Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has called upon County Manager Don Burnette to move forward with a Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review, AKA Coroner’s Inquest, for the December 11, 2011 shooting death of Stanley Gibson.
The procedure is set up for February 28, and the County Manager appointed former District Court Judge Stewart Bell to be the presiding officer.
The inquest has been one of the most controversial public issues in the last three years because the police union refuses to let the union members testify in the inquest; and in a letter to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, the union legal counsel, David Roger, alerted the county prosecutor that he has told “his” police officers not to talk to him.
The Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review Process, AKA the Coroner’s Inquest, was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in their first meeting of the year, 2013, perhaps as a token insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Clark County who never had any trust in the office in the first place, or in the results of the inquest that was created to supposedly find the reason or reasons as to why any particular police officer killed (often seen as “murdered”) any particular human being, citizen, of this community.
A famous expression among police officers is that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about,” so why don’t they apply it to themselves and practice what they preach? If they are not guilty, why are they so worried and what are they worried about?
All they would have to do is just tell the truth and they would have nothing to be concerned about, but Mr. Roger will not allow “his” police officers to be so upfront, truthful and honest with the community they have chosen to serve and protect.
The “Fact-finding” committee will be presided over by a “Presiding” Officer that used to be called a Hearing Officer, just as that person was always called before all this fancy new name-changing stuff came to be.
County Manager-appointed former District Court Judge Stewart Bell is to be the presiding officer. Judge Bell, a former Clark County District Attorney holds Senior Judge Status in District court.
Here are the local police-involved deaths that have not had a coroner’s inquest or District Attorney-written review:
Stanley Gibson – 12/11/2011 shooting involving the LVMPD
Ronald Morrison – 10/29/2012 shooting involving the LVMPD
Daniel Hathorne – 11/02/2012 shooting involving the LVMPD (Should it be Hawthorne?)
Justin Hoey – 11/07/2012 shooting involving the Henderson Police Department
These are the ones that are slated to go through the Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review process approved by the County Commission on Tuesday afternoon.
Generally speaking, District Attorney Steve Wolfson plans to call for Police Fatality Reviews on the cases in the order that the deadly incidents occurred. However, this may not always be possible as some investigations take longer than others. At this time, DA Wolfson is planning on calling for a Police Fatality Review of the Stanley Gibson case first.
The Office of the Clark County Coroner/Medical Examiner has not determined a cause and manner of death for Alejandro Sanchez-Escoto.
All of the Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Reviews will be shown live on Clark County Television (CCTV), which is available at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov which will be archived on the County website.
The reviews can also be seen on Channel 4 in the Las Vegas area.
The review will be held in the County Commission Chambers at the Clark County Government Center at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, starting at 9 a.m.
But the big question remains: Will any name change of the committee, or the person presiding over it, bring about any substantial changes, allowing for better and more fact-based conclusions; or will we still have a monkey all dressed up in silk?