From [HERE] The Clark County District Attorney will not proceed with the criminal prosecution of former Officer Kenneth Lopera in connection with a man's death on the Las Vegas Strip. However, the district attorney requested a public fact-finding review on the incident.
Lopera bragged about his actions to other officers after the encounter, according to a federal lawsuit filed in May on Farmer’s behalf by attorney Andre Lagomarsino.
The District Attorney's Office could have still chosen to prosecute the case despite the grand jury ruling.
In fact, the district attorney’s office initially charged Lopera with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under color of office last year, but in March the case was referred to a grand jury. District attorneys are reluctant to prosecute officers because the two agencies work so closely, Los Angeles-based civil rights attorney Lisa Holder said. As a result, district attorneys tend to prosecute officers only when they are “extremely confident” in the case, she said. But here, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson [racist suspect in photo] flip-flopped. White DA's are reluctant to prosecute white cops who kill Blacks & Latinos. What is white collective power?
Even with the hidden nature of the grand jury, it couldn’t be more obvious that District Attorney Steve Wolfson was making sure Officer Lopera wouldn’t see a minute behind bars for the murder he committed. One of the more obvious giveaways was the involvement of the Force Science Institute, a Minnesota-based research group that cannot point to a specific time it did not side with police according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
“If Force Science is the only one presenting, that is a loaded deck,” said University of South Carolina professor Geoff Alpert , who has studied police use of force for more than 25 years…
“DAs, politically, don’t want to prosecute Police Officers,” attorney Randy McGinn said.
But taking those cases to a Grand Jury can be problematic for the public because everything is conducted in secret, she said.
Bill Lewinski and his institute, however, give an out to attorneys in politically inconvenient positions, according to McGinn. “You send it to him because you know in advance what the outcome is,” she said. “He’s going to say that it’s justified.” [MORE]
Brown initially approached Lopera and another uniformed officer having coffee about 1 a.m. May 14 inside The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The arrest report shows he was sweaty and told the officers it was because he had run from people who were chasing him.
He asked the officers if they knew the location of a drinking fountain, and he ran off when Lopera tried to grab him. Lopera then inexplicably fervently chased the man out of the hotel - as if he had committed a crime and ordered him to stop. [Under arrest or seized for what crime at this point? Under arrest for Sweating? In order for the police to stop you the Supreme Court has ruled that police must have reasonable articulable suspicion that there is criminal activity afoot and the person detained is involved in the activity. Clearly, these rules are only intended for white people.]
During the chase Officer Lopera, who caught up to Mr. Farmer behind the hotel, said he believed Farmer was trying to carjack a pickup truck. As he ran behind him, the Loopera later claimed he saw Farmer try to open the tailgate and then driver’s side door of a truck parked near the rear of the property.and stunned him with a Taser when he saw the man trying to open the tailgate of a truck parked near the property’s rear.
The arrest report shows the men in the truck did not feel threatened by Brown and notes Lopera did not have “reasonable suspicion or probable cause” to chase him. The video also does not appear to show Farmer touching the car. He appears to run past the vehicle. He is about 10 feet from the vehicle when the cop orders him to stop and when the first stun gunshot comes. [MORE]
Police said Brown would not have been charged with a crime if he survived.
Lopera stunned Brown with a Taser seven times — engaging the stun gun for five seconds six times and for nine seconds the final time, the report shows. Police Department policies are to use the Taser three times, for five seconds each cycle, and then move on to another type of force.
The Taser’s prongs attached to Brown’s lower back, causing “neuromuscular incapacitation” that would have made it difficult for Brown to move, the report shows.
Throughout the encounter, Lopera was screaming at Brown to get on his stomach so he could be handcuffed. But the longest time between stuns was six seconds, so Brown never had a reasonable opportunity to do so. The arrest report also notes that Brown was positioned on his stomach several times as the officer yelled at him to comply.
Lopera’s commands also contradicted each other. He told the man, “don’t move” and “get on your stomach.” The report also notes that several commands for Brown to lie on his stomach were issued while Brown was on his stomach.
Brown was struck in the head 10 to 12 times after he was stunned with a Taser, even though he was not displaying aggressive resistance. Detectives investigating the case concluded the man was trying to pull the Taser prongs out of his back, trying to avoid being handcuffed and protecting his face from the punches, the report shows.
The report first describes the chokehold the officer used on Brown as the lateral vascular neck restraint, the only neck hold allowed under Metro policies, but later describes it as a rear naked choke based on statements Lopera made to other officers after the struggle.
“I tased him, fought a little bit and choked him out,” Lopera told an officer.
During the choking, another white police officer on the scene told officer Kenneth Lopera to release his chokehold on Tashii Brown, but the officer continued his hold for another 46 seconds, a Metropolitan Police Department report on the officer’s arrest shows.
Lopera places Brown in a chokehold 2 minutes and 58 seconds into the struggle, the report shows.
“Is he out yet?” the officer asks 15 seconds later. He then repeats the question twice.
Another officer arrives on the scene 3 minutes and 25 seconds into the struggle.
“Let him go, Ken,” the officer is heard saying.
“Are you sure?” Lopera said.
“Yeah,” the officer replies 3 minutes and 26 seconds into the struggle. Lopera released the hold on Brown at 4 minutes and 11 seconds, the report shows.
The exchange between the two officers can be heard clearly when the sound from previously released body camera footage is enhanced.
A lawyer for the Las Vegas Police Protection Association, the Metro officers’ union, stopped Lopera from giving detectives a walk-through of events that night. The union bailed out Lopera from jail for $6,000 immediately after he was booked into the Clark County Detention Center and defended him through the case. [MORE]
The report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal last year details numerous violations of department policies and training, beginning when the officer first began to chase Brown, also known as Tashii Farmer, on the night of May 14. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday that the department would arrest one of its own on charges of involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office in connection with Brown’s death
The officer chased Brown through restricted employee hallways and outside the Venetian resort, where video from the officer's body camera and casino security views showed Lopera using a stun gun on Brown seven times, punching him more than 10 times and putting him in what police supervisors called an unapproved chokehold for 73 seconds.
Lopera's defense attorney, David Roger, said his expert witnesses would have disputed the cause of death.
"(My client) did not kill Tashii Farmer. Drugs killed Tashii Farmer," Roger said. "We can debate whether he used excessive force. What is not debatable is that Officer Lopera did not kill the decedent... There's one person responsible for this and it's not Officer Lopera. It's the decedent."
Lopera retired from the police department before he could be fired for excessive force.
What happened behind closed doors? [racism/white supremacy]
Based on the secrecy of grand jury hearings, District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he could not say what happened with the case. He only said that circumstances changed, which is why he hopes to hold a public fact-finding review of the incident.
Wolfson said he will request permission from the Clark County Manager to conduct the hearing. A public presentation of the facts surrounding the case will take place so that unanswered questions can be addressed, he said.
"I want the public to understand that I really had no choice," Wolfson said. "I want our community to learn everything about this case."
The hearing is expected to take place within the next 60 days and will be televised.
Wolfson said that the burden of proof is higher at trial than it is in front of a grand jury. He said he was bound by ethical responsibilities to drop the case since he no longer believed he could prove Lopera's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Protesters stood outside Las Vegas City Hall and promised to "shut the city down" if they don't get answers from Wolfson.
"We view the Las Vegas Metro Police Department as a gang. They shoot us down and they get away with it," said Minister Stretch Sanders, of the Concerned Black Citizens Council. "We will shut down the freeway. That's a promise. That is a promise. I put that on my life, God as a witness. We will shut down every inch of this city until justice is done for Tashii Brown-Farmer and for the community."
“Welcome to Vegas, where police can kill a defenseless human being, brag about it and then get away scot free,” Brown’s mother, Trinita Farmer, said in a statement. “I hope the public is as outraged as our family is at the killing of our son, father and brother.” [MORE]