Thomas A. Nagy
Part 24 of a Series
Last week I wrote in this series about the systemic lack of justice in Clark County, and predicted that the shooting of Anthony Wade Moore at the Rio Casino by LVMPD Officer Sean Beck would be found “justified” by authorities.
Within hours after this Las Vegas Tribune published that article, Deputy Sheriff Kevin McMahill defended Beck’s action and denied that it was an execution, proving my words to be true. Immediately and with evident vehemence, McMahill defends Beck and asserts that “this was not an execution.”
Undoubtedly with full support of Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and sheriff-elect Joseph Lombardo, this brute-force incident has been deemed the only recourse open to “peace officers” present at the Rio Casino to make an arrest of the late Anthony Moore.
There were and are other options to this brute-force approach to making arrests or subduing suspects who might or might not cooperate. Krav Maga is one of those options.
Krav Maga is a system of techniques developed and used since 1942 in then-Palestine and later by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli police. Its history goes back to a special-forces master of renown, British Royal Marine and Assistant Commissioner William E. Fairbairn, who developed lethal hand-to-hand self-defense techniques from 1907 to 1940.
Fairborn’s techniques did not require lengthy training or mastery of martial arts fighting techniques used in Asia for centuries. His methods were taught, with lethal effectiveness, in a matter of hours or days to persons from ordinary walks of life. Those techniques made warriors out of ordinary men and sometimes women without the requirement that these folks first get into top physical condition. While Palestine was under British rule and European Jews were emigrating there during the 1930s and 1940s, these methods of fighting attracted great interest among those determined to defend their new stakes in the Holy Land from hostile neighbors. After all, they had very little access to hard weapons.
During these last two decades, Krav Maga has spread internationally. The officer in the casino video demonstrates some knowledge of Krav Maga, or a defense technique similar to KM. By approaching the victim from behind, he takes a position in the only safe spot; Moore would not have been able to kick or strike Beck.
In his movements, Beck shows that he knew exactly how to approach Moore safely. Of numerous possible places at which to position himself, Beck knew where not to go. The fact that he had his gun drawn and at the ready from the initial approach from at least 20 feet away, Beck also shows that he was not prepared to engage in a struggle, or to use defensive fighting tactics to subdue Moore. With his weapon in his hand Beck was not in any position to engage in a struggle or handcuff Moore.
This indicates he might have intended to shoot and kill Moore by the time he made his approach, and this seems to be the case. For those interested in knowing how to disarm a potential threat, including one involving a gun pointed at you, you can go to this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=cmQk3DnTcSs. Additional information about Krav Maga training of Canadian forces can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=cmQk3DnTcSs.
Please keep in mind that I do not recommend anyone attempt these techniques without professional training. For good reason, law enforcement agencies recommend that a potential victim cooperate with attackers or those who threaten harm. Only use techniques that you are comfortable with and have confidence in.
But do be prepared. And this is the essence of the matter: police complain on a daily basis that they are under threat of violence or harm on a regular basis. They know in advance of the dangers of their positions and are trained to deal with threats. To protect lives of officers, there is no holding back.
Krav Maga training is designed specifically to alleviate threats and elements of surprise. Its premise is to “expect the unexpected.” Threats are known to come in three potential forms: physical struggle, a knife threat, or a weapon that fires a projectile, otherwise known as a gun. Krav Maga prepares an officer or a trained civilian to deal with each of these threats. An ordinary man with a knife is not a serious threat to a well-trained police officer schooled in Krav Maga.
Such an officer will approach a knife-wielding perpetrator with confidence, subdue and disarm the person with rapid movements, or inflict serious bodily harm if necessary, such as a broken hand or arm, a dislocated shoulder, or other disabling injury that makes it impossible for the potential attacker to harm the officer.
Because this training has been available to law enforcement officers for at least two decades, the common complaint that officers feel threatened and must use brute deadly force as often as they do is inexcusable. Yet, it is the most common non-apology applied: “I felt threatened.” This was the excuse used by Officer Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, and accepted by the grand jury there despite obvious misrepresentations of fact in his story. Wilson obviously lied.
As the primary prosecutor in that case, the district attorney actively misled the grand jury by allowing glaring contradictions to go unquestioned in those proceedings. The district attorney blinded the grand jurors by omitting important facts that would have had to have been considered in order to make a fair and just evaluation of Wilson’s story. He failed to bring into focus certain facts about the motion momentum of a large human body once struck by bullets, for example.
In each of the officer-involved shootings in Clark County this year, the same logic has been used to justify actions of officers: I or we felt a threat to personal safety. In June 2014, in Henderson, there was the case of two officers shooting to death a man stopped for questioning while riding a bicycle in the vicinity of Horizon Drive and Boulder Highway. In that case, no mention has been made as to the level of self-defense training received by officers prior to that event.
Had there been no training whatsoever in techniques similar to Krav Maga, if not Krav Maga, by Henderson police up to the time of that incident? What self-defense training had those officers received? If police in all jurisdictions of Clark County have been mutually concerned with threats to personal safety, why have these well-known techniques of self-defense not been shared with law enforcement officers most likely to encounter threats to personal safety?
Agents of the Justice Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have training in Krav Maga. The FBI is less often at the front lines of intensive threats from violent criminals than officers on the streets of cities like Las Vegas. So why hasn’t this training been shared with local officers as a matter of routine? Or has it? The answer seems to be that this county has had a long history of injustice and corruption that precludes an honest approach to these issues of personal safety of officers and agents of the government.
Rather than take measures to protect officers through training in techniques known to be most effective, such as Krav Maga, the historic mindset in Clark County has been gun-centered: shoot first and create a cover story after the fact. This has been made possible by the corrupt Clark County Coroner’s office and a corrupt Clark County district attorney’s office for decades. Alternative views and approaches to officer safety are not necessary because the outcome of the previous fifty “investigations” into officer-involved shootings or killings has been a foregone conclusion: the officer was “justified” no matter what ensued. In a macabre sense, the most “reliable” persons in Clark County are the coroner and the district attorney. In every case, history proves, they can be relied upon to justify deadly force of an officer in any circumstance.
Now think of the irony of a changed story by persons of interest in criminal investigations and how a story, once changed, leads officers and prosecutors to make an arrest and get a conviction in trial. Initially, as reported by the Review-Journal, LVMPD officers in the Rio Casino were “engaged in a struggle with Moore” before he was tazed. The RJ reported that he was tazed only after a struggle, but the surveillance video released by the LVMPD shows a completely different truth: Moore was tazed from a distance by an approaching officer who was obviously prepared to do exactly that: he had his tazer ready. It was also reported that, according to the initial story by LVMPD, Moore “reached into his waistband.” The video shows otherwise. After being subdued somewhat by the electric shock, Moore attempted to reach into his bag.
His hands were nowhere near his waistband. But the waistband line is the same one used by Officer Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Was this a coincidence? After releasing that Rio Casino surveillance video, the LVMPD had to change its story. It then makes the claim that Moore had taken a gun out of his bag and fired a round, injuring his own thumb before being shot by Officer Beck. If that were the case known immediately after the fact of Moore’s death, known to not one or two LVMPD officers on the scene but three, why was there a completely different story told while a black curtain was hiding the death scene in the Rio? Three first-person eyewitnesses got it wrong immediately after events.
This is the same cause of doubt that often leads investigators and prosecutors to conclude that those who change a story are not reliable as witnesses or perhaps even guilty of the crime.
This is what lies behind the black curtains put up by LVMPD and other government agencies in Clark County: death followed by deception, or deception preceding death. It is a symbolic yet quite real death of justice that is systemic here. Truth is obscured by a banal, “He said, but he or she also said the opposite…” routine.
The cops say, “I feared for my life.” Witnesses say, “He was on the ground and not a threat to anyone.” Everyone is expected to choose between these two options, and only these two options without questioning whether a third or fourth option was available… perhaps an option of devastating, potentially lethal self-defense techniques such as Krav Maga, used by law enforcement and combat troops throughout the world.
One side effect of television programs about unlawful homicide and other crimes is that we have come to accept conflicting versions of what is possible in real life. We are no longer able, as a mass-consuming audience of conflicting versions of a story, to discern what is true from what is false. We have become too readily duped into believing what cannot be true as if it can be true. Too many of us, ordinary people that make up our communities, have been placed on the wrong side of those black curtains for so long that we’ve lost, it seems, the desire to discern or to know truth from fiction.
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