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
Trump Replays His Own Rallies on White House TVs 24/7
Turns out Donald Trump is so thin skinned that he revels in watching moments from his rallies on a television screens that he’s installed all over the White House, including multiple ones now in the White House dining room.
. But new reporting says Mr Trump’s TV watching doesn’t stop in the bedroom: he and his associates watch his nationwide rallies on 60 inch TV that is installed in a dining room attached to the Oval Office .
“They don’t realize, it’s a lot of work,” Mr Trump reportedly added. “It’s not easy,” when asked about his TV time.
This is not exactly shocking. Trump’s obsession with both television and himself is well-documented, and what better way to combine those two favorite pastimes than to watch himself bloviate for an hour? Earlier this year at CPAC, he pointed at a picture of himself and said, “I’d love to watch that guy speak.”
People close to Trump told The New York Times that Trump spends at least that much time in front of a TV each day, and sometimes spends as many as eight hours watching television, non-stop.
The Times reports that Trump begins each day around 5:30 a.m. by turning on CNN before quickly flipping to Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” He occasionally watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because it works him up, Trump’s friends told the Times.
FLOTUS Trump Stars War For Christmas Early
Declaring that the US is already #bebest, Melania Trump shared that planning for “Christmas at the White House” has not only already begun but is well underway Thursday with a great behind-the-scenes shot on Instagram.
“Planning is underway for this year’s #Christmas at the @WhiteHouse! There is still a lot of work to be done, but I hope everyone will enjoy our final holiday vision for the People’s House,” the first lady captioned her post showing her wearing a gorgeous red dress as she looked over plans for the annual celebration.
In the picture, we can also see some kind of binder with photos left open, a box of ornaments, floral decor, fabric and more snaps.
Trump Sued by Former Driver for Unpaid Wages
Turns out that Donald Trump eventually screws everyone, including his personal driver of 20 years. The driver, Noel Cintron says he “was forced to work thousands of hours of overtime without compensation” before Secret Service took over the job of ferrying President Trump. Cintron no longer drives the president but his service to the Trump Organization allegedly continues as a member of its security staff.
Represented by the firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, the July 9 suit in Manhattan Supreme Court demands compensation for six years of service under the applicable statute of limitations.
A representative for the Trump Organization insisted on anonymity to relay comment on the suit.
“Mr. Cintron was at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law,” the representative said. “Once the facts come out we expect to be fully vindicated in court.”
For the last eight years, according to the complaint, Cintron has been earning $75,000 a year. This is up $7,000 from Cintron’s last raise in 2006, but the driver disputes that the 2010 salary was actually a raise since it came at the expense of his health insurance. By paying Cintron a little more, the Trump Organization allegedly saved itself $17,866.08 per year in premiums.
The first page of Cintron’s 14-page lawsuit is rife with indignation. “In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige President Donald Trump has, through the defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own longstanding personal driver,” it states.
Later the complaint says: “President Trump’s further callousness and cupidity is further demonstrated by the fact that while he is purportedly a billionaire, he has not given his personal driver a meaningful raise in over 12 years!”
Cintron’s schedule at the Trump Organization has allegdly been a grueling one: five days a week, from approximately 7 a.m. “to whenever Donald Trump, his family or business associates no longer required his plaintiff’s services.” Typically this works out to at least a 50-hour week.
Because Trump required Cintron “to be ready … at a moment’s notice,” according to the complaint, the time in between trips could not be used for Cintron’s personal errands.
Cintron calculates that, on top of his regular pay, Trump should have paid him about $540 in overtime pay per week which is time and a half for 550 hours of uncompensated overtime per year for the past six years.
The driver’s duties also allegedly involved performing running personal errands for his supervisor at the Trump Organization, Matthew Calamari, who used to be the president’s bodyguard.
Trump has also neglected to reimburse Cintron for accrued vacation time, accrued sick days and expenses, according to the complaint.
Cintron seeks damages under federal and New York labor law. Both the Trump Organization and Trump Tower Commercial LLC are named as defendants.
Having intervened in federal proceedings involving Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization is represented by Law Offices of Alan S. Futerfas.
In 2015, Newsweek quoted another personal driver of Trump’s, Eddie Diaz, as saying that the real estate mogul insisted on being chauffered in American cars. Diaz also reportedly said that he and his passenger ate together regularly, with Trump only footing the bill “once in a while.”
The Secret Service took up residence inside Trump Tower in late 2015 but had to relocate to a trailer just outside a midtown skyscraper in August 2017 after a lease agreement with the Trump Organization fell apart.
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