Meet the cops, go home in a box

It’s been two weeks since three Las Vegas Metro cops shot and killed 38-year-old West Point graduate Erik Scott as he exited a Costco store in the upscale suburb of Summerlin on July 10.

So far, the incident has generated more questions than answers.

If officials lock up the evidence so you can’t get the answers, print the questions.

Erik Scott had a permit; he could legally carry a firearm either open OR concealed.

Any Nevadan can carry a gun openly on the hip, no permit required. It’s a right. Mr. Scott was under no obligation to demonstrate a “need” to carry his firearms to the store (as some letter-writers have suggested), any more than you must demonstrate a “need” to go to church more than once a week, if you so choose. 9-1-1 operators called because a Nevadan is carrying a gun in a holster should respond the same way as if someone calls in a free-roaming coyote: “Just moved here recently, have we? This is an open carry state, dear; get used to it.”

Nor do I agree with those who would say, if police a shot up a luncheon meeting of the Jaycees or the Rotary Club, that “Cops are getting edgy in this town; people are just going to have to be more cautious about how they exercise their right to assemble.”

Apparently Mr. Scott, who was shopping with his girlfriend, broke the plastic wrap on a carton of bottled water so he could check to see if the bottles would fit in his backpack. He shouldn’t have done that. But is it a capital crime?

If I go to Costco with a perfectly legal gun in a holster, either concealed or open, even though I never present my weapon or threaten anyone with it, will employees there call the police, report a “crazy man with a gun,” and have me killed?

Talk about “customer relations”! How many front-door ambushes (complete with fake bomb scares to beat the game under the hunters’ guns) do you have to set up to win “employee of the month”?

Will the 9-1-1 operator closely question such a caller, asking, “Wait a minute, this is important: Do you mean there’s a man who’s behaving oddly and he’s brandishing a firearm, threatening people with a firearm? Or do you mean there’s a man who’s behaving oddly, and you’ve noticed he’s carrying a handgun in a holster, which is perfectly legal? This is a real important distinction for me to be able to explain to the officers we’re sending”?

I hope the 9-1-1 operator in the Erik Scott bottled-water killing asked that question; they ought to be trained to ask that question. The Review-Journal has tried to get the recordings of the 9-1-1 calls to find out, but the G-men won’t release them.

I also can’t find the part of the state or U.S. Constitution that says “You can be killed at any time for failing to obey a policeman’s order,” even though letter-writers keep telling me it’s in there.

Will only one officer give me orders? Or will all three shout conflicting orders in order to confuse me, especially if I was recently in a traffic accident and my doctor has me on painkillers that already make me a little fuzzy, as was reportedly the case with Erik Scott?

Will they have their guns out and leveled at me, at that point? If I point a firearm at someone it’s considered to be a crime, called “assault.” If I shoot a police officer simply because he puts his hand on the butt of his sidearm while it’s still in the holster, I’ll go to prison (at best.) How come cops don’t go to prison if they shoot someone simply for touching a gun? I suppose people will say, “You’re not in danger if a policeman puts his hand on his gun, because they don’t go around shooting people.”

Good one.

How many this year, Sheriff Gillespie? Trevor Cole, unarmed, got shot in the head with a combat rifle while kneeling on his bathroom floor with his hands up. The charge? Selling an ounce or two of pot.

Why not arrest him on the street? Why put his nine-month-pregnant girlfriend at risk? Did some sloppy police work allow the author of the warrant to claim Cole had a violent criminal record, when he really didn’t? Was that work done by an officer who’d already shot and killed other suspects, and told stories that didn’t match the physical evidence?

How about if we count people like Ivan Carrillo, an apparent drunk driver killed when his car was rammed by a Metro police cruiser on May 20? Isn’t that a lethal use of force? How come there’s been no coroner’s inquest in that death?

If the police tell me to put my gun down on the ground, and I reach down to remove my holster from my belt or waistband so I can follow that order, will they shoot and kill me for following that order, later explaining they had to shoot me because I didn’t follow one of their other, simultaneous orders — to put my hands up, to lie down, to do any number of things that can’t all be done at once?We don’t know whether that’s what happened outside the Costco on July 10, because Metro hasn’t released the Costco video disc. Some of it may be shown to a coroner’s jury on Sept. 3, the first day of the long Labor Day holiday weekend, in a little courtroom downtown holding about 46 people.

Maybe. If it isn’t “lost or damaged.”

