A Community in Fear
Not too long ago I attended a meeting of the Clark County Commissioners concerning a vote over the process that would be adopted to address shootings by Las Vegas area police. Prior to the vote that eventually happened (after all the important stuff like giving a certificate to a group from a retirement home whose most lauded act was alerting neighbors if they forgot to close their garage door), members of the community were allowed to address the commissioners regarding the issue.
One speaker after another stepped to the microphone and it wasn’t long at all before a common theme began to develop. Statements such as, “I’m afraid of what will happen if I call the police,” “I would never call the police even if I was in real danger because I’m scared more of them,” and “I don’t trust them not to kill someone if I call them for help” were recited over and over again throughout the session. These fears were often accompanied by personal examples of negative experiences resulting from interactions with Las Vegas area police, including several from the families of people that actually had been killed by the police.
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.
Legitimate Reasons to be Afraid
Obviously, every time the police respond to a call they don’t kill or otherwise abuse the people they encounter, even in Las Vegas. However, it happens often enough to instill the sort of fear and hatred toward them that was on public display during the commissioners’ meeting that day. The problem is that people within the community know that should something happen to them or one of their loved ones at the hands of a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department they have very little hope of that cop ever being held accountable for their actions. They don’t know that the cop responding wants to kill them, but they do know that if they do they will get away with it.
The bigger problem is that members of Las Vegas area police departments also know this. Jesus Arevalo told his then-wife that he wanted to shoot someone so that he could get free time off, based on the policy of placing cops on paid leave during investigations. Within a couple of months after that statement, Stanley Gibson, an unarmed, disabled Persian Gulf veteran suffering from a PTSD induced panic attack and in no way representing a threat to anyone was murdered by Jesus Arevalo. Those seven unnecessary shots fired from Ofc. Arevalo’s AR-15 were the ticket to what is fast approaching two full years of the paid vacation that he had indicated he was hoping for. No charges were ever brought against him for his actions, which even other police on the scene characterized as unexplainable in their official statement to the detectives subsequently going through the motions of an investigation. At worst, Arevalo might possibly be punished by being fired.
A Long History of Corruption and Violence
Throughout their history, the LVMPD has consistently rated among the highest statistically nationwide (even when compared against cities with much higher populations) in times they have shot at people while on duty and in the level of fatalities resulting from those shootings. Stanley Gibson was just one of the latest names in the laundry list of the victims of Las Vegas police that includes Erik Scott (whose murderers were later given an award for bravery while gunning down someone from behind and then unloading their guns on him as he lay already dying on the ground), Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, Tanner Chamberlain, Deshira Selimaj, and Henry Rowe, among the 150+ shootings just since 1990.
Yet, not one singular time in the close to forty year history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a Las Vegas area police officer ever been charged for shooting someone, regardless of whether the person shot was unarmed or even completely innocent of having committed any actual crime. One rather telling fact is that the reason the old Las Vegas city police was originally merged with the Clark County Sheriff department to create “Metro” was in response to an uproar after a very questionable shooting that was ruled justifiable. Yet, no matter how questionable the many shootings by Metro have been, the justifications have continued unabated.
An Absolute Refusal to Hold ANYONE Accountable
A recent incident has shined a very public spotlight on the reasons why it is so impossible to hold anyone within the LVMPD accountable for their actions. In one of the most questionable shootings ever Officer Jacquar Roston claimed to have confused a hat Lawrence Gordon was wearing for a gun and shot him in the leg as he sat in a car. As would be expected of anybody with even half a brain, Metro’s internal Use of Force Review Board didn’t really accept that excuse and recommended that Roston be fired as a result.
The fact that this recommendation was hailed as an “unprecedented” act by the board tells you a lot about the past history of the Las Vegas police in relation to officer involved shootings. The fact that Sheriff Gillespie promptly disregarded that recommendation in favor of a one week unpaid suspension (after Roston had already spent 8 months on paid vacation during the investigation) tells you a lot about the prospects for any sort of accountability for them in the near future.
However, in one glimmer of hope for some sort of prospect for justice, seven members of the board did actually have the integrity to stand up and resign in disgust after Gillespie’s disgraceful action. One former member of the board, Glenn Rinehimer, stated that previously the board had been “stacked” with retired police officers from other parts of the country designated as civilians. According to Rinehimer, they didn’t seem in any hurry to actually investigate whether shootings were justified. “The retired police just didn’t seem interested,” Rinehimer said. “They didn’t ask a lot of questions. They voted quickly for it to be justified.”
