Detectives noticing the fleeing suspect running away shot the unarmed fleeing suspect several times in the back, killing him. Information about the Officer Involved Shooting was submitted to the Coroner’s Inquest which yielded a verdict of justifiable homicide by the officers.
As was recently learned, in 2013, and told by some of the actual participants and witnesses at the scene, the actual crime scene was manipulated, evidence was removed, and the crime scene photographs were altered to cover up the fact that a handgun and briefcase were removed from the center console of the undercover plain police vehicle that Swave Lopez was originally placed in. In other words, the crime scene was changed to make it look better for the cops and avoid a “set up” scenario. The Coroner’s Inquest was not told of this crime scene manipulation and omission.
When examining this incident further, it should be noted that from the very start, Swave Lopez was deliberately demonized, tried and convicted in the media, even before the Coroner’s Inquest was convened. Such is the police culture in this community — whatever it takes, legal or illegal — to make sure the outcome is in favor of law enforcement. Over the years, especially when the true evidence emerges about questionable police shootings, the credibility of our police force is reduced to zero, along with the trust level, so that no matter how righteous the police shootings are, nobody believes what is being told by the police.
In comparison, what would be worse: shooting and killing a handcuffed prisoner in the back as he is running away inside a fenced-in parking lot, or shooting a robbery suspect that is advancing toward you in an aggressive manner, in the front. The number of shots is immaterial, as the purpose of shooting multiple times is to stop aggressive action, and sometimes it takes more than one shot to achieve that goal, as evidenced by the freeway shooting by LVMPD, with the infamous .223 cal assault rifle, hitting the suspect 22 times, and he still survived his wounds.
So now we have a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., whereby the police department, which was rather slow in presenting the facts of the case to the public in a timely fashion, and thus the news media, hell bent on sensationalism, takes up the task and begins vomiting out their take on the shooting, without substantiating anything that is being said, and is essentially holding court in the street, as to what
really happened, jacking everyone up in the meantime.
The Ferguson Police Department, along with the State Police and the Feds, are now attempting to play catch-up after the protests, riots, looting and civil unrest have already taken place by a certain number of local and outside agitators, fueled further by the racial implications of the white officer and black suspect/victim and the political activists that want to use this as a political vehicle to further their own political agenda.
Without waiting for the entire set of facts and circumstances to emerge in legal court, pieces of forensic evidence are now being methodically leaked out to further infuriate the already racially charged public to commit further acts of civil unrest.
The subject of state militarized police is being thrown around, and the foundation for the use of lethal force by the State Police and National Guard against any/all protesters may be authorized, and the further shredding of our First Amendment rights is being initiated.
“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
When you take the word “trust” out of the equation in any relationship, that relationship is permanantely damaged and can never be repaired. The only way any organization can regain and rebuild once lost honor, credibility, or integrity is for a complete purge of any and all corruption from that organization. The cancerous trash must be totally cut out and purged if we are to have any hope for a better community.
In God we trust.
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Gordon Martines is a former LVMPD detective who has served in many capacities over his 39-year career in law enforcement. He has been a candidate for sheriff in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, with the intention of bringing integrity and accountability back to the department, and filed a federal lawsuit against LVMPD in 2011. Martines now contributes his opinions and ideas to the Las Vegas Tribune to keep the public informed and help improve policing in Las Vegas. He has also appeared on the Face the Tribune radio program several times to share his plan for a better LVMPD.