Oh, was that gratuitous? I don’t think so. After Officer George Pease killed Henry Rowe by slashing his throat, Metro said tests of both men’s clothing would reveal whether Rowe grabbed the officer’s gun and shot at him in the dark, like officer Pease said. But when they got to the coroner’s inquest, Metro said it hadn’t bothered to have those tests performed, since they would have been “costly and inconclusive.”

Yeah. Good one. And don’t even get me started on the “justifiable” killings by Southwest 11’s “Baby’s Daddy Removal Team,” which always seem to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece when they finally, quietly settle the civil suits. Can I at least have one of the T-shirts? Has Officer Bryan Yant, who most recently notched his gun with Trevor Cole, been issued his?

If I show up for that Sept. 3 inquest, will I find my entrance blocked by two armed bailiffs, maybe even shaved-heads K.P. Ross and Sgt. R. Wright, who will rest their hands on the butts of their Glock .40s and tell me “It’s not open to the public,” the way they did when I tried to attend the Henry Prendes inquest, in March of 2006?

Why do they not let us in the room, even after we’ve let them disarm us? Why does the hearing master then state for the record that any member of the public is free to come forward with any new evidence — when they know darn well the bailiffs are turning the public away, telling them “It’s not open to the public,” even when there are empty seats?

Do they think we’re going to shoot them during the inquest? Isn’t that a bit paranoid? Why don’t they just hold the inquest in a big, 500-seat auditorium or theater, somewhere, and let anyone in?

What are they afraid of, with their carefully arranged dog-and-pony show, presenting only the evidence selected by the government, with no cross examination, and then instructing jurors so they later say they felt they had no choice but a finding of “justifiable,” even if they believe the officer in question should never be allowed back on the street, as was the case when Bruce Gentner emptied his pistol magazine at John Perrin, armed only with a basketball?

Will it ever be time to tell Metro’s cowboys to go join some other rodeo?

24 Comments to “Meet the cops, go home in a box”

  1. Franklin Marks Says:

    You keep at Vin! You tell ’em like it IS.

  2. J.E. Andreasen Says:

    The problem with you, Vin, is that you have been a real journalist; rather than a government press release re-write drone, all your adult life.

    You know how to think critically and how to convey important things to others. That is bad.

    To make maters worse, you’ve been in Vegas long enough to really know the players and their history far better than most.

    Get with the program, Vin. Hucksterism and moral blindness is a far smoother path.

    And, umm…buy your sports drinks over at Sam’s Club, for the time being.

  3. Jake Witmer Says:

    “He has sent hither, swarms of officers to harrass us and eat out our substance.” —Yet no rebellion. ‘Bye ‘bye, America!

    Trey Cole …Murdered for smoking something less harmful than a few shots of Jack Daniels. Sickening. Stalin or Hitler would be proud of these stormtroopers.

    See: http://www.fija.org –Every monday morning, be at the courthouse. Instruct jurors about voir dire. Make it happen. It’s the only peaceful way, and you won’t get another chance.

  4. Rob Says:

    Seems like the Las Vegas PD Metro “Cowboys” are out of control. And, as long as the cowards on the coroner’s inquest team keep rubber stamping their actions, this kind of behavior will continue. As you have noted, the public being kept out of the ensuing inquest perpetuates the “us against them” bunker mentality cops are so famous for. Sadly, this will not change until the public summons the courage to stand up to those in charge and says “enough is enough!”

  5. Eric Says:

    People have actually written in saying” a person has to have a need to bear arms”, I dont live in Nevada and I know better than that!!! Thats as unbeleivable as the shooting.Las Vegas soldiers, I mean mercs , I mean police officers are just out of hand .I visit there 2 times a year and EVERYTIME there is what appears to be a un-justifiable shooting by the LVPD.Theses trigger happy cowboy idiots should be made an example of. Maybe even punish them( loss of job pension,or Jail!!) Its radical I know but weve been punishing bad guys for a while now so take away their “shields”and send them to jail for a while. I know thats a good one right!!! Vegas is becoming dangerous for innocent people…and the police are trained to shoot first ask later.How is tourism ever gonna come back when the police shoot anyone they want? ….

  6. Mark Anthem Says:

    Vin, you’re a welcome voice of libertarian reason in this slaughterhouse of left authoritarian and right authoritarian predators. If the people of China can prosper under their terrible leaders and oppression then so can we.
    Keep fighting and speaking truth to power as long as you can, we’re listening.
    They can patrol and control the sky, streets, and airwaves, but they’ll never break our pioneer spirits.

