Posted by BH 9:`5 am 2-17
For Immediate Release:
Steve Sanson President of Veterans In Politics International 702 283 8088
Karen Steelmon Auxiliary Director for Veterans In Politics International 702 238 5134
Elected Officials need to Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!
Veterans In Politics International:
How is Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers asked to resign, but Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Douglas Gillespie is allowed to remain in office?
Las Vegas, Nevada In 2011 alone, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers shot and killed 12 civilians, ranking third in police shootings below two cites with nine times the population, Los Angeles and New York City.
Several police shootings have sparked community outrage in several cases.
- Erick Scott, an Army Officer Veteran, was shot dead by seven hollow point .45 rounds in front of his girlfriend in the day light hours at Cosco in Summerlin, after he allegedly failed to comply with conflicting commands from officers on the scene. Scott had a concealed weapons permit (CCW) and his gun was in its holster while he bleed to death on the pavement at the Costco entrance. The incident was recorded by Costco video surveillance but the footage has mysteriously disappeared.
- Trevon Cole, a former UNLV line backer was killed by LVMPD officer Bryan Yant while executing a search warrant. Officer Yant shot Cole in the face with an AR 15 while Cole was leaning over a toilet, unarmed, in front of his pregnant fiancée. Later, it was revealed that officer Yant falsified information to obtain the search warrant, and falsified a police report of the shooting. His description of events was contradicted by the Medical Examiners Report, the reports of the other officers on the scene, and testimony from other officers during the Coroner’s Inquest.
After asking for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Douglas Gillespie’s resignation in December by Press Release and on several news radio and television shows, we invited Gillespie to be on our radio show (Veterans In Politics Talk Show on KLAV and VANR). Sheriff Gillespie appeared on our talk show on January 28, 2012 in full uniform with his Under Sheriff, James Dixon. We found this to be unusual because on three prior occasions, Sheriff Gillespie appeared on our show by himself, in civilian attire.
When asked why Officer Yant has not been charged with murder, we were told that Yant is assigned to a desk. He is still allowed to carry a weapon and still being paid by tax payer’s dollars. Gillespie added that no further investigation is needed because the Coroner’s Inquest found Yant’s actions justified, despite contradicting testimony from the Coroner and his fellow officers on the scene.
Notably, the Coroner’s Inquest was held while former District Attorney David Roger (whose duties included investigating police shootings by Metropolitan Police Officers) was negotiating for a job with Chris Collins, Executive Director of the Police Protective Association (PPA).
Given Roger’s disturbing, brazen conflict of interest, Veterans In Politics filed an Ethics Complaint against Roger in January and recently received a response from the Ethics Commission requesting that further evidence was needed. Veterans In Politics forwarded additional evidence and requested that the complaint be investigated by a panel of Commissioners in pursuant to NAC 281A-405 (A).
In Trevon Cole’s federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Cole’s family was recently awarded $1.7 million dollars – a record settlement amount for Metro that, as always, will be paid from public funds. But this amount may be eclipsed by the case of Stanly Gibson.
Stanley Gibson, an Army Gulf War Veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), was killed by Metro officers who shot him in the back of the head with an AR 15 military –style assault rifle as Gibson sat in his car, alone, unarmed, and suffering from a panic attack.
Initially, Sheriff Gillespie reported to the public that Gibson was using his vehicle as a weapon to ram police cruisers and that after 29 minutes of negotiations officers were forced to defend themselves by shooting Gibson. In other words, in typical fashion, Sheriff Gillespie immediately blamed the victim and justified his officer’s conduct. Gillespie was not aware that a witness has recorded the entire incident.
And the eyewitness video of the event, which was aired by local media, completely contradicted what Gillespie had told the public. The video shows Gibson in a car. Unoccupied police cruisers are parked sideways directly behind his car and directly in front of his car, pinning him in. At one point, Gibson’s tires spin and smoke, his car unable to go forward or backward. In other words, it is clear from the video that Gibson’s car could not move, much less ram police cruisers, as Sheriff Gillespie initially asserted.
