OUR DEMANDS: Survivors of police violence and police homicide issue demands for Nevada
OUR DEMANDS: Survivors of police violence and police homicide issue demands for Nevada
Survivors of police violence and police homicide issue demands in Nevada
In response to the sustained interest in police violence prompted by the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd of Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, the last several weeks Families United 4 Justice - Las Vegas, a coalition of families impacted by police homicide and police brutality survivors, have organized to identify a collective list of demands for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), Nevada police, and local, state, and federal governments. The demands include the immediate resignation of District Attorney Steve Wolfson for his failure to adequately investigate and prosecute officers who violate human and civil rights, the demilitarization of the LVMPD, and the abolishment of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the local police union that obstructs police transparency and accountability during police homicide investigations. The demands also call for the creation of a version of the Victims of Crime program for police homicide victims and police brutality survivors as those directly impacted often do not qualify for Victims of Crime or are not made aware of the program causing them to miss the application deadline.
The 40 demands were authored by 16 families impacted by police homicide, two family members of police brutality survivors, and three police brutality survivors, including the families of LVMPD police homicide victims Leopoldo Tijernia, killed on May 5, 2005, Joseph Justin killed on August 22, 2007, Rafael Olivas killed on July 14, 2011, Sharmel Edwards, killed on April 21, 2012, Thomas McEniry, killed on November 24, 2015, Keith Childress, Jr., killed on December 31, 2015, Rex Wilson, killed on October 13, 2016, Tashii Brown, killed on May 14, 2017, Junior Lopez, killed on April 6, 2018, Nicholas Farah, killed on March 31, 2019, Byron Williams, killed on September 5, 2019, Jorge Gomez, killed on June 1, 2020, the family of James Neske who was killed during an altercation with another civilian inside Clark County Detention Center on July 15, 2019, the family of Nathan Benson who was shot by LVMPD on April 29, 2013, and to this day still hasn’t healed from the bullet wound due to the inadequate medical care at Clark County Detention Center, and who remains in solitary confinement despite never being charged for a crime while suffering from mental illness, the family of Lawrence Dale Evans who was shot by a corrections officer inside High Desert Prison and has been wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 30 years, Clark County resident Tonya Brown, mother of Tyree Davis who was killed by Chicago police on January 4, 2020, Clark County resident Nasha Myart, aunt of Stephon Clark who was killed by Sacramento police on March 18, 2018, Milu Gonzalez, sister of Cesar Gonzalez, killed by police in Baker, CA, September 13, 2007, and LVMPD police brutality survivors, Cristina Paulos, Jesus Carvajal and Terry Rogaczewski.
The demands are:
1. Mandate independent investigations in all police related killings in Nevada; reopen cases in the last 30 years and all current cases moving forward.
2. Return the victim's belongings to the family after the case is closed.
3. Issue an independent liaison/advocate to impacted people to help navigate the criminal legal system and address their needs.
4. Eliminate qualified immunity in the state of Nevada.
5. Overturn U.S. Supreme Court cases Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor that justifies lethal force based on officers' “belief” that their lives or others' lives are in danger.
6. The immediate resignation of Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and an investigation into the Clark County District Attorney’s office for prosecutorial misconduct, holding Wolfson criminally liable if misconduct is discovered.
7. Abolish police unions, including the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.
8. Removal of the restraint chair utilized in Clark County Detention Center that has been used to brutalize civilians including Nicholas Farah who died while being restrained in the chair.
9. Repeal the Nevada Peace Officer Bill of Rights.
10. Mandate periodic drug/alcohol testing and mental health evaluation for all police officers.
11. Mandate drug/alcohol testing immediately after use-of-force incidents for all police officers involved.
12. Create legislation surrounding body worn cameras, including: requiring all police officers regardless of seniority or ranking to wear them, requiring officers to leave their body worn cameras on while apprehending civilians including after civilian is officially in-custody, not allowing police to redact or edit footage and making the footage available immediately after the incident at no cost to the public.
13. Release names and photographs of all officers involved in police homicides in the last 30 years and moving forward.
14. Mandate community control over Nevada police department budgets.
15. Create a Victim's of Police Homicide Compensation program to address the immediate needs of impacted people including protection from police intimidation, funeral costs, monetary compensation for job loss, access to medical and mental healthcare.
16. Redirect and restructure first response dispatch to reduce emergency response handled by police.
17. Release official reports, including the autopsy report, police reports, and crime scene investigation reports to survivors and/or impacted families within 45 days of the incident.
18. Create legislation that mandates police officers to exhaust all possible ways of intervention, including de-escalation tactics before moving to utilize force, and attach accountability measures if protocol is not followed.
19. Require police to have individual insurance so that police officers are held accountable individually when they violate civil and human rights.
20. Remove the ability to receive administrative paid leave for officers involved in police homicide.
21. Create a liaison who can advocate for the tribal community and foster communication between all governing bodies.
22. Remove the ability for police officers guilty of excessive-use-of-force to take plea bargains.
23. Immediate resignation of Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.
24. Immediate termination of officers when they act in an unprofessional manner caught on body worn cameras.
25. Restructure the civilian review board so that it is effective and representative of the community.
26. Create a local, state, and national database displaying all police misconduct.
27. Mandate a special prosecutor for all police related killings.
28. Restructure police training entirely; eliminate the “shoot to kill” mentality, require recruits to have a four-year college degree in the social sciences, raise recruitment age to 25, and include effective crisis intervention training, cultural competency training, and extend the academy training period while allowing for the community to have a say in police training.
29. Create departmental protocol for reporting in-custody deaths within 72 hours.
30. Create protocols that preserve human life above detaining an injured person or a person with mental health issues and include accountability measures if not followed.
31. Create legislation that holds police officers accountable for: tampering with the crime scene after they have killed someone, lying under oath, fabricating and/or withholding evidence.
32. Demilitarize the LVMPD, all Nevada police departments, all police departments nationwide and reallocate funds to reinvest in the Black community, communities of Color, working class communities, education and mental health supports.
33. Make accessible and public police radio channels.
34. Expunge the arrest and criminal records of those proven to be wrongfully accused so that their arrest record does not further criminalize them.
35. Restructure police homicide and in-custody death press conferences, requiring that they are independently run, and end the review of the arrest records of victims, reviewing only facts that pertain to the incident.
36. Restructure the Public Fact Finding Review Process so that it is not merely demonstrative but functional in that a pathway is created for the directly impacted and witnesses to ask questions and make statements.
37. Remove the ability for elected officials to endorse police unions.
38. The immediate resignation of Captain Nichole Splinter of LVMPD's Internal Oversight and Constitutional Policing, as she was involved in the police homicide of Joseph Justin on August 22, 2007, where the police narrative was contested by witnesses, and what was found at the crime scene (Update: Splinter has since retired October 1, 2020).
39. Formalize Clark County Coroner's Office notification process to: notify at least two of the following immediate family members including, 1) spouse, 2) parents, 3) children of 18 years of age or older, 4) sibling, and to allow the family to identify the physical body.
40. Mandate state-funded independent autopsies to be conducted alongside coroner's office autopsies; hold coroner criminally liable if misconduct is found.
Maria Tijernia, sister of Leopoldo Tijernia, killed by LVMPD on May 5, 2005
Ariah Justin, daughter of Joseph Justin killed by LVMPD on August 22, 2007
Alma Chavez, mother of Rafael Olivas killed by LVMPD on July 14, 2011
Madison Keller, daughter of Sharmel Edwards, killed by LVMPD on April 21, 2012
Carol Luke, mother of Thomas McEniry, killed by LVMPD on November 24, 2015
Jacqueline Lawnrence, mother of Keith Childress, Jr., killed by LVMPD on December 31, 2015
Petra Wilson, widow of Rex Wilson, killed by LVMPD on October 13, 2016
Mario Wilson, son of Rex Wilson, killed by LVMPD on October 13, 2016
Trinita Farmer, mother of Tashii Brown, killed by LVMPD on May 14, 2017
Amber Bustillos, fiancee of Junior Lopez, killed by LVMPD on April 6, 2018
Eric Farah, brother of Nicholas Farah, killed by LVMPD on March 31, 2019
Teena Acree, niece of Byron Williams, killed by LVMPD on September 5, 2019
Marcia Wells, niece of Byron Williams, killed by LVMPD on September 5, 2019
Jeanne Llera, mother of Jorge Gomez, killed by LVMPD on June 1, 2020
Kimberly Neske, mother of James Neske, killed on July 15, 2019 inside CCDC
Laurie Benson, mother of police shooting victim Nathan Benson, shot by LVMPD on April 29, 2013
Daniel Lock, son of police shooting victim Lawrence Dale Evans, shot inside High Desert Prison
Tonya Brown, mother of Tyree Davis who was killed by Chicago police on January 4, 2020
Nasha Myart, aunt of Stephon Clark who was killed by Sacramento police on March 18, 2018
Milu Gonzalez, sister of Cesar Gonzalez, killed by police in Baker, CA, September 13, 2007
Cristina Paulos, police brutality survivor
Jesus Carvajal, police brutality survivor
Terry Rogaczewski, police brutality survivor
Families United 4 Justice - Las Vegas
Forced Trajectory Project
Mass Liberation Project
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada