Investigation by State of Nevada AG into the Death of Justin Thompson in the Washoe Jail

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It is with a heavy heart that I write you today to request a full state investigation into the death of 35-year-old Justin Thomson while in custody in Washoe County Jail last year. For more than 30 minutes, more than a dozen deputies take turns kicking, tasering, insulting and crushing the wind from Thomson’s lungs even after he told them several times he could not breathe due to the mask over his head. These officers representing all Nevadans, with full knowledge that their actions were being videotaped tortured a man to death.

 I do not trust those involved to investigate themselves and to be charged by a Washoe County DA who must work with local police every day and fears retribution by them. While it is a very difficult job to maintain order and discipline in a jail, the video hidden by Washoe County, recently released by court order is chilling to the bone. I do not understand how any sane person viewing this horror would come to any other opinion that is wrong. It is my understanding that this is the place where new recruits to our local sheriff and police department are trained and evaluated. Not only is their torturing this man to death alone a horrible stain on our entire state, these officers are going to most likely to be given a gun and a badge and with the full power of the state behind them are going to be let loose on the public. 

Sir, this is not a “lone” bad apple when a dozen staff are involved, they must have thought it was acceptable, that the video would not see the light of day, that no one would doubt their actions and their methods, well sir, I have watched this in horror and I am sickened by it to my very core.

In a time when respect for Law Enforcement and Government seems to be pretty low, this only adds fuel to the fire, this stain tarnishing all those brave and decent men and women that put on a badge and try to do the right thing every single day. We need to demand better and clean house of those who abuse this sacred authority.

The only bleach that can begin to clear this blood-soaked stain is daylight, a full and fair investigation, of the officers involved, their supervisors, their training methods, their screening methods and if the fact I have seen prove true, the vigorous prosecution by a fully funded and resolute State Attorney General.

I hope you have success in proving to us and the world that Nevada is not a depraved lawless state. I pray that Nevada is a state of law and order, for those who break the law, no matter if they are visitors, citizens or those we entrust with the sacred duty to enforce our laws.

Respectfully,



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