  7. James Miller Says:

    I’m disabled. I typically I use a cane when I walk. When I go into a store sometimes I’ll leave my cane in the car and use a shopping cart instead to assist me. Suppose I leave the cart in the store and I’m confronted by a cop as I leave? Will I be shot if I don’t drop to the ground? After four back surgeries and without the assistance of my cane I could very probably re-injure my back dropping to the ground. Would the cops listen if asked them to stop shouting? Would they be able to hear me if in an even voice I told them I’m disabled over their own shouting voices? Would they even care because they knew the whitewash was coming.

    Is it now a capital crime to be disabled? It was in Nazi Germany. They were executing the mentally and physically disabled before they began executing Jews.

    What about the couple with the ice-cream trucks where the wife was shot by 12 police officers. You mean to tell me 12 burly cops can’t disarm one middle aged woman with a steak knife, give me a break. Instead they use deadly force and shoot her, what 25 times, right in front of her kids, who were waiting in her truck. I understand her husband quietly received a multi-million dollar out of court settlement from the city. Pay off the poor man and keep ,their culpability quite.

    I would just love to see all of these multiple shootings, excuse me, killings splashed all over the national news.

  8. C. Cope Says:

    Some day … your books will play out.

  9. Bill Scott Says:

    Vin, you have a personal invitation to join my family and me at the inquest hearing ref. the death of my son, Erik Scott — if and when that hearing’s ever rescheduled. If the burly bailiffs guarding the door deny your entry, please suggest they go get me, and I’ll escort you inside. I’d be honored if you sit with us.

    Many, many thanks for your excellent commentary. As the leaks from Metro continue, all attempting to disparage Erik’s character, the citizens of Las Vegas are depending on you and your media colleagues to discount the spin and present the truth. Soon, I will be joining the dialogue with regular postings of facts and insights at http://www.erikbscott.com

  10. Priya Larson Says:

    Costco needs to put in a new policy that serves it customers and their individual rights, and fire all the managers at this location.

    This sheriff is not doing a good job, he needs to be replaced ASAP.

    President Ronald Reagan in his address to the National Sheriffs’ Association on June 21, 1984. said, “Thank you for standing up for this nation’s dream of personal freedom under the rule of law. Thank you for standing against those who would transform that dream into a nightmare of wrongdoing and lawlessness. And thank you for your service to your communities, to your country, and to the cause of law and justice

    Tu ne cede malis (do not give in to evil)

  11. v Says:

    Costco needs to be boycotted until their crappy no guns policy ends!

  12. Police shootings raise questions - Northwest Firearms Community Says:

    […] […]

  13. Nate Says:

    Wow Vin your such a jackass! If you can do better please stand behind that badge! My guess is you don’t have the balls to do it!

  14. tackalan Says:

    Nate, you’re (note correct sp) such a jackass.
    Any idiot can be a cop. It does not take great intelligence, bravery or strength.
    And there are tons of more dangerous jobs out there where the people don’t murder the public (cab drivers, iron workers, etc).

  15. John Cahill Says:

    Circumstances in Trevon Cole and Eric Scott do require review and with the Coroner Inquest and the press question are being asked and getting some answers.

    A couple of points: In most areas there is no such thing as a Nevada Coroner’s Inquest. Police shootings go to a Grand Jury, the officer has full rights protected while the Grand Jury makes it’s decision without the public viewing the process. That will happen here if Officers decide to invoke their rights. Legal scholars can argue what’s a better or more proper procedure for the Officers and the public. But we know we’ll not get detailed info about the actions of the Grand Jury in any case until the GJ session is over and the jury members can speak if they choose to do so.

    You said in your review of the incident (what if) “my doctor has me on painkillers that already make me a little fuzzy”.

    NRS 202.257 makes it unlawful to be in possession of a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance. That would include Rx drugs.

    We can debate the definition of “under the influence” but in my CCW classes students were cautioned about a glass or two of beer or wine at dinner because witnesses will observe he or she “was drinking alcohol” and I cautioned further about the use of even OTC drugs like antihistamines that have side effects such as drowsiness. Students were cautioned about anything that might bring into review a question of fitness or mental acuity if they were to use deadly force in proper self-defense.

    The violation of 202.257 is a misdemeanor but this issue will be a factor in the Eric Scott inquest. I suggest that any person who may be “fuzzy” from using a legal Rx drug would have be wise to leave his or her firearms at home.

  16. ragman Says:

    You have just about as many rights as any Iraqi in Fallujah who meets a patrol of Marines. If what you got is bad luck, you gonna die. And you didn’t even talk about shootings where they have the “Perp” (alleged) in cuffs, face down, and they shoot him in the back of the head. They call it “Involuntary Muscle Contraction”. No one ever goes to jail for that. It’s a defense available only to ‘da Po’leece.

    Thanks for the article. I read it in SGN. It is more right on than you can know, and it will get worse.

  17. Lava Says:

    I always hate those places that say guns not permitted inside. You have the right to keep and bear arms if you don’t leave your home. You have the right to keep and bear arms if the managers of Costco, Family Dollar, (library, school administrator) are agreeable.

  18. Paul Berardi Says:

    Your SGN article on Jersey was right on. I lived there for 37 years before escaping to AZ 23 years ago.

    Two years ago my 20 year old cousin was camping in Pennsylvania and bought a pellet rifle there for plinking during their camping trip and brought it home to NJ.

    He was practicing with it in his yard(safely) when a neighbor saw him and called the police. He was arrested for “illegal possession of a firearm” and convicted of a felony.

    NJ gun laws didn’t prevent the murder of my grandfather, a retired Jersey City Police Lt. The killers bought the guns illegally from a Hoboken cop.

    I was one of the priveldged few to have a CCW in Jersey before I left in 1988. Happiest day of my life was when I left that state.

  19. Paul Berardi Says:

    When I hear people talking about cops I have to ask myself about the kids I knew in High School that became cops……that can be scary!!!

  20. Missy May Says:

    The militarization of the police and our society in my lifetime is astonishing. It’s sad that Erik Scott went from killing in the name of tyranny to dying from tyranny. God bless the hidden heroes that ignore the Gestapo commands and keep us going, wherever you are.

  21. Kyl Says:

    Why would anyone want to become a LEO? Most would tell you, if you asked them, that they want to “serve” their country and protect its citizens from those who would do them harm.

    Not one would ever admit the truth: they want to pull the trigger. They want to experience what it feels like to be able to kill another human being WITHOUT any fear of prosecution. Especially those wonderful drug cops keeping us safe from those lowlife pot smokers.

    Has anyone else been paying attention to the fact that drug cops will kill just about any animal in the home/yard even when securely leashed?

    He or she who wants to “protect and serve” these days is either a sociopath, a psychopath, or both and should NEVER, EVER be trusted with your rights or your safety!

    I wish them all the best of luck on Judgement Day.

  22. James Solbakken Says:

    The pigs get away with their crimes because PEOPLE are stupid. I mean THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Stupid beyond belief. It just takes my breath away to see how profoundly stupid these shitbrains are.
    I hate these pieces of fetid drecky excrement because they see the wickedness, the murders, the thefts, the tyranny and brutality, yet, they make excuses, and even take the side of the criminal pigs against the normal regular people. Do I hate them? You bet. I would not be a Christian if I did NOT hate them.

  23. anarchyst Says:

    Ever notice that police unions are “fraternal”? This should tell you something. The “thin-blue-line” is a gang, little different than street gangs–at least when it comes to “covering-up” their questionable and quite often, illegal and criminal behavior.

    In today’s day and age, “officer safety” trumps de-escalation of force. This, in part, is due to the militarization of the police along with training in Israeli police tactics. This becomes a problem, with the “us vs. them” attitude that is fosters, along with the fact that Israel is a very different place, being on a constant “war footing”, and by necessity, its police tactics are very different.

    There are too many instances of police being “given a pass”, even when incontrovertible video and audio evidence is presented. Grand juries, guided by police-friendly prosecutors, quite often refuse to charge those police officers who abuse their authority.

    Police officers, who want to do the right thing, are quite often marginalized and put into harms way, by their own brethren…When a police officer is beating on someone that is already restrained while yelling, “stop resisting” THAT is but one reason police have a “bad name” in many instances…this makes the “good cops” who are standing around, witnessing their “brethren in blue” beating on a restrained suspect, culpable as well…

    Here are changes that can help reduce police-induced violence:

    1. Get rid of police unions. Police unions (fraternities) protect the guilty, and are responsible for the massive whitewashing of questionable police behavior that is presently being committed.

    2. Eliminate both “absolute” and “qualified” immunity for all public officials. This includes, prosecutors and judges, police and firefighters, code enforcement and child protective services officials, and others who deal with the citizenry. The threat of being sued personally would encourage them to behave themselves. Require police officers to be “bonded” by an insurance company, with their own funds. No bond — no job.

    3. Any public funds disbursed to citizens as a result of police misconduct should come out of police pension funds — NOT from the taxpayers.

    4. Regular drug-testing of police officers as well as incident-based drug testing should take place whenever an officer is involved in a violent situation with a citizen — no exceptions.

    5. Testing for steroid use should be a part of the drug testing program. You know damn well, many police officers “bulk up” with the “help” of steroids. Steroids also affect users mentally as well, making them more aggressive. The potential for abuse of citizens increases greatly with steroid use.

    6. Internal affairs should only be used for disagreements between individual officers — NOT for investigations involving citizen abuse. State-level investigations should be mandatory for all suspected abuses involving citizens.

    7. Prosecutors should be charged with malfeasance IF any evidence implicating police officer misconduct is not presented to the grand jury.

    8. A national or state-by-state database of abusive individuals who should NEVER be allowed to perform police work should be established–a “blacklist” of abusive (former) police officers.

    9. Most people are unaware that police have special “rules” that prohibit them from being questioned for 48 hours. This allows them to “get their stories straight” and makes it easier to “cover up” bad police behavior. Police must be subject to the same laws as civilians.

    10. All police should be required to wear bodycams and utilize dashcams that cannot be turned off. Any police officers who causes a dash or body cam to be turned off should be summarily fired–no excuses. Today’s body and dash cams are reliable enough to withstand harsh treatment. Body and dashcam footage should be uploaded to a public channel “on the cloud” for public perusal.

    11. All interrogations must be video and audio recorded. Police should be prohibited from lying or fabricating stories in order to get suspects to confess. False confessions ARE a problem in many departments. Unknown to most people, police can lie with impunity while civilians can be charged with lying to police…fair? I think not…

    12. Any legislation passed that restricts the rights of ordinary citizens, such as firearms magazine capacity limits, types of weapons allowed, or restrictive concealed-carry laws should apply equally to police. No special exemptions to be given to police. Laws must be equally applied. Police work is not inherently dangerous…there are many other professions that are much more dangerous.

    A little “Andy Taylor” could go a long way in allaying fears that citizens have of police.

    That being said, I have no problem with police officers who do their job in a fair, conscientious manner…however, it is time to call to task those police officers who only “protect and serve” themselves.

  24. anarchyst Says:

    Here are “police” practices that deserve to be exposed:

    #1. During a traffic stop, the police officer will touch the back of your car. The reason for this “touch” is that, quite often, the police officer will have a small quantity of narcotics (marijuana or cocaine) on him (in his hand) that he will rub on the car in order to help “justify a search”. When the dog is brought in, it will react to “cues” from its handler as well as the drug residue on the vehicle and help “justify a search”. This tactic is mostly used against young people. Drugs can also be “planted” on a “suspect.”

    The “touch” used to be a way for police officers to “prove” that they had an interaction with a citizen, but no more . . .

    #2. Most (if not all) cops possess a “throwdown” weapon. This “helper” is obtained from a criminal who is then “let go” without his weapon and is always used to justify a questionable police situation and to “sanitize” a “crime scene to absolve police on the scene of criminal police behavior.

    #3. If you are in the back of a police car, LIE DOWN on the seat. Police use the concept of “screening” to abuse their unwilling “passenger”. This involves, driving at high rates of speed, violent turns and other antics to get the passenger to “hit the screen” separating the front from the back with his face. Hence the act of “screening”.

    #4. If you are being handcuffed, quite often the police officer will wrench you arm behind you, forcing you to “turn around.” Another “trick” is a foot to the instep, forcing the individual to involuntarily “pull away.” The officer will then add a charge of “assault” to whatever other charges they concoct against you (just for being forced to turn around). They “pile on” charges, hoping you will plead guilty to at least one.

    Remember — NEVER CONSENT TO SEARCH . . . You must be polite, but firm in your refusal. You can state that “you NEVER consent to searches” as well as using these “magic” words — “am I free to go?” The police officer MUST answer your question . . . If you are being detained and an illegal search takes place, you have legal recourse.

    Remember — police are not your friends . . .

    That being said, not all “law enforcement” is criminal, but the “thin blue line” that they so jealously guard (and “look the other way” when rogue cops abuse their authority) does much to taint ALL “law enforcement” with having ulterior motives.

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