After the video was released, Sheriff Gillespie revised his prior statement, explaining the officers on the scene decided to use non-lethal means to detain Gibson, but Officer Jesus Arevalo decided to fire seven rounds with an AR 15 assault rifle into the back of Gibson’s head, killing him instantly.
Several officers on the scene later indicated that Officer Arevelo knew the plan to take Gibson alive. Now, officer Arevelo sits at home on paid administrative leave, his salary paid by taxpayers.
Later, it was revealed that Gibson was out of anti-anxiety medication and succumbed to a panic attack after being unable to find his apartment (he had recently moved and was in a neighboring apartment complex when he was killed by Metro).
Gibson’s senseless death, and Sheriff Gillespie’s business-as-usual response, sparked public outrage that had long been simmering over Sheriff Gillespie’s unwillingness or inability to recognize or address systemic problems within his organization, and caused the local chapters of the ACLU and the NAACP to request an investigation of Metro by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Sheriff Gillespie’s handling of Gibson’s death also highlighted a problematic public relations policy: blaming the victim and justifying Metro’s actions with statements that are misleading and later proven to be simply false. This is exactly what happened in the case of Calvin Darling, who collided with Metro Officer James Manor. Officer Manor was killed in the accident and Sheriff Gillespie immediately issued a public statement indicating Darling was at fault, was driving drunk, and struck oOficer Manor causing the collision that killed him.
However, the investigation revealed Officer Manor was speeding, without lights or sirens, and without a seatbelt. Also, it was later learned that Darling was not in fact drunk, and did not cause the fatal accident. In short, as with Stanley Gibson, Sheriff Gillespie’s initial public statement justifying Metro’s actions was not only misleading, but later proven simply false.
Currently, the Coroner’s Inquest has 17 cases awaiting hearing, and it appears Sheriff Gillespie is holding up the process, refusing to allow any kind of actual inquiry in which Metro Officers might actually be held accountable.
But Sheriff Gillespie’s problems are not just public. In 2010, while Sheriff Gillespie was running for re-election against Officer Laurie Bisch we interviewed Gillespie on KLAV Eye on Nevada Radio Show. I instructed Sheriff Gillespie that I was told by several Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers that there were two separate incidents of Domestic Violence calls to the Sheriff’s home address and that Gillespie told the arriving officers that they could not arrest him. Technically, Gillespie is correct. Under the Nevada Revised Statutes, only three people have authority to arrest the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff: the Nevada State Attorney General, the Clark County District Attorney, and the Clark County Coroner.
I was also told that Sheriff Gillespie removed the domestic violence calls to his home from the official police SCOPE. When I asked Gillespie about this incident on air he told me that it didn’t happen. But off the air, he admitted that it did.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has its police officers buy their own body armor. Public funds are much better spent on officer safety than as compensation to widows and orphaned children in wrongful death lawsuits. And while Gillespie indicates that his office receives a clothing allowance that allowance is for the dry-cleaning of their uniforms only.
Sheriff Gillespie indicated on our radio program that leadership starts at the top, that he is electable, and that he will continue to be the Sheriff in a re-election and refuses to step down.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is losing their senior officers; officers on the job are looking at the calendar and counting down the days before their retirement. It’s apparent that this Sheriff has lacked the leadership, training, and moral compass needed to lead and oversee a competent police force that our citizens can believe in.
Henderson is asking for the resignation of its Police Chief in response to one beating caught on tape. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department continues to have an unacceptable number of police-involved deaths and the only group that has asked for the Sheriffs resignation is Veterans In Politics International. This is unfortunate.
Some elected officials are intimidated and worried about their re-election and refuse to stand up for what’s right. Veterans In Politics International is requesting that everyone contact their elected officials and request the resignation of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Douglas C. Gillespie.
The Veterans In Politics International mission statement reads in part “that in a culture of corruption to be the political voice in other groups that do not have one”. We are doing this because of the good police officers that serve and risk their lives for us every day and yet do not have a voice within their own police department.
For More Information and to listen to the Radio Interview of Sheriff Gillespie go to: