Posts by mom_in_las_vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation – Kelly W. Patterson

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

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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

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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

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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 ColeOrlando BarlowTanner 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

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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.
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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

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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.
More from the author Kelly W. Patterson:


SHANNON WEST-REDWINE Shannon Erin West Redwine, 45, of Las Vegas, entered into heaven surrounded by family and friends Nov. 30, 2012. She is survived by her husband, Kevin Redwine; children, Michael Jones, Micaela Redwine and Shane Loyd; grandson, Noah; parents, Maj. Gen. (retired) and Mrs W. Thomas West; sister, Dr. Robin McGlohn and husband Judd McGlohn; brother, Brian West and wife Michelle West; nieces, Reagan Lynne West and Lauren Erin McGlohn; many devoted aunts, uncles and cousins; and Kitten. Shannon was born in Selma, Ala., and grew up around the world in her military family. She was a graduate of Florida State University and UNLV, with a master's degree in social work. She retired in 2010 as regional homeless services coordinator for southern Nevada. Shannon helped establish several community programs and initiatives in southern Nevada, including the Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force, the Clark County Neighborhood Services Unit, the Ready for Life Collaborative (focusing on transitioning youth and young adults) and Camp AnyTown. Recently, HELP of Southern Nevada renamed its facility for young people the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center in recognition of her tireless efforts in advocating for homeless youth in southern Nevada. Shannon's love for her community and passion for helping the disadvantaged was her life's work and is her legacy. Shannon was a member of Green Valley Christian Center, Leadership Las Vegas, American Society for Public Administration, Clark County Citizens' Advisory Committee and a loyal member of the FSU Silver State Seminole Alumni Association. The family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Heather Allen and the staff of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada and Sunrise Hospital for their diligent and compassionate care during Shannon's cancer journey. Visitation will be 3-7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Palm Mortuary-Downtown, 1325 N. Main St. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Green Valley Christian Center, 711 Valle Verde Court, Henderson. In lieu of flowers, donations to celebrate Shannon's life may be made to HELP of Southern Nevada's Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, Southern Nevada Homeless and Housing Trust Fund, Camp AnyTown, the Nevada Community Foundation Shannon West Redwine Fund, the American Cancer Society or a charity of choice.



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?
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.

Mission Statement, Occupy Las Vegas, English/Spanish Statement: Occupy Las VegasThe first questions that come out of anyone’s mouth whenever a new political movement arises are, “Who are they?” and “What do they want?”They are good questions that should…

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Gail’s Veggie Chili Beans

Gail’s Veggie Chili Beans – No meatI do not soak the beans over night. And, I do not bring them to a boil and let them soak, etc.Total prep and cooking takes about 4 hours.1 1/2 gallons of water in a large pot.Put stove on high heat.Rinse 1/2 gallon o…

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Sharing Food – Soup

Vegetable Soup

In a large pot add water and put stove on high. Lower heat to medium if/when necessary.

ALL ingredients are optional.


2 onions, chopped
5-6 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 carrots, chopped
6-8 large potatoes, cubed

Optional, any other vegetable, fresh or frozen, ie. broccoli, mixed vegetables, green beans, peas, corn.

Optional, one or two cups of mixed lentil beans, raw split peas.

When vegetables are cooked or almost cooked, add to boiling water about 16 ounces of uncooked elbow macaroni or cut up spaghetti or any other macaroni.

Add seasoning. Seasoning can consist of a "touch" of salt, garlic, onion salt, oregano, and basil. Optional, if I have extra spaghetti sauce, I add 2-4 cups of sauce to this pot.

Sharing Food – Rice

When sharing food at the park, I never use meat or meat base, fish or dairy products - when I prepare the food.

In the past, when we received already prepared products - donations from the stores - meat, fish, cheese, etc., we would immediately distribute the food to the needy rather than having it all go to waste.

Long grain brown rice when we have it, white rice if brown rice not available.

Optional - add chopped onion to water before adding rice.

1/2 gallon of water in large pot
Add a little vegetable oil to water
High heat until boiling
Add 1/4 gallon of rice and stir thoroughly for vegetable oil to prevent rice from sticking
Lower heat to a low, cover pot.
Rice is usually done when all water in the pot is gone.

White rice takes 15-20 minutes to cook.

Brown rice takes about 45-50 minutes to cook.

Seasoning for rice is optional, ie. salt.

If rice is done cooking for "awhile" and you need to get it hot again:

In a small pot, boil water, chopped onion, and seasoning to taste. Seasoning can consist of a "touch" of salt, garlic, onion salt, oregano, and basil. Optional, if I have extra spaghetti sauce, I add that to this pot and heat, reducing the amount of water.