Archive for the 'History' Category

An Open Letter to LVMPD Sheriff Doug Gillespie From Stanley Gibson’s Widow

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Doug Gillespie,

Chalk the Police 014a 300x175 An Open Letter to LVMPD Sheriff Doug Gillespie From Stanley Gibsons Widow

Two years ago today, Stanley Gibson was murdered by Ofc. Jesus Arevalo of the LVMPD

I know your name. It’s a name I will never forget and, along with Jesus Avalero, one of the two names I can NEVER FORGET. My name is Rondha Gibson. I’m sure you remember my name too, but do you remember what today’s date represents? For me, it’s something else I can never, ever forget.

Today marks two years since Stanley Gibson was shot and killed while sitting unarmed and incapacitated in his car on December 12, 2011.

He was my husband and he was murdered by Officer Jesus Avalero, who you once called dependable and stated you would stand behind. Fortunately, two years later your opinion about that has seemingly changed. Now you say he is responsible for my husband’s death, although you still refuse to call it murder. While you finally had the decency to at least fire him, you still haven’t held him accountable for his actions that day in any legal manner.

Essentially, his “punishment” for shooting my husband, who was both unarmed and innocent, is to have to find another job (after having spent slightly less than two years sitting at home collecting a full paycheck). I don’t doubt that he will cash in on some connections he made while with Metro to get some cushy security job or something such as that. That’s not a true punishment, it’s an inconvenience.

Meanwhile, the last 23 months of my life have been nothing but hell. While Jesus Arevalo was on a paid vacation (AKA “administrative leave”), I was struggling just to pay my rent and other bills. In all that time, I’ve hardly even really had a chance to grieve for my murdered husband amidst all the calls from collection agencies wanting me to pay for Stanley’s funeral, which I couldn’t even afford.

You once claimed at the inquest that you were in contact with me everyday and that you publicly apologized to me, calling Stan’s death a mistake. Even that’s a lie. We had never even talked until after that inquest and that only happened because Steve Sanson of VIPI asked you to come and talk to me. That was the first and only time we ever spoke and the apology you gave then was not worth the breath it took to deliver the fake sentiments it represented.

In the 23 months since Stanley was taken from me by Jesus Arevalo and the culture of lawlessness that you continue to enable within Metro by refusing to hold anyone accountable for their actions, no matter how heinous, I had only two requests for you:

That Stan’s medals and other personal belongings from that day be returned to me.
And that someone be held accountable for his murder.

Finally, his medals came home after a lot of unnecessary stalling, but still nobody has actually been held accountable for Stanley’s murder. Simply being fired isn’t punishment enough for taking the life of another person. I will not just be standing back and accepting that, either. My third demand is your immediate resignation as sheriff and I will renew that demand for every one of your successors until they create true accountability within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

No more members of this community should have to walk around in fear that they will be shot down in cold blood by cops, who know they have no chance of being punished for their actions. No more families should have to deal with the loss of loved ones and the knowledge that accountability is not even an option for Las Vegas area cops, as I and way too many others have had to. I will not rest until genuine changes are made.

I am Rondha Gibson, widow of Stanley L Gibson, a Disabled Veteran murdered by LVMPD Ofc. Jesus Arevalo. I was victimized by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, but I am finished being a victim.

Rondha G.
NEVER FORGET STANLEY L. GIBSON

Thanks for reading. An Open Letter to LVMPD Sheriff Doug Gillespie From Stanley Gibson’s Widow is a post from Nevada CopBlock

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation

Saturday, August 10th, 2013
ChalkThePoliceState 29a 300x127 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments’ Pathetic History of “Accountability”

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.

Legitimate Reasons to be Afraid

ChalkThePoliceState 1a 300x167 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY “punishment” is paid leave.

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

ChalkThePoliceState 22 300x119 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

The Biggest Gang in Las Vegas

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 ChamberlainDeshira 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

ChalkThePoliceState 12 300x143 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

Finally someone within the Las Vegas police system has made some sort of stand for justice, but will it actually matter?

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.

Gillespie 300x200 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

Sheriff Gillespie announcing that the final week of Roston’s 8 month vacation will be unpaid.

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

ChalkThePoliceState 23 300x148 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPDs Killer Reputation

The inevitable backlash

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.

Thanks for reading. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation is a post from Nevada CopBlock

A History of Modern Police

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

From Another World Is Possible - an interesting piece explaining the development and history of the modern police establishment -

Most people accept this relationship as both given – and eternal. That there have always been men (if not always women)  in costumes “policing” the rest of us. But, in fact, it’s a relatively novel thing. Think back to your schooldays. Do you recall any mention of police when you were learning about the colonial era and the American Revolution? There were sheriffs, yes – and the local militia. But these were concerned mostly with keeping the peace – that is, stepping in when someone harmed someone else. Up to and even during the Civil War – a titanic struggle between the fading remnants of the old republican idea and the centralized, omnipotent state that took its place – the idea of police as we know it was essentially unknown. It is a modern concept – one developed out of the company town idea.

Read the rest here.

A History of Modern Police is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

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

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
 Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibsons Murder by LVMPD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CautionPoliceState Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibsons Murder by LVMPD

Caution Police State ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. Unite with Nevada Cop Block to Oppose the Cover Up of Stanley Gibson’s Murder by LVMPD is a post from Nevada CopBlock

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

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Coroners Inquest 300x224 Dont Let Coroners Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coroners Inquest1 300x225 Dont Let Coroners Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

An all too common in the Las Vegas area lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coroners Inquest2 Dont Let Coroners Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards,
Bill Scott

The post referencedby Bill Scott in his statement:

Scales of Injustice 300x280 Dont Let Coroners Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

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

STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW.

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

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

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

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

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

Why should the inquest be fixed?

Stanley Gibson 256x300 Dont Let Coroners Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation

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

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

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

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

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

————————————————————————————-

Be there and make your voice heard!


View Larger Map

Thanks for reading. Don’t Let Coroner’s Inquest Reforms Become Yet Another Victim of Police Intimidation is a post from Nevada CopBlock

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

Friday, November 16th, 2012
Chalk the Police 059a 238x300 Statement of Demands for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Depatment   Submitted by Sunset Activist Collective

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

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

Here are those demands in their entirety:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. Statement of Demands for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Depatment – Submitted by Sunset Activist Collective is a post from Nevada CopBlock

LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
meme 300x199 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

Guess who lives in the neighborhoods LVMPD “saturates.”.

Recently, Sheriff Doug Gillespie made an announcement that, due to budget shortfalls, Las Vegas police would be forced to shift 26 cops from the D.A.R.E program and one of four “saturation teams” back to patrol duty. This along with hiring freezes instituted earlier in the year, was of course couched in terms of Las Vegas area residents becoming less safe, as a result:

“Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s face was grim as he described the largest budget shortfall yet facing Metro Police: an estimated $46.5 million deficit for 2013…

‘Should the community be concerned,” Gillespie said in a Metro video. “Yes. They

Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie 300x221 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie looking very much like he needs a hug.

should be concerned…’

Deputy Chief Kevin McMahill said in a Metro video he’s worried about the demands placed on remaining officers and the community.

‘Will it be less safe? That’s a tough thing for me to sit and say to you,’ McMahill said. ‘The truth is probably…’”

And not surprisingly, either, the affected programs are characterized as essential crime prevention tools that should take priority over everything else:

“They’re cops dedicated to preventing crime in the valley.

But now they’re a luxury the Metropolitan Police Department can’t afford…

“I think it’s one of the few ways we could keep kids off drugs. It’s bothersome to me and bothersome to the community,” he (Las  Vegas Police Union head Chris Collins) said.

But the cuts will continue until Las Vegas and Clark County, which fund about 70 percent of the Metropolitan Police Department’s budget, figure out their priorities, he said.

“You still see city and county parks are being built. Why are you building parks but not funding the Police Department to the level it needs to keep citizens safe?” he asked.

All this teeth gnashing and hand wringing over being unable to fund cops and stuff that the community actually benefits from kinda explains why the city recently implemented what amounts to a protection racket style extortion scheme against local artists participating in First Fridays a few months back.

However, reality tells a very different story in regards to both of these programs.

A License to Harass: Saturating Certain Communities

LVMPD Saturation Teams 300x200 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

They’ll find an excuse to stop you (unless you’re in Summerlin).

The so-called “saturation teams,” which were conceived and implemented by Metro Capt. Jim Dixon and Gillespie (prior to him becoming the sheriff) back in 2005, are actually glorified harassment squads that descend upon designated areas looking for any excuse to stop, search, and arrest the people within those neighborhoods.

“They use whatever laws are at their disposal: jaywalking, riding a bicycle without reflectors, outstanding warrants. They work together, swarming “hot spots” around the valley…

‘We’re like wolves,” officer Justin Gauker says. “We travel in a pack.’”

Those of us that are familiar with the way these wolves usually hunt aren’t exactly shocked by the selective nature of their prey or even how brazen they are when discussing it:

 Sat team officers have to make constant judgment calls. They won’t pull over and arrest someone in Summerlin (a more affluent, predominantly white section of Vegas), for example, who doesn’t have bike reflectors…

It’s old-school policing with professionalism…

I wouldn’t exactly disagree that “old-school policing” often included a lot of  swarming through minority and poor neighborhoods rousting anyone that they arbitrarily decide “is up to something” or “doesn’t belong there.” However, the professionalism of punishing everyone who lives in a certain location for the actions of a small segment of that location’s residents is a little more subjective. Also, it’s no secret that police stop minorities more often, look harder for an excuse to search them once stopped, and are much more likely to make an arrest if something is found. There is a reason that “old schools” get closed down. Usually they provide really shitty educations.

 DARE: A History of Failure and Community Destruction

Meanwhile, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is actually an overly expensive program that has consistently been found to be ineffective and even potentially counter-productive. DARE programs really are nothing more than a product of police desire to justify increased funding, allow access to children for propaganda and informant recruitment purposes, and even convince them to turn their own parents in for minor, victimless drug “crimes.”

DARE drug use increases 300x211 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

The advent of DARE programs has correlated with a steep increase in drug use among school children.

“DARE is costly and ineffective. It wastes educational and police resources. The link between schools and drug police has become a sacred cow that leads to a false sense of security, despite clear evidence that DARE is a failure. Since its curriculum went national, two patterns have emerged: more students now do drugs, and they start using drugs at an earlier age…

DARE has a hidden agenda. DARE is more than just a thinly veiled public relations device for the police department. It is a propaganda tool that indoctrinates children in the politics of the Drug War, and a hidden lobbying strategy to increase police budgets.”

Even the psychologists that created the basis for the model DARE uses have since denounced it as “misguided and outdated.”

“DARE is rooted in trash psychology,” Colson told me two years ago. “We developed the theories that DARE was founded on, and we were wrong. Even Abe Maslow wrote about these theories being wrong before he died.”

Which is true, said Boulder psychotherapist Ellen Maslow, Abraham Maslow’s daughter. She called DARE “nonsense” in 1996, saying the program represented widespread misinterpretation of humanistic psychology.

The Economy isn’t the Only Reason Metro is Over Budget

Las Vegas Metro Spending Policy 300x219 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

A reenactment of local governments’ spending policies over the past few years.

At the root of all this is the basic question of why Metro is over budget in the first place. The economic downturn that has hit Las Vegas especially hard certainly plays a part in it, although the reserve fund area police accumulated during the good times has been able to offset that up until this year. The real reason that local police departments’ funds are running dry is because they spent the past few years throwing cash around like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

Local governments throughout Southern Nevada decided to disregard the economic crash that everyone else in the world saw coming and go on a spending spree beginning in 2009. The city of Las Vegas, which is responsible for 40% of Metro’s budget, spent $146 million building a new city hall building that they couldn’t afford to staff five days a week anymore by the time of its opening.

North Las Vegas, which flirted with bankruptcy last year prior to taking advantage of a loophole that allowed them to declare a state of emergency in order to circumvent mandated spending requirements and also has been threatened with a takeover by state overseers, spent $130 million on their own fancy new city hall.

the shiny new Las Vegas police headquarters LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

LVMPD’s fancy new (and expensive) digs.

Not to be outdone, LVMPD decided that they needed to have a “place of their own” after getting by all these years using space within the old city hall building and rented spaces throughout different areas of town. Instead of joining in on the move to the new city hall or taking over an existing government owned property (including the old city hall), they began construction on a brand new 370,000 square-foot complex.

While the construction costs seems to be a better kept secret than the location of the Holy Grail, it’s been widely reported that they are paying over $12.5 million per year, plus an annual increase of 2%, on top of that to lease the land the new headquarters was built on from a private real estate company.

All of this spending is usually explained away by the fact that they were planned back during the “good times,” even though everyone of them actually received their final approval late in 2009, well after the recession had already begun. The other go-to justification was (as is often the case for these sort of things) job creation, which in reality has amounted to nothing but temporary construction jobs during the building phase.

In fact, the expenditures from that construction has actually eliminated permanent jobs. As mentioned, the Las Vegas city hall is now only open four days a week. North Las Vegas has not only laid off public workers (including cops and firemen), but has also closed down it’s jail and has been rumored to have made unsuccessful ovatures to merge their entire police force with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Sheriff Gillespie has up until now been able to stave off large scale layoffs at Metro by not replacing retiring officers, drawing off the once large reserve funds, and doing a bit of creative math to shift expenses around.

Las Vegas Police Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Las Vegas Metro police brutality graffiti 300x254 LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession

Not an actual Metro police training illustration.

Another factor that has become a negative draw on Metro’s budget has been their tendency to beat, kill, and otherwise abuse people around the valley including completely innocent people and people they just don’t feel like chasing. The 150+ settlements that Las Vegas area police have paid out over the last five years alone (plus another $20 million lawsuit already in the pipeline) come out of that reserve fund and, of course, your pocket. Between the $6.5 million in direct cash paid out and all the salaries being paid to cops sitting home on paid vacation while their friends in the department figure out a way to exonerate them, a lot of Metro’s personnel woes could be alleviated if they just started asking a few questions before shooting or at least afterwards.

The propensity that cops in and around Las Vegas have for brutalizing its inhabitants has both monetary and physical consequences. Since local taxpayers foot the bill for these settlements and most of the offending officers are still on the payroll, these budget cuts are actually one of the few times that local cops have in any way felt repercussions for instances of police brutality.

Unfortunately, it’s not the actual cops responsible for these transgressions that will suffer, but rather it will be new (as of yet) untainted recruits that won’t be hired as a result. However, on the upside, there will be one less saturation team available to harass and abuse people that can’t afford to live in Summerlin.

And that’s a good start…

Thanks for reading. LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities Benefit from the Recession is a post from Nevada CopBlock

When Dealing with Police: Know your Rights – and their Limitations

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

\"policeI recently received this very well made graphic, created by criminology.com, via Email. It rather effectively illustrates the rights that citizens have while interacting with police and other enforcement entities. However, it also does a very good job of showing where those rights have been disregarded and the dangers that police brutality poses to society, even in instances where it’s victims are “protected” by the Constitution. Always remember that paper might beat rock, but it doesn’t stop bullets, tasers, or even nightsticks.

\"know
Created by: Criminology.com

Thanks for reading. When Dealing with Police: Know your Rights – and their Limitations is a post from Nevada CopBlock

We made the Big Time (AKA CopBlock.org)

Monday, June 4th, 2012
564248 3609519190288 1042957157 3120900 399875018 n We made the Big Time (AKA CopBlock.org)

NVCopBlock.org

In case you didn’t notice already (or didn’t come here because of it),  Pete over at the national CopBlock site did a rather nice and informative write up on our debut here at NVCopBlock.org.

Part of the post is this little blurb I wrote about why Nevada needs a local Cop Block affiliate:

As a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, I have been aware for some time that Nevada and Las Vegas, in particular, was badly in need of an organization like Cop Block, especially during the time that I have been involved in local activism.

The LVMPD, along with other Las Vegas area police departments, has a long and sordid history of beating, killing, and otherwise abusing local residents. Beyond the complete lack of accountability for these actions, the aftermath is often economically costly for the community that they terrorize.

On a personal level, it was the recent murder of Stanley L. Gibson, whom I knew from high school, by Jesus Arevalo, a Metro cop with a long history of complaints, and LVMPD’s refusal to cooperate with his widow that fast forwarded Nevada Cop Block from a future project that I had been recruiting additional support for into something that I was going to get up and running ASAP.

