6 months in jail and three years probation.

In a live Facebook video on Friday Ademo explained why.

“I’m a medical marijuana patient, ” he said. “I held a valid medical marijuana card until December 17 of last year. Everything I was in possession of that day was my medicine.”

Having lived in Colorado for a short while Ademo decided to return to Ohio temporarily after his plans to make a permanent move to the state didn’t work out. Ademo and his spouse (at the time) had decided not to move his partner’s children so far from their biological father (who came back into his young childrens life) and instead set up a forever home in Michigan (another medical MJ state) after the kids finished school. The only problem was, Ademo never made it back. He was caged by state troopers in the Warren County jail for simply stepping over a line into an occupied territory that seriously needs to clarify its laws regarding the legal use of medicinal cannabis.

“While they say ‘trafficking,’ I had everything I owned in my car,” Ademo said. “There was no drug bust. There were no informants. This wasn’t done at a DUI [checkpoint], I didn’t sell weed to an undercover cop. That’s not my intention. I use weed for medical purposes and I merely had six months worth of medicine with me.”

Ademo has asked people to please call assistant prosecutor Chris Delnicki at the telephone number 513-695-1325 to voice their support. He has also asked friends to send character letters stating that jail isn’t the proper punishment for his so-called “crimes” to Delnicki and/or Judge Robert Peeler at the address: 520 Justice Drive Lebanon, Ohio 45036.

“I don’t believe that my actions deserve 36 months in prison,” Ademo said. “When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year. I believe that that’s enough for someone with a medical marijuana card.”

To hear more of Ademo’s thoughts on the case listen below:

Original Facebook Live Video:

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org: