A grand jury will consider the involuntary manslaughter case against a former Las Vegas police officer in the neck-hold death of an unarmed man outside a Strip casino last May, prosecutors told a judge Thursday.
The former officer, Kenneth Lopera, did not appear in court for a brief hearing, at which prosecutors told the judge they plan to seek an indictment in the May 2017 asphyxiation death of 40-year-old Tashii Brown.
Justice of the Peace Cynthia Cruz gave prosecutors until March 26 to take the case to the grand jury.
The panel could revise charges filed last June against Lopera, who became the first Las Vegas police officer in 27 years to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was dismissed from the department in September.
Lopera, 32, also is accused of felony oppression under color of office. He could face up to eight years in prison if he is convicted of both charges. He remains free on $6,000 bail.
Steve Grammas, head of the police union representing the former officer, said he expects the grand jury to find that Lopera didn’t cause Brown’s death and that Brown died of other health problems and the influence of methamphetamine.
“We had hoped a grand jury would hear this case,” Grammas said.
The development drew criticism from American Civil Liberties Union executive Tod Story, who accused prosecutors of “wavering under pressure from the police union.”
Gary Peck, a longtime Nevada civil rights advocate, called it “unfortunate that the wheels of justice grind so slowly when we are dealing with an issue of critical importance to the community.”
Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg ruled last June that Brown died of “asphyxia due to police restraint,” and called the death a homicide. He also listed as “significant contributing conditions” that Brown had an enlarged heart and was under the influence of methamphetamine.
Brown, who also used the name Tashii Farmer, approached Lopera and his patrol partner in a coffee shop at The Venetian, telling them he thought people were after him, police have said. He then ran through employees-only hallways and out a rear entrance.
Lopera chased Brown, and video from the officer’s body camera and casino security views show him using a stun gun on Brown seven times, punching him more than 10 times and putting him in what a police supervisors called an unapproved chokehold for a minute and 13 seconds.
Police said the number of shocks violated department policy and the neck hold differed from an approved method taught to officers to render combative people unconscious.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who leads Las Vegas police, announced in September that the agency was changing use-of-force policies to stop routine use of neck holds.
Many other police departments prohibit officers from using the technique unless they are in a life-or-death struggle.
Records show that from 2012 to 2016, Los Angeles officers reported using neck holds just seven times. Las Vegas police, by comparison, reported using the technique 274 times during the same five-year period
NRA Board Member Ted Nugent Posts that Parkland Students Are Fake Actors
As reported by Media Matters, the “Motor City Madman” posted an article on his Facebook page pushing a right-wing conspiracy theory alleging survivors of Florida’s Parkland school massacre were “coached” actors.
The article, from noted fake news purveyor Natural News, claimed the students “were coached to repeat scripted lines, just like actors reading lines for a movie production” in order “to push a gun control narrative rooted in emotional reaction rather than constructive solutions.” Nugent later “liked” a comment left below the post article claiming that one of the students was “a paid crisis actor” who “has been at multiple shootings as a ‘survivor.'”
As Media Matters points out, much of the article was lifted from another site, The Gateway Pundit — which even InfoWars has accused of being “fake news.”
The Nuge, a National Rifle Association board member, has a long history of promoting right-wing conspiracy theories in the aftermath of gun violence.
“I’m not a crisis actor,” Hogg told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.”
Nugent’s actions have been supported by some, but others are condeming the rocker. A statement released by Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon called Nugent “vile and disgusting” for “pushing the disgusting and harmful conspiracy theory.”
Another Trump Official Fails Security Clearance and Fired
Senior White House official George David Banks has “resigned” after being told that his security clearance had been denied. It makes him the third White House official to resign in just one week.
Banks, who served as Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment for nearly a year, told Politico on Wednesday that his application for a permanent security clearance had been denied.
According to Banks, his security clearance had been denied because he admitted to smoking marijuana in 2013, which is illegal under federal law — however, the current policy is that they can get clearance unless they lied about it.
The allegations surrounding Porter have prompted questions about the handling of permanent security clearances as Porter, along with some other officials at the White House, were using interim clearances. The White House has also been under fire for its handling of the allegations against Porter.
BREAKING: Trump Homeland Security Says Russia Hacked Elections
The Homeland Security official in charge of protecting the elections from interference and hacking has announced that Russia indeed penetrated the voter registration roles of voters and stole them, to use to target voters in fake news stories.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn’t talk about classified information publicly, but in 2016, “We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year that it had evidence of Russian activity in 21 states, but it failed to inform individual states whether they were among those targeted. Instead, DHS authorities say they told those who had “ownership” of the systems – which in some cases were private vendors or local election offices.
US intelligence agencies say Russian spies hacked into a wide range of institutions and agencies during the US election campaign. They have accused two Kremlin spy agencies – the GRU and the FSB – of hacking Democratic party emails and giving them to the website WikiLeaks.
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