Also included is this handy list of  links to our social media profiles:

http://facebook.com/nvcopblock

http://youtube.com/nvcopblock

http://twitter.com/nvcopblock

As well as this great map of all the local Cop Block/Copwatch groups across the country (we’re growing like weeds, except with the opposite result):


View CopBlock.org Friends in a larger map

Personally, I would like to thank the main Cop Block crew for the kind words and well wishes. And of course, I would like to extend that thank you to Blake and everyone else behind the Liberty Web Alliance for quickly and excellently creating this website for us. BTW, that fancy new Nevada Cop Block banner at the top of this post was provided by Danny Richardson one of the local attendees of the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe.

Join us!

Thanks for reading. We made the Big Time (AKA CopBlock.org) is a post from Nevada CopBlock

Were Your Father’s Cops Really That Much Better?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
 Were Your Fathers Cops Really That Much Better?

Me in all my glory

Last year, during a pick up football game, I took off down the field at a full sprint, flew past the player defending me, and settled into the endzone for what should have been an easy touchdown. The quarterback threw the ball in a perfect spiral directly into my chest, which it promptly bounced off of and landed in the arms of that previously vanquished defender, who had by then caught back up to me.

Shortly after that, while playing defense, I tore a muscle in my calf landing me on the couch for a week straight and keeping me on the sidelines for several months.

Of course, in 10 or 20 years (probably 30), once my football days are over for good, you probably won’t hear a lot about that pair of catastrophes. Instead, you’ll most likely hear about thetwo touchdowns I caught earlier in that game. Or even more likely, I’ll tell you about that 90+ yard interception return for a touchdown I had earlier this year, during which that picture to the right was taken.

IMG 0397bw Were Your Fathers Cops Really That Much Better?

Howard Zinn (right), being arrested for the crime of not wanting to kill innocent people.

History has a way of glossing over the bad stuff in favor of the good ol’ days. That is especially true when the one doing the story telling is also the one involved in all the negative stories. Even more so when those stories inspire a deep sense of shame.

I was recently reminded of this particular tendency of  human nature to remember things much better than they actually were when a friend of  mine mentioned to me that he once thought Anarchism was “way out there.” However, now he was beginning to reconsider because of all the instances of police brutality and abuse he’s seen recently. In particular, he was shocked by the recent arrests of members of FoodNot Bombs in Orlando for the “crime” of feeding hungry people. Specifically, because it was the “locals” that were doing the arresting.

IMG 0397bw Were Your Fathers Cops Really That Much Better?

A lunch counter sit-in at a North Carolina Woolworth's

It isn’t uncommon for people to have the image of the “friendly neighborhood cop” in their mind when they think of policemen of the past. That foregone day when the local cop patrolled his beat, knew everyone by name, and protected the residents from those bad guys that wanted to do themharm.

Unfortunately, these memories are nothing but illusions or at best selective memories. In many ways, the cops have indeed gotten worse. By way of standardized training and selective recruitment with a heavy tendency toward veterans and/or people with aggressive personalities, the modern police force has become much more nationalized and militarized. As a result, they are more willing to use force in any given situation and less likely disobey illegal or immoral commands.

Watts riots Were Your Fathers Cops Really That Much Better?

The inevitable response by the State's enforcers.

However, as much as that is true, the only real difference between now and then is a matter of degrees. The thugs beating people in the streets at anti-war protests during the Vietnam war and spraying school children with fire hoses during the civil rights era were locals. Officer O’Malley, the friendly neighborhood beat cop of yesteryear might have taken it easy on Sean, the local hellion, but he knew what had to be done when some uppity nigger refused to step downfrom the lunch counter at Woolworth’s or some dirty hippie decided to burn his draft card and there were no shortage of cops willing to do it.

As the saying goes, the cops are the tip of the State’s spear and the tip is the part that does the real damage. To believe otherwise is to forget the truth of what really happened and create a fantasy world based on those glory days that never really were.

 

(Originally posted at EYEAM4ANARCHY)

Thanks for reading. Were Your Father’s Cops Really That Much Better? is a post from Nevada CopBlock