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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Las Vegas Police Have Gone Wrong

The Las Vegas Police Have Gone Wrong
The Las Vegas Populist Examiner by Mark Noonan - March 29, 2011

Mike McDaniel over at Pajamas Media has put together the whole, sad story of what is wrong with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Revolving around the terrible case of the Erik Scott shooting - where a US military veteran was gunned down by Metro officers outside a Costco store - McDaniel's article is an indictment of the whole force, and the way law enforcement is done in Las Vegas. He concludes: ...Every week, more of the kinds of malfeasance and incompetence that would horrify the officers of any professional, competent agency are exposed in Las Vegas. Metro seems to care not at all about public relations — in itself a very dangerous sign for the safety of the public. A police agency that considers itself outside the law and above it is a menace, not just to the rights of citizens, but, as the Scott and other cases reveal, to their very lives. President Obama once suggested that citizens should not waste their money in Las Vegas. The Clark County commissioners may wish to consider the reasonable safety concerns of visitors, and the residents of Egypt and Las Vegas may have more in common than they imagine...

To compare any American law enforcement agency with the thugs who make up the police in places like Egypt is a terrible thing, but Metro has earned itself such censure. In the article, which you really should read, it is noted that in response to some small, cosmetic changes in the way police shootings are investigated, the police union has announced that no officer will cooperate with such investigations. A wall of silence is to be maintained and even officers not involved in the shootings, but witness to them, won't cooperate. The only reasonable interpretation of such an action is that the organization is corrupt, knows that it is corrupt and is determined to protect the corruption. Such an act also betrays the fact that at least a good portion of the officers - and especially their union representatives - do not have a conception of what law enforcement is about. It seems to me that for all too many of our officers, being in the police force is just a job. That is a grossly wrong interpretation of what it is. Being a police officer isn't a job; it isn't a career - it is a vocation. To be a police officer who is worth anything, one has to have a selfless dedication to ensuring that the laws are enforced. It is, indeed, hard to separate one's self from personal considerations and become the neutral enforcer of laws, but that is what being a police office is. You either enforce the laws - all of them, all the time - or you're no good. Among the laws to be enforced are laws which prohibit or restrict the right of police officers to use their fire arms. If a police officer uses his fire arm in the wrong manner - or in any way violates the public trust under the cover of his authority as a police officer - then the duty of all other officers is to call him to account. Considerations of friendship and comradeship must play no roll. Law is law, and law enforcement officers must enforce it.

Please understand that I'm pro-police. The good cops out there do a hard and often very dirty job which I don't believe I could do. I'm not good enough, you see?, to be a good police officer. My admiration for those who can genuinely carry out the task of a police officer is unbounded. I will not wantonly second guess them. I will give them every benefit of the doubt in a difficult situation. But I must insist that they enforce the laws. In the case of the Scott shooting, there is ample evidence to indicate that the police acted improperly, if not criminally. Certainly the officers involved should have suffered some sanctions for shooting a man who posed no visible threat to those around him and whom they failed to give ample warning to before opening fire. In such cases, a thorough investigation is warranted, preferrably by an outside entity which will have no internal loyalties to consider. But that is not how we do it in Las Vegas. The police investigate themselves, and then put on a bit of kabuki theater called a "coroner's inquest" to justify their pre-determined assertion that the police invariably acted properly. And now we find that the police are pledging non-cooperation even with the only slightly improved processes for investigating such things. This is a red rocket - a glaring fact which must lead to the conclusion that the system is rotten.

My assertion is that most of the officers of Metro are worthy; that they are dedicated law enforcement agents who only wish to do their duty. But it is clear to me that a baleful spirit has overcome Metro - and a spirit which cannot be rooted out internally. It is, then, up to the people to ensure that our police force is beyond reproach. Various steps must be taken. First off, we should de-certify the police union. Any union which urges its members to not cooperate with law enforcement is anti-law enforcement, and thus should have no influence at all upon the police. Secondly, immediately dismiss for cause - meaning, no pay and no pension - any officer who refuses to testify in any investigation of the police save in those cases where the officer, himself, is the target of the investigation. Third, completely ditch the coronor's inquest and set up a Citizens Review Board which will hear complaints of officer misconduct and determine whether or not the matter should be referred to an outside agency for investigation and potential prosecution. This Board should be constituted much as a jury is: randomly choosen citizens to serve for a fixed period of time, with pay, to which those who feel wronged can appeal. Upon the unanimous recommendation of the jury an investigation would be launched by an outside agency do determine the facts and order additional actions as necessary. In a free society there are certain things which must be absolute. If there is a general failure in these basic things, people will lose faith in free institutions and will start to listen to the siren song of tyranny as a means of securing their lives and property. Very important among these basic things is the belief that the laws are fairly and strictly enforced. A law enforced only at the whim of the police is no law at all, but the merest excuse for despotism. Only a police force of the most dedicated and trained officers can carry out this crucial task. In order to ensure such a force, the people must be ever vigilant to protect the police from those forces of corruption so prevalent in society at large. The problems of Metro have gone on too long; we, the people, have been too slack. Our love for the police born of respect for their hard task has allowed us to blind ourselves to the terrible reality. It is time for us to take off the blinders, see things as they are and start to fix a broken police force.


Anonymous said...

I have stood witness to more than one occasion of police mis-enforcement in Las Vegas/North Las Vegas. As the daughter of a fallen police officer in Michigan, and now a resident in Las Vegas, I am saddened to say I do not feel safe in the city I reside. When I think of calling the police for assistance or help, I think of gambling at the slots...I never know what I'll get when the police cruiser shows up.

I hope more citizens speak up!

king bringer said...

To keep it short; I am the victim of a crime, actually two separate
crimes. The perpetrator of these crimes has some unknown connection to Metro, perhaps by blood. Therefore the police are refusing to take any action or even investigate, saying “it’s a civil matter”, when clearly
it is not. The fact that I am Black, and an ex-felon I’m sure plays a role in their decision not to act.
This past summer I was evicted from my home after my landlord was
killed in a motorcycle accident and his ex-wife took over his estate. She gave me two weeks to pay her two months rent, when in fact my rent was paid up three months in advance. Upon being locked out by the constable, the ex-wife removed all my property and placed it into a storage unit within 24 hrs. She then sent me a bill in the amount of $700 for the costs of moving and storage. I asked that she be prepared
to show proof of this when we met at the storage place. Her boyfriend handed me a home made generic receipt for $700, and re-iterated that if I did not pay, my property was to be “donated” the next day. I was
not allowed to examine the contents of the storage unit before paying and no inventory was made. They then called Police who stood around with their arms folded as if to intimidate me. It worked, I paid the money. I asked the clerk for a phonebook, I could not find the company
“U-Call-We-Haul”, nor could they produce a telephone number. Further investigation revealed that no such company exists. Upon researching the relevant NRS it would appear that no less than six felonies were committed. Without a doubt enough evidence to at least initiate a criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Part 2: Upon entering the storage unit, it was obvious that not only was this not done by professionals, but there was a substantial amount of my property missing and damaged. It took a while to completely go through everything. I made a list of the missing items of which the
value totaled over $26,000. I believe they kept what they wanted and discarded what would not fit. One item in particular that would tend to stand out, mostly because of its awkwardness is my custom foosball table which has to be dismantled to move through any doorway.
I called Metro and explained the situation, they agreed that a crime had been committed and advised me to come down to the station to file a report, which I did. I filed a single report for fraud and the theft of my belongings. I called to follow up with a Detective 10 days later
and was given the “run around” back and forth between two different sub-stations. When I finally got through a female officer from the SE
Area Command property crimes division told me that this was all a civil matter. I tried to dispute this quoting the appropriate NRS to her, she hung up.
I called a couple other sub-stations and anonymously and
hypothetically posed the same scenario to them. Their response; the same as I was told the first time, that yes it seems that a crime has definitely occurred, come fill out a report and action will be taken.I also contacted the FBI, who just brushed it back under Metro’s doormat. I didn’t expect them to do anything anyway. I won’t waste my
time with Internal Affairs.

I’ve lived here most of my 47 years, serving the community as
a Firefighter for over ten years. I’ve been “Niggered Out” of a lot of things from cub scouts to night clubs. It’s a terrible feeling. I've been a crime victim on many occasions, but yet have I had even one case, where I am the victim, even looked at by Police. I would have accepted a bullshit answer form the cops like “we’ll look into it Mr.
Williams and get back with you”. That would have completely satisfied me. But to say this is just a civil matter is more than just insulting.

I just want some of my things back and the cash they took from me for the “moving”. I want the Police to truly approach me as the victim and find a way to help me get justice for once. I am entitled to “equal protection under the law” by the 14 Amendment.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were out for a relaxing Sunday drive up to Mt. Charleston when a police officer in a large Suburban-type SUV veered towards us as we met on the road. On our way home the same officer in the same SUV veered at us again. I have no idea why. This among with several other incidents have lead me to believe that LVMPD officers are themselves involved in organized crime.

Anonymous said...

King, according to just the facts that you put in here, it is a civil matter. All you need to do is get the receipts for this damaged and missing property, proof of paid rent and take them to court. Its as easy as that.

Anonymous said...

i,ve been running into bikecops on fremont about two or three times and they always had to let me go.But one nite two bike cops planted a crack rock on me and changed my life because they got away with it so far because my public defenders didnt want to fight my case is there any one that can say that biker cops on fremont did the same thing to them?if so give me a call and lets do something about it 8096097

Anonymous said...

It is impossible to fight metro without political support. I lost over $160k and almost two years of my life before everything was just dropped because the cops lied about it all and conducted illegal proceedings. One of them was Officer Yant. They are crooked as crooked can be, but look back to when the mafia owned this town. They even feared the cops. They always have and always will do what they want unless there is political action taken. However, that could be the death of someone's political career. I am sorry, but Las Vegas is a shady freaking place. Schools are rated the worst in the country and there is no sense of community here. I can't wait to get my ass out of this place and back to a place where police do their jobs and don't abuse their authority. I would love to see some change, but it is corrupt all the way at the top with the Sheriff. Funny, there was a push to have more cops patrolling the streets. That would just make it more dangerous to be out and about. Last comment. I was in North Vegas and I'm white. Was looking at house to buy and flip. North Vegas cops stopped me on sidewalk, asked what's up and let me go. Metro cuffed me, and then said that they found this piece of crack near me. Said they would let me go if I would just admit it was mine. I told them to screw off. Then they got physical and I said I know my laws so take me downtown if you want, but you don't have shit on me so don't pretend you do. After and hour they said they were giving me a break this one time. Total BS. There were two because one was a rookie who was short and chubby so he had to act all hard and stuff to compensate. Metro is a joke, but the residents of Las Vegas are even worse for putting up with such BS!

Anonymous said...

There is a family of Southwells, Dan and Sandy that are corrupt. Both have been involved in a slew of corrupt activites. On and off duty. The FBI has been notified of them. And one of them drives an SUV and lives just before Mt. Charleston and is a Sgt. The other is a Detective. They are a joke. Karma will hopefully bite them in the ass soon.

Anonymous said...

Metro in Downtown Las Vegas is always arresting locals on false claims. My boyfriend and I were attacked by drunk tourists one night who then ran off. Metro arrives and tells me to "be
quiet" as I tried to tell them what happened! Corrupt bastards..