Google and other media organizations’ reports show that during the period 1990 to 2011, the department reported 310 shooting incidents, 115 of them fatal; but Las Vegas will never be another Ferguson, Missouri.
Although the local population is less than ten percent Black, about a third of those shot by the police are Black.
In less than a decade several Blacks were killed by police and few of them were minors about the same age of Michael Brown, the teen killed by police in Ferguson, who has been in the news for weeks now due to the publicity created by riots in that small city protesting Brown’s shooting.
Former University of Nevada, Reno basketball star and casino floor man Charles Bush was killed in his apartment while he was sleeping. The killers were three police detectives who entered Bush’s residence without a warrant and without identifying themselves as police officers.
If memory serves some people right, police tried hard not to mention that Bush was a black man working in the gaming industry and tried to accuse him of having been a pimp.
The late Clark County District Attorney, Rex Bell, who was known for always refusing to accept guilt by police, declined to charge the detectives and Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa took the extraordinary step of charging all three with involuntary manslaughter.
All three were eventually acquitted by a hung jury, and Bush’s family received a $1.1 million settlement. On June 11, 2010 Detective Bryan Yant killed a young naked black unarmed man in the bathroom of his residence minding his own business.
Detective Bryan Yant was not fired; instead he was reassigned to duty as a desk officer for violating several police department policies including lying in the preparation and serving of the warrant, in addition to several minor violations.
Yant was not demoted, suspended, nor perhaps even reprimanded, and today he still enjoys being an out-of-control police detective to whom superiors send the message that it is okay to lie to judges “in the name of the law” and kill another human being for being young and black.
On 12 December 2011, Officer Jesus Arevalo shot and killed Stanley Gibson in a standoff at an apartment complex after misinterpreting the order of a superior that had just arrived at the scene.
Gibson, a black Gulf War veteran, had reportedly suffered from psychological distress. He was disoriented, circling an apartment complex when someone reportedly called in a report of a burglar.
The police responded by boxing in Gibson’s vehicle and ordering him to come out. He did not. Police then planned to extract him from the SUV.
Arevalo told the Las Vegas Tribune that the arrival of a senior officer, Lieutenant David Dockendorf, caused some confusion about how to proceed when Gibson gunned his vehicle’s engine.
In the confusion, Arevalo killed the unarmed man with four shots from an AR-15 assault rifle. In 2013, the agency agreed to pay Gibson’s family $1.5 million.
Arevalo, a Latino police officer, was the only scapegoat in the case when it went through many levels of investigation and disciplinary hearings.
Dockendorf was demoted two ranks. Two separate review panels recommended Arevalo be fired, and in October 2013, Officer Arevalo became the first policeman in the history of the department to be fired as a result of an on-duty shooting; and we were told by reliable sources that Dockendorf is back at his rank.
To calm what the local police control mainstream media called “community outrage,” then Clark County Sheriff John Moran created the internal review board to look at each incident where a Las Vegas cop used deadly force.
The board, five officers and two civilians, would recommend not only discipline for errant officers but also changes in training and policy.
The FBI investigated another case of black vs. white police officers when Orlando Barlow, who was killed by Metro police officer Brian Hartman after being on the ground on his knees, was placed under arrest.
The FBI focused on whether race was a reason for the shooting while Metro is investigating allegations that shirts being used by several police officers with the initials BDRT, which in reality stands for “baby daddy’s removal team” after the death of Trevon Cole, whose girlfriend was pregnant and due a few days after Cole was killed by Detective Bryan Yant.
Maybe the national news is not publicizing the murders of black young people in Clark County because the community as a whole is not making enough noise to attract the interest of the networks and the national press corps.