On November 24th, Thomas McEniry was shot during an incident involving three Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers. Prior to that, Officer Kyle Prior had tried to pull McEniry over after noticing that the license plates didn’t match the vehicle he was driving. McEniry didn’t stop at that time, but later his vehicle was spotted outside of a nearby apartment complex. It apparently had been left in gear and another officer stopped it by blocking it with his police cruiser.
Shortly after that, the three officers saw McEniry being escorted off the apartment complex’ property by a security guard. Officer Prior then ordered him to stand at the front of his car. Instead McEniry began yelling that he hadn’t done anything and ran away from the car. The body cam worn by Officer Prior shows him following McEniry, gun drawn, into what turns out to be a gated and walled off enclosure. At the same time, the other two officers have approached and are standing outside that enclosure at a gate facing the street.
Still maintaining that he hadn’t done anything, McEniry is at this point backed into a corner with nowhere else to run. Prior begins yelling for him to show his hands, at one point stating, “if you don’t show me your hands, I’m going to shoot you in the fucking face.” Although he doesn’t make any sort of aggressive move toward Prior and actually gets down on his knees, McEniry has his hands behind his back where they can’t clearly be seen.
Everything claimed by Metro thus far, is borne out on the video. There’s really no major discrepancies as of yet. However, at this point is where questions begin to arise between the official story and what’s actually shown on the video Metro released.
Officer Prior tased McEniry, who can be seen in the video writhing around for several seconds. Then according to the LVMPD’s statements McEniry reached for a gun that was lying on the ground in front of him, picked it up, and pointed it at Prior. According to them he had been reaching for it in the back of his waistband when his arms were behind him and then it had fallen out. It was at this point that the three officers shot McEniry a total of eight times.
When you actually watch the video though, there are several holes in that story. For one thing the gun the officers claim McEniry pointed at Officer Prior was really a pellet gun. An obvious question is why someone would try to have a shootout with three heavily armed cops using a pellet gun. If you go with the go-to theory of suicide by cop, then you have to ask why he didn’t pull the gun out when initially confronted by Prior instead of running away and trying to escape (or even during the initial attempted traffic stop).
In addition, if he had this gun on him why didn’t he pull it out and use it to intimidate the unarmed security guard rather than allow him to escort him back to the area where the police were waiting? Also, if the gun was in the back of his waistband, why would it fall out in front of him? Even the fact that he got down on his knees is questionable, that’s hardly something someone does when they are preparing to fight.
Even the specifics of the video the police chose to release bring up several questions. For instance, they make it very clear from the very first report right down to the press copnference where the video was released that McEniry not only reached for a gun, but actually picked it up and pointed it at Prior:
However, when you watch the video, it cuts off as soon as he puts his arm out. A video of him picking up a gun and pointing it would be pretty conclusive and ironclad evidence that they were justified in shooting him. So why would they cut that part of the video out? It doesn’t make any sense to edit the video to leave out the part that would most obviously support your version of what happened and eliminate any second guessing.
Further their purported proof that he had a gun is a still shot from another officer’s body cam of a gun sitting next to a wall. Once again, a video of him walking up to the area where the gun was and actually showing it being found would be pretty conclusive evidence that a gun was there at the time of the shooting. Why would they only release an out of context screenshot of a gun lying next to a wall that could have been taken at any time?
For that matter, all three of the cops at the scene had body cams. Why release the footage from just one of them?
The larger issue though, is that when you watch Officer Prior’s video you can pretty clearly see the area in front of McEniry and there’s simply no gun there. The video can be slowed down and I even took a still shot of the moment before he reaches his arm out. The ground in front of him where the gun would have to be for him to pick it up is empty. That’s a simple fact.
Why exactly he reaches his arm out is a bit of speculation. He had fallen backwards and, if his intention was to get back up, he probably would need put his arm forward to balance himself. So that’s a potential reason. However, regardless of why he was reaching out, the fact remains that he wasn’t reaching for a gun because there wasn’t one there.
The LVMPD has a long and storied history of shooting unarmed people. They also have a history of lying about why they shot people and covering up for those lies. What’s even more telling is that they also have a history of planting guns to facilitate those cover ups. They illegally searched Erik Scott’s condo and took one of his guns to justify murdering him outside of Costco in 2010. Similarly, they held they held the brother of Trevon Cole’s pregnant girlfriend hostage to coerce her into allowing them to search her apartment in an unsuccessful attempt to find a gun they could plant to justify his shooting.
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.