November 10, 2010

The Erik Scott Case: Update 8--Eyewitnesses, Video and Coincidence

Information relating to the reward offered by the Scott family for video evidence can be found here. Information relating to the lawsuit filed by the Scott family may be found here.

THE SCENE: A classroom much like any classroom supported by public dollars. The occasional fading poster breaks up the routine of bland, institutional paint. The ubiquitous round clock hangs on the wall above the lectern, making odd and disjointed ticking and whirring noises, its hands occasionally speeding up or slowing down. It’s either too hot or too cold and there is an odd smell that no one can quite identify. But this classroom is different. In the chairs with the worn, torn covers, their arms resting on the chipped particle board tabletops covered in cheap, peeling wood grained vinyl, sit 25 police recruits, young men and women eager to learn all that they can about their jobs before being allowed on the streets.

It’s 1030 in the morning. The topic is the finer points of diagramming traffic accidents, and attention, and wakefulness, are beginning to lag. The instructor drones on, when suddenly, without warning, the door at the back of the room flies open and slams into the wall with a resounding bang. Someone sprints into the room, assaults the instructor who ends up flat on his back, and sprints from the room through the wide open door. The entire incident has taken mere seconds. The recruits are now wide awake, but are frozen and have no idea what to do. The instructor rises, calmly brushes off and straightens his uniform, and directs the class to write a report about the crime they just witnessed.

All too soon, each recruit has the dubious pleasure of reading their report for the entire class. At the end of the reading, it is clear that the assailant was a tall/short, slender/fat, man/woman who was balding/had long hair and who said a variety of things/was silent, as he assaulted the instructor/or didn’t, with his fists/a baseball bat/something big and dark/a rubber chicken. Most recruits did not mention the location, the date, and left out most pertinent facts. Only a few thought to write down the time of the incident despite the large clock hanging a few feet over the action. Only one noticed that the weapon used was in fact a yellow rubber chicken, and only one--not the same one--noticed that the assailant was a man with a beard wearing a long, curly blonde woman’s wig. None recognized him as one of their instructors. Only one correctly put the duration of the incident at ten seconds while the others ranged from half a minute to a minute.

Variations on this scenario are played out across the nation for new police officers because it teaches very important lessons about the nature and reliability of eyewitness testimony. If the instructor in this scenario was particularly capable, he would have pointed out all of the factors that can color eyewitness testimony and would have taught his recruits how to question witnesses to properly evaluate and to clarify, not color or coerce, their testimony.

While investigating any crime, the police must, at the scene, identify any and all potential witnesses and take complete statements from them, carefully comparing them to see which, if any, common elements appear. Even the differences are important because no investigator can know, particularly early in an investigation, which of these differences might be important. Really smart officers will immediately, upon walking into a group of people who might be potential witnesses, say “show of hands: How many of you saw what happened?” while simultaneously raising his own hand. He would do this because he knows that Americans are conditioned by their experiences in the public schools to raise their hands in response to questions, and if caught off guard, will tend to respond honestly without thinking too hard. Those who raise their hands--or partially do before thinking better of it--will be quickly and politely segregated and questioned.

Initial statements are often taken informally, by means of handwritten notes taken by officers, or are written by each eyewitness. Later, depending on the seriousness of the crime, detectives commonly conduct taped or videotaped statements, carefully asking questions designed to bring out details and insights that might have been missed in the initial statements while being careful not to contaminate statements by the power of suggestion. These more complete interviews are commonly done after detectives have had the chance to review the physical evidence which can often clarify events and also bring up questions that need more in depth answers. During this process, detectives also determine--if they have the luxury to choose--which witnesses will be most effective in court.

Done correctly, this process works very well and leads to correct conclusions. Done incompetently or with a pre-determined result in mind, it leads to miscarriages of justice such as allowing the guilty to go free or convicting the innocent.

Some few readers have suggested that because eyewitness “A” testified that Scott pointed a gun at the Officers, the case is, from that point, closed. If only these matters were so easily decided. From what is currently known, the witnesses in the Erik Scott shooting--and there were many more than presented by the Prosecution at the Inquest--are no different than in most cases. They fall into two general groups: Those who believe that Scott, at some point or in some way, touched, reached for, grasped, drew, or pointed a gun at the police who immediately shot him, and those who saw no gun, before, during or after the shots were fired. Even so, there appear to be widely accepted common observations. Virtually all witnesses agree that:

(1) The Police began shooting almost immediately after identifying Scott.

(2) The Police fired multiple shots, including multiple shots into Scott’s back as he was falling face down to the ground or was face down on the ground.

(3) Something was on the ground near Scott’s body, something variously identified as a gun, a cell phone, a zippered gun rug, or a black or otherwise colored object of some kind. Some witnesses saw nothing at all.

(4) The shooting took place in the midst of a large crowd of people leaving the Costco at the request of the Police, a crowd who unknowingly walked into the middle of a circular firing squad.

(5) The Police were yelling a variety of conflicting commands at Scott in the few seconds before they opened fire.

(6) Scott’s hands were more or less continuously in the air in response to the commands from the Police. Some witnesses felt he never lowered them.

(7) Scott appeared very surprised when confronted by the police and particularly when the first shots hit him.

(8) The Police rendered no medical assistance to Scott and handled him roughly when assisting medical personnel.

Let’s return to the classroom where the instructor points out some of the factors that can have a substantial influence on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. His careful questioning reveals that none of the recruits in the back row had a clear (some had no) view of what happened. Even the recruit sitting closest to the door couldn’t write a clear description of the “suspect” who was at two instants, within two feet of him, because “it all happened too fast.” None of the recruits saw the entire incident from the moment the suspect entered the room until he left. Several were only fully aware of the suspect as he turned his back to his “victim” and sprinted from the room. The most alert recruit, the one who correctly identified the “weapon,” just happened to be in the front row, closest to the assault, and seated to one side of the podium, giving him a clear view of the action. The rubber chicken stuck in his memory because he had always enjoyed slapstick comedy and the sight of it was funny to him. Even so, his account was only about 60% accurate. All other accounts were worse.

As with everything about the Erik Scott case, little is known of the facts and of what the Police actually did at every step of the investigation. Exactly how they interviewed the eyewitnesses, when and where, and how they chose those who would testify at the Inquest remains unclear or unknown. It’s obvious that they chose only those witnesses they believed would support their version of the story, but even so, ran into several witnesses who did not hold to the party line. The Prosecutors found themselves in the bizarre and embarrassing situation of savaging their own friendly, supportive witnesses in a hearing without an adversary.

It’s an old legal truism that no attorney should ever ask a question of a witness without knowing the answer they’ll provide. Many unwise attorneys who have done this have found themselves badly embarrassed and have even lost cases. That the Prosecution found itself surprised in a hearing without an adversary, a hearing it totally controlled, a hearing with a predetermined outcome, does not speak of competence, attention to detail, adherence to procedure and careful preparation.

There are questions that any competent officer should ask in evaluating eyewitness testimony. Among them are: Did the Police determine exactly where each witness was standing? Did they have a clear and unobstructed view of the confrontation? Through the entire confrontation, or only portions? Which portions? How much of the shooting did they see? What first called their attention to the shooting? How far away were they standing? Did they stand there watching or dive for cover? Did they see it all, or is their account a mixture of what they heard, saw and filled in with guesswork and supposition? Did they have any relation to anyone involved? Does their occupation have any bearing on their observations? Would it make them more or less likely to be accurate? Do they have any physical impairments that would be relevant? Do they have any axes to grind against anyone or any entity involved?

Suggestion is very powerful, and the human brain will attempt to fill in the missing puzzle pieces of any situation using logic--or sometimes, emotion--filtered through the experiences and biases of that individual personality. Did the Metro Police ask some or any of these questions, or did they simply choose witnesses who were willing to present the most favorable testimony? At the upcoming civil trial, a version of the shooting very different from that favored by the Police will surely be presented. It will likely be revealed that those witnesses will have been asked these, and more, questions--and those who testified at the Inquest were not--and their testimony will be, therefore, more reliable to and more believable by a jury than those who have not been so carefully, professionally interviewed.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Eyewitness testimony is tricky and prone to inaccuracy. It is foolish to take it at face value. It must be professionally and dispassionately evaluated and presented in court. As with so much else in this case, what is currently known does not give the informed observer confidence in the ethics and professionalism of the Police or the Prosecutors.


It is time to revisit the issue of video records. While substantially more is now known than was available in earlier updates, the picture remains incomplete and often contradictory. This, and the reasons therefor, will be no surprise to regular reader of this series.

Shortly after the shooting, the Police issued statements suggesting that any video would likely be unusable, that there was video but it was corrupted, that the video was malfunctioning, and eventually that there would be no video at all, either indoors or outdoors, of the Costco and the events of Saturday, July 10, 2010. Within a short time and before the Inquest, the Police settled on the story that the video recording system at Costco had been malfunctioning beginning on Wednesday, July 7, and no attempt was made to repair it until after the shooting, therefore, no video was recorded. Yet, the police did, at some point, take the system into custody and sent it off to experts for examination, which examination, unsurprisingly, confirmed their official story. It would not be until the Inquest that the strange tale of the video was, in some very odd ways, clarified, or perhaps more accurately, augmented.

Shai Lierley, the Costco security officer, testified that he called Las Vegas Valley Locking Systems (the company that installed and maintained the Costco system) on Wednesday, July 7 about the store video system, which he said was completely non-functional. However, Jason Swords (phonetic spelling) of LVVLS testified that Lierley called on Thursday the 8th. His testimony suggested that he did nothing to repair the system as he was essentially a call taker rather than an on-site technician, and that Costco would have to wait until a technician was available on Monday, July 12.

This is odd testimony in that Swords had nothing material to add, particularly considering the fact that the Inquest was not an adversarial proceeding. Nothing Lierley said would be in any way called into question or refuted. Unless the Prosecution considered Lierley’s testimony and/or credibility to be so potentially weak as to require buttressing by Swords, his appearance at the Inquest makes little sense. By his own admission, Swords merely took a call from Lierley, told him he could do nothing, and took a message for someone who could. This testimony appears to be nothing more than at attempt to support Lierley’s version of events, and in that it failed even to establish a consistent date of the call.

In addition, the prosecution did not pursue a very important matter: Was there a back up server, either on site at Costco or a remote server elsewhere? Considering the nature of the Inquest and the Prosecution’s goals, this failing is not surprising, but it is a crucial matter. Security companies, particularly in large, competitive markets, often offer remote back up hard drives for security video, so even if a clever robber or thief stole or destroyed the primary recorder of a business, their images would not be lost and would be recorded and preserved on a remote and/or back up hard drive. In particularly competitive, security minded markets like Las Vegas, such services are not extra cost options but essential features of security packages, yet the Police and Prosecutors have made no mention of this. If there were such backup capabilities, the entire case changes. No longer is this about the data stored on a single hard drive, or hand full of hard drives, as the Police would have us believe. In fact, it is entirely possible that it never was about a single hard drive.

Another interesting and contradictory bit of Inquest testimony was provided by Metro employee Brian Wyche who apparently works in IT for Metro. Wyche testified that on Satuday, July 10 at about 1715 (approximately four hours and fifteen minutes after the shooting) he rebooted the Costco video surveillance system at Costco and found that it worked properly, however, he also said that it contained no footage of the shooting. It will likely surprise no one to discover that the Prosecution did not press him for further details, nor did he volunteer any.

The police did testify at the Inquest that they did not, after the shooting, take the video system into custody and place it into evidence. This is yet another omission--like so many commissions--that defy rational explanation. Call them all coincidences.

Coincidences happen. They happen every day. But there is a point at which coincidences cease being happenstance, random, inexplicable acts or omissions of unknowable, unreasoned fate. That point is reached when coincidences, taken as a whole, form a pattern. Put aside, for the moment, the simple fact that two or more coincidences occurring in close proximity relating to a single incident are essentially prima facie evidence that coincidence is not at work. Consider that when the consequences of all coincidences benefit only one side and harm only the other, it would be foolish, even dangerous, to consider such acts and omissions coincidence. In this case, every act, omission, every coincidence, has redounded to the benefit of the Police and is either supportive of their version of the shooting, or has prevented a complete, competent investigation, an investigation that they apparently did not do themselves.

The Police did not take the video evidence into custody, not immediately, not until days after the shooting and only in the most roundabout way, despite repeatedly having their hands on it--figuratively and literally--during the intervening period. In fact, they testified that they did not take it into evidence because it was “proprietary hardware.”

Any competent investigator hearing such testimony would, at that point, be picking his jaw up off the floor. Not only do the police have the legal authority to take any evidence relating to a crime into immediate custody, they have, in virtually every state, an affirmative obligation under state law to do so. In any professional police agency, making such a basic, elementary, boneheaded mistake would immediately and legitimately call into question any detective's fitness to continue to serve as a detective. I have actually taken entire sections of the walls of homes into evidence, chainsawing them out, shut down businesses for hours and days, seized motor vehicles, homes, and virtually anything one can name, and have done so lawfully and rationally. Of course, when such seizures involved the property of innocent citizens, I have taken pains to carefully explain why it was necessary, to apologize for the necessity, and have even taken steps above and beyond the call of duty to assist them and to make them whole. Whether a particular piece of evidence is proprietary or generic has no bearing on whether the police may or should seize it, none whatsoever.

An officer involved shooting is one of the most important cases any investigator can handle, and when the person shot dies, must be handled as a homicide until it can be unquestionably proved otherwise. Failing to immediately search out, locate and take into custody every potential bit of video and audio evidence where it might exist is akin to leaving a murder weapon in plain sight on the ground and driving away. It is yet another example, as was outlined in Update 7 in the theory of the case, of the police willfully, knowingly making themselves look incompetent because the alternative was much, much worse.

Why wouldn’t the Police want to take such evidence into custody? The most obvious possibility is that whatever happens to the evidence cannot be blamed on them if it is not in their custody. In addition, any break in the Police chain of evidence may very well destroy the value of any given item as evidence and render it inadmissible in court. A harmless, rational explanation for this behavior may someday be forthcoming, but it is difficult to imagine what it could be.

Another interesting side note is that Det. Calas, reportedly during his initial turn on the Inquest witness stand, showed video from outside Costco and made a point of showing a segment of it suddenly blacking out, apparently to further buttress the Police story. He also testified that the internal clocks of the Costco system were some 18 minutes off. It’s impossible to know, at the moment, the significance of this, but it is certainly something to keep in mind in the future, particularly should a mysterious, 18 minute gap appear at some point.

Additional testimony indicated that on Monday, July 12, the LVVLS technician (name unknown) who was reportedly unavailable on the 7th or 8th, met with Lierley at Costco and the two of them apparently drove the system to LVVLS. Testimony is unclear on the exact times, and the exact number of hard drives involved, but ranges from one to three at various times. Remember that all Inquest testimony was aimed only at proving the Police version of events to the historically very low standard of proof necessary under Clark County rules. Therefore, a great many details remain murky.

Swords' testimony becomes coincidental in that he testified that on Monday he examined the drive (as in single drive) and described it as having been damaged as though it had been dropped from a height of four feet. He described the arm holding the read/write heads as being badly damaged. This is in direct contradiction to the testimony of Metro IT tech Wyche who testified that he rebooted the system at about 1715 on the 10th and found it to be functional. If Swords is correct, Wyche cannot be unless someone damaged the system after Wyche rebooted it. There is certainly more than sufficient time for this to have happened. This is also interesting in that Swords was the person who testified that he was essentially a call taker and could not assist Lierley when he called for help on the 7th or 8th. Why then was he examining the internal mechanisms of the hard drive on the 12th? Where was the missing LVVLS technician who was unavailable on the 7th or 8th? Let’s not bother asking why such examination was taking place outside of police custody, and apparently, without their knowledge.

From there, the date/time trail becomes even more cloudy, but it is known that the equipment--however many units and hard drives--made its way to Metro. Whether it was ever entered into evidence or merely tossed on a shelf or desktop and for how long and under what conditions is unknown, but from there it was sent to the Secret Service in Los Angeles where it was, at some point in time and for an unknown amount of time, examined by a Secret Service Agent/technician (this too is unclear). From the Secret Service, the hard drive (or drives) was sent to Seagate, the manufacturer, in Santa Clara, California where it was examined by their technicians. At some point, the equipment was apparently returned to the Secret Service in Los Angeles, and possibly, to Metro, but the exact disposition of the original video equipment remains unknown.

What is known through Inquest testimony is Seagate, through their technician David Teigen (phonetic spelling), some time in August, recovered a substantial amount of data. Teigen did not confirm Swords' assertion of a badly damaged read/write arm. Tiegen made three copies of that data and reportedly sent one copy to Metro and two to the Secret Service. Testimony suggested that from a one terabyte drive, Tiegen recovered some 600 gigabytes of data, and this was apparently the data contained on the copies sent to Metro and the Secret Service. This is where Tiegen’s testimony becomes very interesting.

Tiegen testified that there was a “glitch,” but unsurprisingly, was not pressed on this and did not volunteer information. He testified that he was tasked merely with recovering data and that he did not look at any of the video/data. He testified that there may have been video, but it was not his job to determine that, but merely to recover files. Keep in mind that a standard DVD has a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes. If the figure of 600 GB is accurate, this is the equivalent of approximately 128 DVDs of video data, some 256 hours.

Secret Service Agent/technician Jody Okawaki testified that she recovered “583 folders,” but like Tiegen, testified that she was tasked only with recovering data and had no idea whatsoever what they were, or what they might contain. It is not known if this represents the same data discovered by Tiegen or additional data, nor is the exact number of involved hard drives known. Okawaki apparently did not confirm Sword's assertion of a badly damaged read/write arm. Remember that we are speaking only of hard drives--video storage media--on site at Costco. We do not know if there were backup hard drives on site at Costco, or remote backup at LVVLS or a third party location, though all of this remains a distinct, unexplored possibility.


Since the Police did not immediately take all video evidence into custody (and this remains an omission of inexpressibly gross incompetence), its value as evidence is greatly diminished, perhaps utterly destroyed, which may have been the point. Understanding this, a great many questions remain:

(1) If the Police believed, as they testified, that there was no video evidence on the Costco equipment, why bother to send it anywhere for examination, particularly since it was not in their possession?

(2) Las Vegas has no shortage of highly competent computer/video technicians. Since the Police were not treating the equipment as evidence in an officer involved shooting and were at best handling it casually, why would they bother to take possession of it and send it outside Las Vegas to search for data that they believed did not exist?

(3) Why would the Police send it to the Secret Service, who are not known for their expertise in forensic video examination, rather than say, the FBI, who are? In fact, why would they involve a federal agency at all?

(4) Why would a Secret Service Agent/technician tasked with recovering video that could potentially cause law enforcement officers to be charged with the unlawful shooting of a citizen studiously refuse to look at such video to determine if it was relevant? There are no statutes, no privacy laws that require such rectitude. How could anyone searching for such video evidence be said to be doing their job to the most minimal standard of competence if they didn’t bother to confirm that what they found was video rather than, for example, word processing data or audio files? This, like so much else in this case, makes no sense at all. No sense, that is, unless she was operating under orders not to look, not to know.

(5) Did the Secret Service attempt to maintain any chain of evidence? Did they receive the equipment from Metro in such a way that indicated that it was to be treated as evidence?

(6) Why, if the Secret Service found some 583 folders, did they send the drive (drives?) to the manufacturer?

(7) Why did Seagate technician Tiegen also fail to confirm the nature of the data he recovered? While the private sector may operate under standards of privacy that are commonly and primarily self-imposed, it beggars belief that any competent technician, particularly one tasked by the Secret Service to recover video data, would not take the minimum steps necessary to confirm that he had, in fact, recovered video data. Such confirmation would take no more than opening and playing, for a few seconds, potentially relevant video files. Of course, Tiegen too may have been under orders, potentially orders specifying that he, like Okawaki, must know nothing about what he did. With this in mind, one might be forgiven for believing that this coincidence in a long, pattern of coincidences would allow the unchallenged modification or destruction of any potentially damaging data.

(8) What, exactly, is the nature of the recovered data, data recovered where Lierley and the Police said there was no data to be recovered? Where are the copies of that data and under what conditions are they being held and by whom? How were the copies recorded and transmitted? Such an a large amount of data would have required an external, portable hard drive of sufficient capacity or a great many DVDs and/or CDs depending on the type of data.

(9) Were the files recovered by the Secret Service the same data recovered by Seagate, or additional data? Was the data recovered from one hard drive? Three? More?

(10) Were there video and/or audio recordings made by police vehicles/officers on the scene? A great many patrol cars are video equipped and officers with that equipment wear wireless microphones to simultaneously record audio. Were Officers Mosher, Stark and Mendiola wearing wireless microphones or carrying personal recorders? If so, what became of that evidence? There were many police vehicles on the scene. It would be an incredible coincidence if they recorded nothing. Even an officer’s microphone recording nothing more than the gunshots from a distance would be important evidence, and many officers carry portable, personal recorders.

(11) Was video recorded by the Police helicopter on the scene? If so, what became of that evidence?

(12) Was video recorded by any local media organization? If so, what became of that evidence? The complete lack of media video evidence in this case is another amazing coincidence.

(13) Was video or were still photographs recorded by any citizen on a camera or cell phone? If so, what became of that evidence? The apparent complete lack of citizen video in this case is yet another amazing coincidence.


Sometime after Scott’s body was tossed into the ambulance and was long gone from the scene, officers realized that there might be video. Perhaps one glanced up and noticed a video camera, perhaps they just suspected it, but certainly the thought occurred to them. A hurried visit to a monitor for playback revealed...what? That Scott was not the raging lunatic inside the store that they had been mistakenly led to believe? That Scott was, when confronted, just another Costco customer calmly going about his business, walking out of the store? That they engaged in a circular firing squad in the middle of a crowd of innocent citizens whose dives for cover and shocked expressions and cries were clearly visible and audible? That Scott did not, in fact, have a gun in his hand when he was shot? Of course they knew this, for no gun was on the ground after Scott was gone; it was still in its holster, on his body in the ambulance. But seeing the video confirmation of this fact must have been the mother of the mother of all sinking feelings. They knew that if the video ever saw the light of day, they were toast.

Of course, if the video confirmed the Police version of events, or even if it could be spun to support their version, there would have been no difficulty and that video would have been played at the Inquest. It would have immediately been taken into custody and entered into evidence, but this was, horrifically, not the case. Something had to be done and done quickly.

Then began a comedy of errors, characterized by heated arguments and recriminations between officers, detectives, supervisors, command staff, perhaps even the Sheriff, over how to bury the video without leaving too many fingerprints on the evidence and the attempt. Lierley’s cooperation was essential, but that wasn’t difficult to obtain through promises, threats, whatever was necessary. The rest could be handled over the ensuing weeks and months by the mere assertion of seemingly legitimate Police authority, authority accompanied by Metro’s well known and often practiced reputation for punishing its perceived enemies in the community. Personal connections between Metro officers and the Secret Service obtained their assistance, perhaps their unwitting assistance, and the meandering, nonsensical trail of a traveling hard drive began, giving the Police plausible deniability. “Hey sure, we made a mistake, but we tried to find the evidence!”

Among the most important elements of the entire charade was avoiding entering the video equipment into Police evidence. True, this would, yet again, make the police appear to be incredibly incompetent, but in the unlikely event that something was found on the hard drive(s)--after concerted attempts to be sure that nothing could be--the Police would argue that since it was never really in their care and custody, anything could have happened to it. It was tainted and should not be allowed in court.


On October 28, the Scott family announced a $25,000 reward payable for a legitimate copy of the video evidence of the shooting. The family reasonably believes that such video exists. It’s possible that even in Las Vegas, $25,000 may be enough to shake it loose. Visit the link in the first paragraph of this update for additional information and for contact information. The Scott family has also purchased four billboards around Las Vegas advertising the reward. None of this will be pleasing to the Police.


On October 28, the Goodman Law Group of Las Vegas, on behalf of the Scott family, filed a lawsuit against Officers Mosher, Stark and Mendiola, The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Sheriff Doug Gillespie, Costco and Shai Lierly for violating Erik Scott’s civil rights. This language is significant in that it may be calculated to encourage federal involvement in the case. Federal involvement may be the only mechanism capable of forcing actual change in the Metro Police.

The suit alleges that Lierly “falsely reported that Erik did pose a threat to the safety of other persons.” It also alleges that there have been “numerous prior incidents in which Metro officers engaged in unreasonable seizures and use of excessive, including lethal, force,” and that Sheriff Gillespie has behaved with “deliberate indifference” by failing to properly train, supervise and discipline officers who behaved unprofessionally.

And so the hunt for facts and the truth begins. The degree to which Metro cooperates in this endeavor will tend to indicate the degree of their adherence, or lack thereof, to professional standards, ethics, and the law.


Early in the week of November 1, a female friend of the Scott family was pulled over by the Police twice within a three hour period, allegedly for failing to signal within 100’ of a lane change. This woman is a supporter of the Scott cause and was present at the Inquest. She did, however, unquestionably commit a sin unforgivable to Metro Police: She displayed an Erik Scott remembrance ribbon on the back of her vehicle.

It is known that the second stop was made by Henderson officers (the officers making the first stop are not currently known). By the second stop, she was so frightened that she, upon stopping, immediately stuck both of her arms out her window, expecting to be shot at any moment. She was shaking with fear. The Officer toyed with her, asking why she was afraid. She told him that it was because of Scott’s shooting and he acknowledged that he saw the ribbon on the back of her car. He taunted her a bit longer and let her go without a citation (she was not cited for either “violation”). She has since, fearing for her life, removed the ribbon from her vehicle.

Competent, professional police officers will recognize this as a classic chickenshit traffic situation. Professionals never issue citations, and rarely stop citizens, for failing to signal unless their driving behavior nearly caused an accident or figured in an accident. This is so because it is virtually impossible, even for officers who become, through long experience, very good at judging distance and velocity relating to moving vehicles, to be sure that a citizen began signaling at less than 100’ before making a lane change or turning. In many vehicles, turn signals do not activate instantly when the lever is pushed, and a vehicle could easily cover 30-50 feet before a signal begins. And in reality, particularly in heavy, metropolitan traffic, people must change lanes--and do so every day with complete safety--without the possibility of signaling and traveling 100’ before making the change. Officers know that it is almost impossible to drive at all without inadvertently committing at least some violation of the multitude of traffic laws. Most police officers aren’t aware of every potential local and state traffic law. The point is that professionals do not harass the public when they could very well be doing their best to obey the law.

In this case it is clear that the officers involved, apparently at least two separate officers, were acting as uniformed thugs rather than professional, honorable guardians of the public. What kind of man delights in so frightening an innocent woman as to make her fear for her life, fearing death at the hands of the Police who are sworn to protect her? Such a man is not a man at all. He is certainly not an honorable police officer. And what kind of police supervisor allows this kind of behavior to go unpunished and uncorrected? Such a supervisor is, at best, enabling thuggish, perhaps even criminal behavior, and at worst, complicit in that behavior. And what kind of Sheriff, knowing of this kind of malfeasance on the part of his officers--and he does know of it--allows it to continue, allows it to go unpunished? Why does he not immediately and personally call--even visit--that woman and assure her that she has nothing to fear from her police force? Why does he not call a press conference and announce to the public that he has taken steps to ensure that his own officers are and always will be the protectors of the public rather than indistinguishable from those who prey upon them?

But the most damning question for the Metro Police is this: Why should such discipline, correction and assurance be necessary in the first place? How could things have ever been allowed to deteriorate so badly?

Sadly, the Police, through their campaign of thuggish, criminal harassment, are achieving at least some of their goals; people are afraid of them and many are removing Erik Scott remembrance ribbons from their vehicles recognizing that displaying them puts them at risk of chickenshit, even illegal citations or worse. It is a great tragedy, and an inexpressible outrage, that the citizens of Las Vegas may reasonably believe that their lives are at risk at the hands of their police. One wonders why the Clark County Commissioners, the elected officials who hold the ultimate power over the Metro Police--the power of the purse--apparently hear, see and do nothing about such gross abuses of power.

Wise police officers and agencies understand that having the good will and support of their citizens is crucial. They understand that even in dealing with criminals, it is foolish to harass and mistreat people. Such behavior on the part of the police builds up bad will, hatred, even the desire to engage in violence against the police. Such bad will is cumulative. It’s like a bank account that eventually grows so large that the vault can no longer contain it. When it bursts, and it will, lives--citizen and police--can be lost. Sadly, it would not be unreasonable to believe that this has been the case in Las Vegas for a very long time, that the Erik Scott case was only the most recent bursting, and that the vault continues to fill. It will burst again and again, unless affirmative and absolute steps are taken to once again restore the Metro Police to a position of trust and respect within their own community.


It has been said that there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. To a lesser degree, the same might be said of police officers. It is very unsettling to have to write as I have in these updates. As I’ve stated before, I strive to provide information and analysis that will allow people to understand the police and to better judge what may have happened in this case, and what may be happening in Las Vegas. In this effort, I am continually hampered by a lack of complete information, information that is closely held by the Metro Police, and of course, by the Scott family and their attorneys. I encourage any Metro officer or other person having pertinent information to contact me or my co-blogger, Bob Owens. If we have made any mistakes, misrepresented any fact or incident, we are anxious to learn of it and to make appropriate corrections. And, of course, we always appreciate the insights and comments of our readers.

In the communities where I worked as a police officer, virtually anyone hearing of a citizen who feared for their life at the hands of the police would have thought them paranoid, unstable, irrational. They would have thought it possible that the police might have been occasionally unreasonable, perhaps even a bit rude, but capable of threatening the lives of innocent citizens? Certainly not.

Everything I have learned--and much of that has not been reported in these updates--about the Metro Police and their relationship to their community has lead me to the belief that Las Vegas citizens may very well reasonably fear for their safety at the hands of their Police. Certainly not every officer is out of control. The majority likely are not, but when a citizen is pulled over by a Metro--or even a Henderson--officer, he or she cannot know if that officer is among the professional majority or the thuggish minority. Citizens see only a blue--or tan--suit and their impression of all officers, professional or thuggish, will be formed by their treatment by that suit. Professionals know this and act accordingly. It appears that the involved officers--far too many of them--do not.

With this in mind, one of the most tragic ironies of the Erik Scott case is that Scott’s death may be nothing more than a symptom, a periodic outbreak, of a Police disease that has long infected Las Vegas.

Posted by MikeM at November 10, 2010 06:21 PM

This case is getting worse. The LV police are intimidating people, while the world watches. It's dumb.

The Long Grey Line (West Point alumni) are watching this, even if other eyes are diverted. They lost one of their own, and this intimidation is only going to attract further attention.

It smells of cover-up. If LVPD had nothing to hide, they wouldn't be pulling stunts like this.

Posted by: Slowjoe at November 10, 2010 09:14 PM

Filthy. Maggot. Pigs.

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 10, 2010 11:25 PM

And your so-called professional majority are the ENABLERS for the swill in that department. At BEST they are playing Sergeant Schultz "I see nothing!" May they rot where they belong for what they have done to this country. For the MLVPD is NOT even REMOTELY unique:

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 10, 2010 11:33 PM


First, thanks for the heads-up on the new post. It does contain some interesting information and I have some expertise in some of the areas in question which I will try to use to analyze or explain some of the questions that have been raised.

First your explanation of the vagaries and pitfalls of eye-witness information is spot-on and re-emphasizes a point that I made in commenting on one of the previous posts. While having an eye-witness to any crime is often considered a crucial piece of evedence, that is not always the case. Many eyewitnesses only catch a portion of the action taking place in a given incident. Often, people who claim to have "seen the whole thing" in fact saw nothing, but only turned their attention to the incident after the fact. I have worked homicides and shootings with dozens of witnesses and it always takes a tremendous amount of work on the investigative side to sort through the myriad of statements to get as close as possible to the actual chain of events and to obtain good descriptions of the actors.

The video equipment. Camera and video recordings have replaced the eye witness as the "holy grail" of evidence in a lot of police work. As a detective, anytime I could get video on an incident, particularly "good video" of evedentiary quality, much of my work was done, as far as identifying suspects, placing them at a particular place, at a particular time, depicting the criminal actions of the suspect, etc. The advent of patrol car video has done much for policing, with regard to complaints against officers, traffic arrests, etc. I love me some police car videos. In our department only the supervisors can download the cameras, and they are activated anytime the emergency equipment is on or can be turned on manually by the officer. The officers wear a body mic and there is a mic inside the cab of the unit. Unfortunately, only 50% of our cars have cameras, but that is being remedied more and more as time and budget allows.

Of course, I don't know if LVMPD has cameras, and if so, how many and how they are set-up. Like you, I'd sure like to know that information.

As to the Costco video, as I've said before, it doesn't suprise me that their system might be down at any given time. As videotape recording has given way to digital systems, they have become somewhat more complicated for the average store security person to deal with and diagnose if a problem occurs. While conducting investigations, I have found large national chain stores with their systems down and awaiting repair at some appointed time. Often it is just a matter of a reboot that was seemingly beyond the competence level of the security personnel to accomplish.

Most of the current systems offer DVR capacity in excess of a terrabyte of memory. This usually supports 16 to 32 cameras, and depending on the frame rate and the amount of movement and activity a given camera sees can give a roll-over point of from a few days to several weeks (roll-over point being the point at which the DVR begins to overwrite the hard drive). The DVR is essentially a computer dedicated to storing bits of digital video information. The DVR usually feeds to another computer, called a "client" that sends live realtime images to a video screen, often with up to 32 cameras being monitored per screen.

I don't know how capable LVMPD's computer forensics people are. I sometimes have doubts about TPD's computer forensics investigators, but not having dealt directly with them for a couple of years perhaps they have improved their skill levels.

I will say that the U.S. Secret Service has a highly capable and professional computer forensics lab here in Tulsa. I used to work on the Secret Service task force here and am still close to them, talking with some of the guys at least once a week. While it may come as a suprise to some that the Secret Service has developed this capability, it shouldn't. Much of the counterfeiting of money, checks and credit cards is done on computer these days as well as identity theft of which they do a little work on.

If I were investigating a serious crime or an officer involved shooting and had a DVR to be looked at, my first choice would be the Secret Service's computer lab here, and I'm sure they have additional labs in place in various regions of the country (like Los Angeles).

As far as the 600 gigabytes / 583 folders of information recovered by Seagate and the USSS, it could be important or it could be totally irrelevant. For the sake of argument, let's say Costco is telling the truth and their DVR went down on the 7th or 8th. The recovered data would be the video taken from the last rollover point up to the time the DVR went down. In that case it would be totally useless to this case. But, if it was not down and there is something more nefarious afoot, then it might in fact be relevant. Even if the shooting itself was not caught on video, the video from cameras inside the store might support or rebuke the description of Erik's actions inside the store which led to the call to 911 by Shai Lierley.

I have a lot more to say with regard to this post. particularly with regard to the appparent harrassment being conducted by LVMPD (I don't recall, did we learn if Henderson is covered by Metro or a separate department, when I was out there a few years ago and asking about getting on there I was told that many Metro officers were assigned to small communities in the county as permanent assignments). Also, I 'd like to speak to LVMPD's evidence handling / total investigative incompetence among othr things. Unfortunately, I don't have time to finish commenting right now, but I will at a later point.

Posted by: Montie at November 11, 2010 12:37 AM

Mike and Montie,
What true justice will come of this lawsuit. I know Bill Scott will not quietly slip into the chasm of financial settlement,and no disclosure. Metro will just say they were wrongly convicted in their endless appeals. Because they will lose. I also guarantee that the trial will not be held here in Vegas. To many people, literaly everone here has knowledge of the incedent, and has formed an opinion one way or the other. But my question I guess is what happens now, is Metro really in jeapordy of serious consequences. Montie, how long did it take to bring the bad cops in your department to justice? Was all their dirty laundry cleaned in the wash? Is it really possible for JUSTICE to be served. Frankly, I have been a little leary myself posting here and elsewhere, with the recent re-election of DA Rogers and Sheriff Gillespie. I am honestly dumbfounded, how this happened. It defy's logic. But I fully support the Scott's in this seamingly insurmountable task at hand. I can't imagine Metro will make things easy, as far as evidence in their possesion goes. I hope against hope, that I am wrong, and that somebody in the Metro or other orginizations grows a pair and the TRUTH is revealed. Like you said about daylight. It's the ultimate seer of the truth.

Posted by: Jvh at November 11, 2010 11:25 AM


In the small department I went to several years ago, with the express purpose of cleaning it up, it never happened all the way. Too entrenched nd fought tooth and nail by the union. Many of us (including the chief) who came in to do it left and took jobs elswhere, and friends I made there tell me it's still an ongoing problem that is gradually being whittled way at.

TPD's problems are still being sorted out. The federal prosecutor is still digging and has flipped a few of the involved officers. TPD has both union and civil service protection so it's taking federal investigators and federal crimnal charges to root out all the bad apples. Oddly enough, one of the first corrupt officers taken down was a fed working with locals (ATFE).

The sad thing is that some of the peole being let out of jail thanks to a few corrupt cops are really bad guys who could have been gotten with honest police work. Now, they'll probably get rich on taxpayer dollars paid out in compensation.

If metro is as bad as is being claimed (and as I'm coming to believe that they are), it could take years to weed out all the bad folks and change the culture of the department. As I've learned, even is a small department, once the culture is entrenched, only drastic measures can turn it around.

Fortunately for TPD, corruption isn't accepted or entrenched as a way of business, but laziness is tolerated, and I think that it's that lazyness that led to shortcuts to get badguys off the street. When you begin to accept any means to an end regardless of good intentions, out and out criminal behavior is a short step away.

Oh, and I am frankly stunned that Rogers and Gillespie were re-elected. But then, the Las Vegas area put Harry Reed over the top.

Posted by: Montie at November 11, 2010 03:44 PM

Thanks for your reply Montie. Looking forward to your completion of your earlier post. I am not happy about Reed either, although it was very close in all races exept Sheriff. Go figure.

Posted by: Jvh at November 11, 2010 06:25 PM

Did you recieve your Inquest DVD's yet? If so have you watched any of it?

Posted by: Jvh at November 11, 2010 06:30 PM

Absolutely brilliant series. So informative, so well thought out and so meticulously presented. Pulitzer worthy. With each new addition comes new revelations that indicate criminal behavior within the Metro and Sheriff's department. If ever justice should prevail, this is the case. I look forward to the next installment and to the civil trial.

Posted by: Stephen at November 12, 2010 12:07 PM

Tellingly your diatribe on the unreliability of witnesses must be resolved in favor of the accused. But the accused is William Mosher. Therefore he is innocent under your standard.

Posted by: Federale at November 14, 2010 02:00 PM

Oh, and by the way, the long grey line has made their decision and are doing nothing. Why, because they know that a drug addict is not someone they will make a stand for.

Posted by: Federale at November 14, 2010 02:02 PM

The simple answer to your question as to why LVMPD did not seize the video is that they were told it was not working. You yourself established that Costco reported the system down before the shooting, so there was no need to go further.

And by the way, they cannot take such evidence into "custody." They can request that a copy of relevant video be provided by the holder of the recording system, but without a search warrant they cannot seize such evidence. In most cases the holders of video evidence provide it voluntarily.

And who cares about video shot by a police chopper or news crews? They were not there at the time of the shooting so any recordings would be irrelevant.

Since you proffered a second wide ranging conspiracy theory, just how did everyone from the Secret Service to the technicians at the security company and everyone in between come to an agreement? Did the sheriff call up the Director of the Secret Service? Did the Sheriff get a willing agreement from LVVLS to participate? Did he threaten them? Is the owner or owners of LVVLS contributors to the Sheriff? Did the Director of the Secret Service conspire with the owner of LVVLS?

Do you realize how crazy you sound? Do you know that even a broken video surveillance system would have files on its hard drive?

Do you realize that Scott's girlfriend testified that he had the gun in his hand when he was shot? Is she part of your conspiracy? She said he was surrendering the gun.

And just who is claiming that it was a cell phone in his hand when he was shot?

How could Scott have been surprised when his girlfriend testified that she told him before he was shot that he was the reason the store was being evacuated?

Posted by: Federale at November 14, 2010 04:12 PM

And from Samantha Sterner:

“I just think that this officer was out of line,” she tells the officer. What happened was a misunderstanding.

“He was trying to put his weapon on the ground,” she says.

So, is Sterner part of the conspiracy? She stated that he had a gun in his hand when he was shot.

So there is no need for your magic gun theory, no need for your sabotaged video system.

It is just down to the judgement of the officers when confronted with a man with a gun.

That is it. Anything more borders on an obsession bordering on mental illness.

Posted by: Federale at November 14, 2010 04:23 PM

Strange techie questions.
Damage consistent with being dropped from 4 feet? How? Unpowered, a drop of 4 feet wouldn't hurt a modern HD much, if at all. Certainly nothing you'd notice or couldn't fix with freeware recovery utils.
Powered up and doing some read/writes, sure a drop of 4 feet could fatally damage the heads. That means someone picked up the box while it was plugged into the wall and actively running(performing disk operations) and dropped it.
Data could be recovered from the platters which leads to the 2nd strange bit.
Recovered data but didn't know if it was video? Not his job to determine? How is that?

If the damage to the drive is limited to just say it's FAT or other system-only type areas, recovery may be easy and it's possible this guy isn't talking total BS. In that situation you'd get back files and folders(maybe) all neat and easy and could 'not know' what they are.
Otherwise, you have to have some idea of the structure of the data you're trying to recover so you can patch, fill in, or otherwise finagle the data so it at least somewhat resembles the file it once was and whichever program was built to read it can. Hence 'recovered'. You can't consider a file 'recovered' unless you run some kind of test on it that'll come back with 'Yes, MS Word agrees this is a readable Word file'. Now, you can do that without ever reading the file or playing the video. But you do know what 'kind' of data it is or else you couldn't of recovered it or confirmed it was 'recovered' at all.
I'm just a lower-level techie, but I can't think of no way to recover a badly damaged file to a readable video file and not know it was video.

Security System DVRs are an interesting set of species. They store video in all sorts of different ways. Compression and encryption and whatnot. Some use standard formats, others are 'special'.
Which makes the statement about 'proprietary hardware' interesting. Did the system use 'proprietary software' to record video? Doesn't necessarily make it harder to recover. Sure as all heck makes it harder to claim you didn't know what the files are but they've been recovered. If the proprietary video format was in the police database, at the very least you'd have to look it up. Else you'd have to contact the company.
'Proprietary hardware' may mean nothing relevant, or it could mean the video cameras sent compressed raw binary data directly to the DVR or something equally strange. Again, making it impossible to 'not know' what the data recovered is.

Again, there are some types of (kinda) relatively minor types of drive damage where you'd have to send it to a professional to get it taken apart. And have that techie get very lucky because the damage is limited to certain areas. Then the drive could be recovered complete with folders and files all nice and neat. A simple util could then automatically run through the data to confirm it's mostly ok. The techie would then only glimpse a few of the file formats.

Then the techie could truthfully say, under oath, that the files were recovered and there 'may have' been video.

Myself? I couldn't, under oath, say that I recovered data from a badly damaged DVR drive, even with 99% of the recoverable data recovered by an automatic util, and answer the question of 'Was there video on it?' with anything other than 'Yes'.

I'm assuming, regardless of the damage, the recovery process was not something of the equivalent of running chkdsk, but proper Forensic Data Recovery. Way beyond my ken, but I know HD companies charge a hefty fee when Joe Businessman sends his physically damaged drive in to fix. And Joe Businessman gets his money's worth recovering his valuable propriety data as complete as possible. Tech wouldn't have to(possibly be legally barred from)looking inside, but would have to know the shape of the building.

Posted by: Keapon Laffin at November 15, 2010 08:15 AM

Montie: Are you STILL playing Sergeant Schultz?

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 15, 2010 09:02 AM

Ditto on the Secret Service. Since they are tasked with wire fraud and counterfeiting duties, they have a very competent computer forensics system. I would even wager that sending the drive to Seagate (no small expense or feat -- just getting them to take it, much less turn it this quickly is impressive.)

I work with computer forensic people a lot, and there's an absolutely vital part of the examination that none of them have testified to (because you would have certainly noted it) -- "Is there any evidence of files having been deleted from this media?" Any competent forensic expert looks for those fingerprints, and if they didn't, that is significant.

I also don't find it credible that they didn't look at the files. Not having an opinion on it as an expert, absolutely. Not looking, as a fact? Don't believe it. If that's actually what they testified to, you can add the Secret Service to the testilying squad.

Posted by: Phelps at November 15, 2010 07:33 PM

correction -- would wager that sending the drive to Seagate was their idea, and that they were one of a very small body of groups that would have that much pull with Seagate.

Posted by: Phelps at November 15, 2010 07:34 PM

I remember seeing something that the company who handled the security footage for Costco just received a contract to handle video security footage for some of Metro's station/ substations... Anyone else have information on that?

Posted by: Willis at November 17, 2010 04:13 AM

Federale I feel like we have this same conversation every single time, but you just dont get it. Please listen to the entire recorded statement that Samantha Sterner gave instead of taking bits of her testimony out of context. You can listen to it on several las vegas news websites in its entirety. She clearly states that he was never even able to clear the holstered weapon. Your argument has no balls.

Posted by: Willis at November 17, 2010 11:47 PM

Here is the info you were asking for, about video service of Metro's stations. Hope this helps

Posted by: Jvh at November 18, 2010 04:29 AM

Thank you Jvh that was exactly what I was looking for.
So Metro picked Vegas Valley for their reliability and ability to pull up archived video in a matter of seconds. Too ironic.

Posted by: Willis at November 18, 2010 05:51 AM

Remember how the video was working just fine on the outside cameras? How at the inquest they showed video of the people scrambling in the parking lot in the area just beyond where the shooting took place, just beyond the pillars, but in a place that almost everyone would need to walk past to get to the entrance?

I have a few questions that I hope can be answered from someone with video/computer knowledge. Is the video footage from the inside of Costco stored on something different or somewhere different than the video footage from the outside of the store? Please put it in average joes terms if possible.

I am also very curious if the outside video would have caught Mr. Scott walking from the parking lot due to the angle that camera was. It seemed to catch the area that funnelled people towards the entrance. I find it odd that they have not shown Mr. Scott walking towards the entrance area. Surely that could show him staggering and acting erratic right? Or was it not significant because he was walking normal? Either way they brushed right over it and didn't even address the issue.

Posted by: Willis at November 18, 2010 06:13 AM

Thank you Mike and Bob for continuing to follow this issue. Thank you Montie for also continuing to follow it as well as the others who do not let this tragedy be forgotten. Please do not forget that the Las Vegas police department is the exception, not the rule. Most areas do not have a track record of shooting unarmed people with no consequences. Yes, there are some law enforcement officers who use the badge as a shield for crime, but there are dishonest people in many professions who give the 99% who are honest a bad name. We are blessed in that where I live the law enforcement agencies have a very high standard of conduct and do a great job policing their own ranks. Please pray that someone in the Las Vegas government and/or police will straighten this out. Since Las Vegas is a tourist city, this is a chilling advertisement. If nothing else, rude and dangerous police do not mix with getting in the tourists. In the end, it will take law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation and gather the evidence to bring this to trial. Our prayers will be with them.

Posted by: Disabled Veteran at November 18, 2010 04:31 PM

For Disabled Veteran:
You might want to get a little more knowledgeable about what you speak:

Police corruption and malfeasance is FAR MORE widespread than you would lead us to believe. Do note that the links above only consolidate corruption and crimes reported in the media. They DO NOT include the "internal reports" which are not released by the departments. After all, those are only "personnel matters" and have no business in the public view. Even if they involve wrongful death.

And let's not forget that, while the corruption and crimes are indeed not done by ALL "Law Enforcement" officers, those who you would label as good see NOTHING WRONG with playing Sergeant Schultz - "I see nothing!" Prime example? The latest TSA grope fest:
But then NOBODY in "Law Enforcement" could POSSIBLY have been aware of that now, could they?

Filthy. Maggot. Pigs.

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 18, 2010 07:04 PM

The connection between Vegas Valley Locking Systems, and Metro is dubious to say the least.

Posted by: Jvh at November 18, 2010 07:11 PM

And Disabled Veteran:
You won't want to miss this:

or this:

or this:

or this:

or any of the MANY other sources identifying despicable actions by "Law Enforcement". Most of which go unpunished. Such as the OUTSTANDING FBI DNA Lab at Quantico. Which has been caught not ONCE, but instead at least TWICE falsifying DNA reports to enable conviction. The stench is overwhelming.

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 18, 2010 07:22 PM

They didn't show the video of Eric entering the store, because it would show someone functioning normally. That wouldn't fly with the character assassination to make Eric out as a crazed unfunctional, maniac. Anyone who looks at the picture Costco took of him 45 min. before the shooting can see he isn't impaired, red eyed or in an aggressive mood. In fact he spent quite a bit of time at the application counter, trying to get tax ID info from his company for a business account, instead of a regular one. The woman who took his application mentioned he wss a little slow, but never aggresive or out of control. Kind of morbid irony that his signature on that application was tant amount to signing his own death warrant. Considering Costco reaction to his legally carried firearm.

Posted by: Jvh at November 18, 2010 07:24 PM

Exactly JVH and the D.A.'s office didn't want to add facts to the fact finding process unless the facts were aimed at a justified inquest verdict.
Something about the relationship between Vegas Valley Locking Systems and Metro definitely doesn't sit right either.

Posted by: Willis at November 18, 2010 08:09 PM

To call our inquest process fact finding, is done so with tongue in cheek. It is more like a trial of the descedent than finding any relevant facts about what happened in the incident, and only what the DA wants to provide, nothing else.

One of the possitive things to come out of this tragedy is thousands of e-mails were sent to Metro's bosses, the Clark County Commissioners. All of them said basicly the same thing. What the F#*! was the deal with the inquest. Mind you this was the first ever televised inquest. The Commissioners convened a panel to make changes. At first with the DA, Sheriff Gillespie, Chris Collins(the PPA director)being on the panel, I thought it would be the inquest for the inquest. But reasonable changes have been proposed. Including only the facts from the day of the death can be presented, no more digging up all available dirt, true or not can be admissable. Although Chris Collins objected to everthing, he is a giant A-hole, personally speaking. All changes passed by 8-2 vote. There may acutually be hope in sin city yet.

But just when you feel a little light on your brow.

Metro kills another highly dangerous perp wielding a cane. They did tase him first,and bean bagged him, when that didn't work they shot him in the chest, because the cane had a hook on it. Last time I checked all canes had a hook on the end. I guess the possibility of bruises is now concidered a threat to life and limb.

Posted by: Jvh at November 19, 2010 01:26 AM

I retired in February after 24 years as a police officer in California. FTO, Patrol, Motors, Firearms Instructor, SWAT are all position I've held. I'm an FBI and NRA trained firearms/police firearms instructor. I was also almost 9 years in the military and did my share of training there as well.

I've been following this case as well as the Mehserle case (which I have written about). The cover up I'll leave to you as you've covered it so well but I'd like to speak to the initial shooting.

In both of these cases I think we're seeing the results of the 'Worst Case' officer safety training that has become the norm. Even before they take their first ride in a patrol car rookie officers are scared to death by Academy (and even Agency) instructors who approach all encounters from that angle. Officer safety scenarios tend to emphasize all the horror stories out there (FBI Miami, Norco and some more recent examples) and gloss over or even omit that not all armed encounters result in violent death. I've had trainees freeze up when confronted by even mild aggression from contacts that I considered nothing more than a nuisance call. Officers are reacting out of fear instead of confidence in their training and abilities. The word that leaps out at me is Panic.

Panic, like anger, is contagious and is virtually impossible to train out. Such officers must be identified early on in the process and removed from the program. HR and Training must do a better job of recognizing such behavior patterns and Agencies must be made to understand the dangers such officers pose. I'd much rather go into a bad call alone than with a hysteric. If it means working shorthanded then so be it. We, as a profession, cannot tolerate the presence of such.

Posted by: Six at November 21, 2010 12:45 PM