Since 1990, Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police Department (Metro) officers have shot 379 civilians, killing 143, a rate far exceeding that of many larger cities. In 2011, Metro cops killed 12 victims, setting an all-time record. These shootings were analyzed in a recent five-part series written by the Las Vegas Review-Journal ( http://www.lvrj.com/news/deadly-force/always-justified/analysis-many-las-vegas-police-shootings-could-have-been-avoided-134253648.html ).
A shocking number of Metro’s officer-involved shootings (OISs) were covered up to protect a cartel comprising Las Vegas Metro (headed by the Clark County Sheriff), aided and abetted by the District Attorney, Coroner and Public Administrator offices.
One of those 143 Metro shooting fatalities was Erik B. Scott, a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A decorated former Army officer, who also had earned an MBA from Duke University, Erik was a successful cardiac-pacemaker sales representative for a major medical company.
Because his profession required entering rough areas of Las Vegas at all hours of the day and night, Erik held a concealed-weapon permit issued by Metro, and legally carried a firearm for self-protection. He had that pistol inside his jeans’ waistband, under a T-shirt, while shopping at a Costco warehouse store on July 10, 2010. By chance, a Costco employee saw the weapon, panicked and called the police. As Erik and his girlfriend calmly walked from the store, Metro Officer William Mosher confronted Erik, shouted three conflicting commands, and fired twice — all within two seconds. Two other officers then opened up, firing another five rounds into the victim’s back, after Erik was on the ground, dying.
The Metro cover-up machine immediately claimed Erik had “pulled his gun,” prompting Mosher to fire. Not true. Erik was killed, because he had a BlackBerry smartphone in his hand, and Mosher mistook it for a gun. Although he had only been on the Metro force five years, Officer Mosher had now shot and killed two people.
Metro officers and detectives intentionally:
• Removed the pistol, still in its holster, from Erik’s body and placed it on the ground, near the BlackBerry, before Homicide investigators arrived.
• Immediately whisked Erik’s body from the scene.
• Illegally broke into Erik’s condominium and stole two other pistols. One was later exhibited as a so-called “second gun” ostensibly found on Erik’s body. Evidence proves this was not true http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpLncaMckoI .
• Did not seize Costco’s security/surveillance digital video recorder, even though it was critical evidence of a homicide. Unexplainably, the DVR was left solely in Costco’s control for five days, following Erik’s shooting. Costco personnel admitted, under oath, that they and a contractor “tried to recover data” from the DVR. Metro later claimed only 4% of video data were “unrecoverable.” Fully 96% of data on the disk were recovered; only the section that held data proving Erik did not touch his firearm was physically damaged.
Although the facts of Metro officer-involved shootings often do not support claims made by Las Vegas cops, not a single officer has been found at fault in more than 35 years.
We respectfully ask Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to launch an in-depth investigation into the mistakes and cover-ups associated with the shooting deaths of Erik B. Scott and many other Metro victims, focusing on illegal collusion and racketeering among local-government agencies for the sole purpose of protecting guilty police officers and their superiors.
Tell U.S. Attorney General to Investigate West Point Grad’s Shooting by Las Vegas Cops
Subject: Federal Investigation of West Point Grad’s Shooting by Las Vegas Cops
Dear Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez:
I have signed a petition requesting a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan (Metro) Police Department’s decades-long history of officer-involved shootings (OIS) and subsequent cover-ups. One of the more-egregious was the killing of West Point graduate and former Army officer Erik B. Scott, who was shot seven times by three Metro officers, when one mistook Erik’s BlackBerry cell phone for a firearm.
A superb Las Vegas Review-Journal five-part series analyzed Metro’s 378 officer-involved shootings since 1990, 142 of which were fatal, and concluded that these numbers are excessive by any standard (http://www.lvrj.com/news/deadly-force/always-justified/investigation-of-officer-involved-shootings-focuses-on-southern-nevada-law-enforcement-134253648.html). Days after this series was published, Metro officers shot and killed yet another military veteran under highly suspicious circumstances, setting a new record for OIS fatalities — 12 in one year.
Metro’s fatal-OIS record is exacerbated by a methodology of collusion and cover-up involving Metro, the Clark County (Nevada) District Attorney, Coroner, Public Administrator and police union to guarantee guilty police officers are never held accountable for their shootings. Even Metro Sheriff Douglas Gillespie recently admitted publicly that his department has an extraordinary number of officer-involved shootings, and agrees that a federal investigation is in order.
Erik B. Scott’s shooting awakened the Las Vegas community to an embarrassing fact: Citizens do not trust local government agencies to reign-in their out-of-control police department. Only through an in-depth federal investigation and honest report of the Erik Scott shooting — and the subsequent cover-up — will a seriously flawed Metro culture be exposed fully and, ultimately, corrected via federal consent decree.
You, sir, and your colleagues have successfully uncovered contemptible shootings and cover-ups by police in New Orleans and other major U.S. cities. I know Las Vegas is a unique challenge, given the political and financial clout of Metro supporters, but your intervention is essential to rebuild a professional Las Vegas police force that is worthy of regaining the community’s trust.