Robert Martinez, a co-chair of the board who also resigned, had previously expressed hope that this sort of rubber stamping had ended once former police employees and their family members were banned from being appointed as civilians on the board last year. He believed that Metro truly desired a fair and transparent process. That is until Gillespie essentially exonerated Roston despite the board’s unanimous recommendation. “I was thoroughly fooled,” Martinez said. “I thought it was going to change and it isn’t.” Within his resignation letter Martinez characterized the process as a flawed one that undermined the Use of Force Review Board.
Former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody, who submitted for retirement in response to this case, agreed that Gillespie was undermining the credibility of the board even as Metro faces increasing scrutiny over questionable shootings and other scandals that are becoming hard to even keep up with lately. Las Vegas police officers will not have the public’s trust until the department has a credible process for reviewing its own shootings, Moody stated. And that process must be stable, impartial, unbiased and free from political interference. “Anything short of that is going to fuel further suspicion and mistrust and is just begging for the imposition of externally imposed oversight,” he said. “Nobody wants that. We can be better than that.”
Rinehimer went even further in his assessment of the problems with a system that is in practice designed to ensure no cop is ever held accountable. Rinehimer said the sheriff’s decision to overturn the Use of Force Review Board’s recommendation doesn’t set a good precedent, especially for officers who find themselves in similar situations in the future. “At the end of the day, the officer might be sitting there smiling, knowing the sheriff might not fire him anyway,” Rinehimer said. “It’s a farce.”
A Lack of Accountability that is Not Good for Anyone, Even the Police Themselves
There’s an obvious incentive for members of the community to demand accountability for the heavily armed band patrolling through the streets that they live and work. If those individuals are permitted to act as an occupying force with the impunity to do as they please to those within that community, those among their ranks that have an unscrupulous tendency will take advantage of that to commit criminal and violent acts.
However, there are reasons why even those within the local police departments should want to see accountability for those “bad apples” that we are always being told are just exceptions to the rules. Fear eventually gives rise to hostility and working within the bounds of a hostile environment makes someone’s job just that much harder to do. People within communities don’t feel real obligated to help with the investigation of crimes when the person doing the investigation is perceived as being as bad or worse than the people being investigated.
Having to deal with indifference or even active retaliation in the process only serves to make the job of the police more difficult and frustrating, which in turn makes them more bitter and cynical and leads to even more abuses. At some point, that downward spiral needs to be put to an end and the only way to do that is to create real accountability, rather than a hollow, toothless sham that does nothing but draw attention to the lack of it. And as Sheriff Gillespie recently found out, people are a lot less accepting of having their taxes increased in order to supplement the LVMPD’s budget during an almost daily barrage of news about yet another police scandal.
Posts Related to the LVMPD
- Police Brutality Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Set to Premier in New York on Black Friday
- Tashii Brown’s Mother Calls For Murder Charge Against Las Vegas Cop At “What Happened in Vegas” Screening
- Mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown to Hold Press Conference After “What Happened in Vegas” Screening at Anthem Film Festival
- Nevada Cop Block Will Be Attending Freedom Fest 2017 and the Anthem Film Festival
- “What Happened in Vegas” Anti-Police Brutality Documentary to Show at Anthem Film Festival (Freedom Fest) July 20th
- “What Happened in Vegas” Documentary; LVMPD Racial Profiling, False Arrest Case Featured on Las Vegas’ Local ABC Station
- Update: Racial Profiling Case by LVMPD Saturation Team Body Cam Videos Show No Original Cause for Stop
- LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Only Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter For Murder of Tashii Brown
- Tashii Brown Protest: Woman is Attacked by Racist Man With Knife, LVMPD Arrests Those Defending Her
- Tashii Brown-Farmer Asked For Help; LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera Tased And Choked Him To Death Instead
- “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
- Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
- Until Cops Stop Killing “Civilians,” Every Uniformed Police Officer in America is in Danger
- Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
- Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
- Bill Scott Testimony in Support of NV Bodycam Bill: “My Son Erik Might Be Alive Today…” (Video)
- Jesus Arevalo, the LVMPD Cop Who Murdered Stanley Gibson, Ends Up in Jail (For 10 Days)
- Bill Scott, Father of Erik Who Was Killed by LVMPD Employees, Interviewed by Bill Buppert of ZeroGov.com
- Death Threats Received After Interview of Erik Scott’s Father
- An Open Letter to LVMPD Sheriff Doug Gillespie From Stanley Gibson’s Widow
- Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibson’s Murder by LVMPD
- Justice for Stanley Gibson or Just an End-Around Coroner’s Inquest Reforms?
- Will There Ever Be Justice? by Rondha Gibson
- Stanley L. Gibson Candlight Vigil: June 12, 2012
- Erik Scott’s Murder: What Happens in the LVMPD, Stays in the LVMPD
- Trevon Cole Murdered by LVMPD Officer Bryan Yant During Drug Raid
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The police and the department are public servants paid by taxpayers to protect and serve the public instead las Vegas police and department run the streets instilling wholly fear in to the public and god forbid you speak out against them. You will be a target of their intimidation
Detective William Lee Majors in Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in the Violent Crimes Division is another corrupted Cop in LVMPD. This guy will put anyone in trouble for buying him a $100.00 lunch in a Las Vegas Casino Restaurant. He will write his investigative “NOT” report like a fairy tale told to a kid and the corrupted DA’s in LVJC will believe word for word what this idiot has written and the next thing is that an innocent person will gone behind bars.
God Bless Sean I’m right behind you. I suffer from insidious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by an attack on me by a well known Registered Sex Offender with Unspeakable crimes in 3 states. I was a naive innocent single mother who moved to Las Vegas and bought a home. My PSTD is a 9 year beat down by METRO specifically The Violent Crime Department.
My crime…I thought the bad guys lived in the TV and Police were Hero’s. I had a security clearance for 30 years in the stock market, bonded, never committed or convicted of any crime. Here goes nothing…the only crime you can ever commit on me is homicide. LVMPD can do to me for their 9 years of despicable abuse by THE ENTIRE VIOLENT CRIME DEPARTMENT and police brutality is shoot me. I’m already dead, just a empty shell, damaged by The very department who’s job was to protect me. Instead Det. Hodson, Det. Bello, Sgt. Cricket, Captain Smith and our shining Detective Michael Brewer all members of the violent crime department and a big shout out for the DISGRACEFULNESS MICHAEL BREWER CAUGHT ON THE STAND PURGING HIMSELF UNDER OATH AS HE WAS DESTROYING ANOTHER WOMAN’S LIFE NOT PROTECTING! THE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER IS AN INFORMANT. I KEPT TRYING TO SEEK JUSTICE. IT’S WHAT I WAS RAISED TO BELIEVE NEVER KNOWING WHAT LIED AHEAD FOR ME. I WAS WARNED, THREATENED, COERCED, SILENCED AS THEY INSTEAD PROTECTED THE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER AND IT TOOK YEARS TO BREAK ME WITH THE POLICE CORRUPTION AND MAKING MY LIFE COLLATERAL DAMAGE FOR THEIR COVER UP. i WAS A WONDERFUL LAW ABIDING CITIZEN MY ENTIRE LIFE. PROUD EAST COAST WOMAN FROM BOSTON AND BOSTON POLICE I BELIEVED POLICE WERE HEROS. ALTHOUGH I BREATH THE TRAUMA OVER YEARS OF POLICE COVER UP I FORMALLY SWEAR UNDER PENALTY OF PURGURY I WAS DESTROYED BY LVMPD VIOLENT CRIME DEPARTMENT INTENTIONALLY TO COVER FOR A VIOLENT LIFE TIME CRIMINAL. IT PLAYED OUT LIKE THE MOVIE THE DEPARTED. TO DETECTIVE MICHAEL BREWER, BELLO, AND HODSON I HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR MY DEATH. THE EGREGIOUS, INTENTIONAL COVER UP, COERCION, POLICE BRUTALITY AND IT TOOK YEARS TO PUT ME DOWN. A TOUGH LITTLE WOMAN WHO SOUGHT JUSTICE WILL EXIT THIS LIFE HAVING SUFFERED FOR SO MANY YEARS FROM POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. THE SUFFERING I HAVE ENDURED, MY ONLY CHILD NOT EVEN 25 WILL LOSE HIS MOTHER SOON. I WAS TRAUMATIZED TO DEATH BECAUSE OF LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN VIOLENT CRIME DETECTIVES AND GILLESPIE YOU ARE A DISGRACE AND YOUR PARTICIPATION I ALSO HOLD IN WRITING. OWN I, MAN UP, OR NOT, BUT THE TIMES ARE CHANGING AND SOME OF YOU ARE FINISHED! SUE ME! I GET TO DIE SO YOU COULD COVER FOR A LIFER OF VIOLENT CRIMES WHO IS PONDSCUM AND NOT FIT TO BREATH THE SAME AIR AS THE CIVILIANS WHO PAY YOUR SALARY. TODAY I STILL BREATH, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE I DIED MANY YEARS AGO. PROSECUTE DETECTIVE BREWER FOR PURGATORY, FALSELY ASSUMING THE FAKE IDENTITY OF FBI TO COERCE AND DESTROY. THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS LONG GONE, PANIC ATTACKS, TRAUMA, DEPRESSION, FEAR, DISBELIEF, INABILITY TO SPEAK UP, BUT I HAVE EVERYTHING. SO LET’S PUT THESE TAX PAYERS CIVIL CRIMINALS POSING AS CIVIL SERVANTS IN CHECK. COME FINISH THE JOB YOU COWARDS, CORRUPT, INHUMANE TORTURE OF INNOCENCE WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY! I PUBLICLY HOLD YOU LIABLE FOR MY DEATH WHENEVER THAT DAY COMES OR YOU COME TO FINISH THE JOB! IF IT ISN’T IN WRITING IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. IT’S AL IN WRITING AND IT DID HAPPEN. LIKE I SAID 9 YEARS AGO DETECTIVE HODSON…WHY??? YOU ARE THE EVIL OF THE BARRELS OF SIN CITY. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF ANYTHING. YOU ARE PUBLICLY NAMED AS MY DESTROYERS. THANK YOU FOR WALKING THE TALK MY ENTIRE LIFE ONLY TO BE REMEMBERED AND TAKEN OUT BY LVMPD VIOLENT CRIME DEPARTMENT TO AID AND ABED A CRIMINAL WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN LOCKED UP FOR LIFE LONG BEFORE HE EVER LAID EYES ON ME AND HE CONTINUES TO COMMIT CRIMES AND HE IS FREE, DANGEROUS, AND LEFT AS A PREDATOR BY YOU TO CONTINUE TO HARM INNOCENT CIVILIANS. ROT IN HELL FOR USING MY LIFE AS COLLATERAL DAMAGE. EVERYONE OF THE FILTHY HANDS THAT DESTROYED JUSTICE YOU CAN FINISH NOW! THATS ALL YOU CAN EVER DO TO ME SO BRING IT. MAYBE YOU CAN SHOOT ME 9 TIMES IN THE BACK…COWARDS! SPEAK UP PEOPLE.AGAINST THE DIRTY ONES (AND THAT’S A LOT OF GOOD OL BOYS) ARE YOURS TO REMOVE FROM POWER. DONT COWER IN FEAR. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE, THE JUDGES WHO SIGN OFF ON LIES AND CORRUPTION. I HAD NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN A COURT ROOM PRIOR TO THE ASSAULT ON ME. CONTEMPT? REALLY? HOLD JUDGES ACCOUNTABLE FOR SIGNING OFF AGAINST INNOCENT BASED ON A DETECTIVE CAUGHT LYING ON THE STAND.VICTIMS. CONTEMPT…WELL HERE’S A BOLD STATEMENT I HOLD YOU, YOUR HONOR IN CONTEMPT FOR YOUR ROLE OF STRIPPING ME OF MY HUMAN RIGHTS, JUSTICE WAS NEVER SERVED. YOU ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE. YOU HAVE NO MORE AUTHORITY. I DO NOT RECOGNIZE IT AS YOUR ROLE LEFT ME MENTALLY DISABLED WITH POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND DEFENSELESS AND BEATEN TO DEATH…STILL BREATHING. MY NAME WAS PATRICIA, A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING AND I WAS DESTROYED BY LVMPD, JUSTICE COURT OFFICIALS AND WHOEVER ELSE IS PROTECTING THIS EVIL. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY, YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR ASSAULT WHICH WILL END MY LIFE BECAUSE YOU ARE CORRUPT, UNWORTHY OF YOUR BADGE AND GUILTY. PERIOD. YOU ARE CIVIL SERVANTS. MANY OF YOU HAVE FAILED. SHERIFF GILLESPIE YOU KNEW AND DID NOTHING. FIRE THESE ROUGE COPS. POLICE OFFICERS ARE COMING TO THE CROSS ROADS. SLOWLY BEING EXPOSED AND CHARGED WITH MURDER! DIDN’T YOU JUST MURDER AN UNARMED AMERICAN HERO SUFFERING FROM PTSD WHO POSED NO THREAT AS HE SUFFERED IN PANIC. HE FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY AND YOU MURDERED HIM SHOOTING HIM 8 TIMES? THE TRUTH WILL EVENTUALLY DISPOSE OF ALL OF YOU DIRTY FILTH. I SAID IT. ITS TRUE. OWN IT YOU REPULSE ME. IF YOU NEED SOME TIME OFF AND WANT TO SHOOT ANOTHER INNOCENT, BROKEN SHELL OF WHAT WAS ONCE A BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEING YOU KNOW WHERE I AM AND YOU CANT EVER BRUTALIZE ME AGAIN. I DIED YEARS AGO. HOPE YOU ROT IN PRISON…ALL OF YOU. GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF LAS VEGAS AND PROTECT THEM FROM THESE THUGS. YOU ARE CRASHING LVMPD. DUI’S AND ARRESTS OF OFFICERS, PURGURY MICHEAL BREWER. YOU ARE THE MAIN ROTTEN CORE. I HOPE YOU ARE STOPPED AND PROSECUTED, BUT YOU ARE ALL EXPOSED. I WILL HAVE SOME CLOSURE AND PEACE WHEN I TAKE MY LAST BREATH. YOU WILL BE STOPPED. FIGHT OR FLIGHT, TEXT BOOK! I CHOSE TO FIGHT.
EVERY CIVILIAN CAN LEGALLY VIDEO RECORD POLICE CONDUCT FOR THEIR SAFETY. YOU CAN ONLY CONTINUE FOR A SHORT TIME AS TECHNOLOGY WILL DESTROY YOUR GODLIKE CONDUCT. FOR MANY OF US THERE ISNT ANYTHING LEFT TO DESTROY SO WHAT CAN YOU DO BESIDES SHOOT ME. GILLESPIE I HAVE LETTERS SIGN BY YOU TO DATED 9 YEARS AGO WHEN MY LIFE FOREVER CHANGED.
YOU ARE A FRAUD! YOUR LETTERS INDICATE AFTER REVIEWING MY COMPLAINTS YOU FOUND NO WRONG DOING. WELL MR. FOUND NO WRONG DOING I CHALLENGE YOU TO PRODUCE ANY FORM OF COMPLAINT SIGNED BY ME. I WAS BLACKBALLED AND NO MEMBER WOULD FORMALLY ADDRESS THE CRIMES AGAINST ME BECAUSE YOU ARE PROTECTING THE MONSTER.
YOU CAN NOT PRODUCE ONE SENTENCE SIGNED BY ME BECAUSE I WAS NEVER GIVEN 5 MINUTES OF ANYONES TIME. SO YOU LIED. YOU COULD NOT HAVE REVIEWED ANYTHING, THEREFORE YOUR SIGNED LETTERS FINDING NO WRONG DOING ARE FRAUD.
“At some point, that downward spiral needs to be put to an end and the only way to do that is to create real accountability, rather than a hollow, toothless sham that does nothing but draw attention to the lack of it.”
Well said. I hope the police use this experience as a reason to reevaluate their tactics and not as an excuse to double down on their violence. Ideally I would like to see neither cops being killed by peopled disgruntled at the police state nor hundreds of innocent people being killed each year by criminal cops.
Unfortunately, I think the second option is the one they are much more likely to choose.
The police are civil servants to protect and SERVE THE PEOPLE OF LAS VEGAS. PERHAPS IT IS OUR JOB TO USE THIS EXPERIENCE TO REEVALUATE LVMPD! YOU HAVE TAKEN AN OATH AND IF YOU VIOLATE YOUR OATH TO PROTECT AND SERVE WHY ARE THEY NOT CHARGED IMMEDIATELY, PROSECUTED AND DISCARDED AS TRASH. YOU ARE DISGRACING OUR OFFICERS WHO ARE COMMITTED TO THEIR SWORN OATH. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW! FINALLY! I HAVE BEEN SILENCED FOR SO LONG, BUT I AM NOT AFRAID. YOU CAN KILL ME TOO AS I POSE NO THREAT, BUT THE TRUTH AND GO TO PRISON OR YOU CAN CHOP CHOP BECAUSE YOU WORK FOR US.