If we don’t learn from the past-are we destined to repeat it? I think Sheriff Gillespie has been caught like a deer in the headlights – but nobody in the mainstream media seems to be ‘calling him out’ on this!
I wonder if this is because of a new rotation of ‘rookie’ reporters, or if the LVMPD has more control of the media than I had imagined? Information that fits into the ‘police narrative’ is promptly released after O.I.S. cases and other high-profile incidents where Metro wants to vilify the suspect(s). The Review-Journal supposedly obtained ‘court records’ that allegedly established the criminal history of Kenneth Cherry. However, there seems to be some dispute about the validity of the information that one columnist obtained. Then – there is Metro claiming they intentionally used an ‘investigative technique’ to release a photo of a former Reality TV personality… doing damage to her reputation… which already seems like it will result in a lawsuit. Channel 8 also obtained a ‘normally barred from the public’ report referencing a sexual assault involving the suspect and did a story on the report.
On February 28, I watched Gillespie’s press conference where he announced the arrest of Ammar Harris. He was more inarticulate than he normally is and was full of bravado – as usual. He assured the community that people visiting, working, or living in Las Vegas are entitled to a safe community; that the horrible incident does not reflect the values of Las Vegas (no kidding); and that this type of senseless act will not be tolerated. He threatened “anyone out there watching… who acts like this person, will be found, prosecuted, and sent to prison.”
A few days later, I saw Lt. Karen Hughes from Metro Vice being interviewed on a local TV channel. She was also inarticulate and used words like ‘respectability’ and ‘loyalty’ when describing pimps who torture and intimidate their girls and destroy lives. She further described the violent subculture of pimps and the prostitution problem. In this report, the ‘whole community’ was implored to ‘recognize the problem of human trafficking.’ There was also a report that more officers would be put on the Strip… but I have not yet seen or heard from Captain Fasulo, who seems to be firing more officers than he assigns to the Strip!
The ‘black eye’ that these two pimps (Harris and Cherry) gave Las Vegas is no different than what they call, ‘bitch-slapping’ when they beat their girls. This is the ONLY reason that the recent crime has the potential to be an impetus to improved safety and reclaiming the Strip! Yes – there is plenty of evidence that neither the good people nor the police are in control of our precious Las Vegas Strip, and it has actually been out of control for years as described below.
The headlines on May 25, 2005, read, WILD WEEKEND: Three Wounded, three arrested… police report shootings and fights, confiscated weapons after concert. A month later the Las Vegas Weekly published a cartoon under the heading, What to Do If You’re Caught In the Line of Gunfire. The suggestion given to readers was, “Begin by bending your body into a ducking-type position, perhaps behind a large, solidly constructed man. Refrain from angry or confrontational vocal outbursts. Under no circumstances make a pretend gun with your thumb and finger and try to fire back.”
I was there with my sergeant and members of my squad… a security officer at Walgreen’s was struck in the head by a bullet. The last I heard he was paralyzed, but who cared? This ‘horrible incident’ and ‘senseless act’ was potentially much more deadly than the pimp crash but it barely reached the news and certainly did not make national and international news like the recent event. We had bullets flying over our heads as we chased suspects toward what is now the City Center complex. The investigation was plagued by disagreements about which detectives would handle the case; and, the last that I heard, only one suspect was prosecuted.
Doug Gillespie was the undersheriff at the time; after becoming sheriff, he has had plenty of time to deal with the ongoing crime and violence on the Strip. Instead, he has buried his head in the sand until his hand has been forced. He puts officers out on the Strip for homeland security and for entertainment (COPS and the Las Vegas Strip), but are these officers arresting pimps and helping Vice with the ‘problem that is not going to go away’? Yes – Lt. Karen Hughes needs help… about five more squads of detectives assigned to Vice to really have some impact on the problem. Now is the time Sheriff! Stop the dishonesty and deception and act accordingly. We want a SAFE STRIP now!
NEXT WEEK: Norm Jahn wrote the following memo through Metro’s chain of command.