Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2014

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Law Enforcement:

Man dies after police use stun gun during arrest

Police chase fleeing man, use electronic control device to subdue him

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A man died Saturday morning after being arrested by Metro Police officers, who used an electronic control device to subdue the suspect, police said.

Police said an officer performed a traffic stop at 1:07 a.m. near the 1000 block of West Lake Mead Boulevard, near Martin L. King Boulevard in west Las Vegas.

While the officer was speaking to the vehicle’s driver, who was the only occupant, the driver tried to flee on foot.

The driver ran north across Lake Mead and jumped over a wall into the backyard of an abandoned residence in the 1000 block of Hart Avenue.

The officer followed the suspect into the backyard as other officers arrived. The officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, but he “aggressively resist(ed) the officers,” police said in a statement.

The officers used an electronic device on the suspect several times, police said.

The suspect was taken into custody and then officers noticed the man was in medical distress. The officers rendered aid to the suspect and summoned medical assistance, police said.

The suspect was transported to Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead after arriving, police said.

The suspect’s identity and cause of death will be released later by the Clark County Coroner’s office.

The officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave. Their identity will be released 48 hours after the incident, per department policy.

Police did not release any details as to why the suspect’s vehicle was stopped or why they believe the man ran from the officer.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Metro’s Homicide Section at 828-3521 or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555 or at crimestoppersofnv.com.

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  1. Lots of back seat drivers here blaming Metro once again.

    If they had let him go and he committed a crime against you, you would have blamed Metro.

    If Metro would have shot him, you would have blamed Metro.

    Metro uses a taser instead of shooting the guy and you blame Metro.

    No matter what Metro does many in this Valley are going to Blame Metro!

    Metro did their job.

  2. ghp2006, vegaslee -- what is exactly did this victim do to deserve being executed by our police?

    Right. Think, then try another post.

    "Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams, 1776 "Thoughts on Government"

  3. While use of a "Taser" may have been justified in this case, I have always considered using a Taser should be close to a last-resort for officers - especially"if there are several police officers on the scene.

    I believe it preferable that police use their physical strength - and (hopefully trained in ) Martial Arts skills - to subdue unwilling "suspects." That is how it was in the days BEFORE Tasers were invented.

    One of the reasons for creating Tasers was to reduce the need to use a gun. But "today" it is believed that we have criminals who exhibit excessive strength due to DRUG USE - which supposedly increases their strength and ability to resist physical constraint - and police officers are, apparently unable (or unwilling) to try to physically restrain the guy.

    But what is lacking in a police officer's PHYSICAL or MARTIAL ARTS training that makes them either ill-equipped, or unable, to master such skills? Thus, the need to wind up having to use a Taser or a gun on unarmed suspects.

    In martial arts demonstrations, you will note that this stuff WORKS! NO GUNS. A person so trained will be able to STOP someone "cold" - in their tracks; WHETHER ON DRUGS OR NOT. So why was a Taser in this case with other officers on the scene?

    It is the DUTY of all police officers TO BECOME and REMAIN PHYSICALLY FIT - according to the standards established by the police department. Are the LVPD standards to lax, or not applied?

    IN COMPARISON to Las Vegas, I wonder why such deadly "intervention ratios" by the police IN RENO, are not as pervasive as in Las Vegas. While RENO is a much smaller city, the potential to shoot an unarmed or fleeing "suspect" still exists with the individual police officer.

    I believe it is time for a detailed review and subsequent revision - in policy, methods, training, and management - as to how police officers should conduct themselves, and react in apprehensions or other dangerous situations. Such training is needed to to protect people who have NOT YET BEEN FOUND GUILTY a crime. THAT is why the police call apparent criminals - "SUSPECTS.

    Please note; my comments are not spurious. They are based on my personal experience working with state, federal and judicial enforcement systems, and several police departments, for over 25 years - where I have seen, help develop, or written such standards for law enforcement actions - with the necessary flexibility to act in the field - in dealing with criminals or agressive behavior.

    Does the Las Vegas PD have effective standards and training programs to guide police actions in the field? If adequate, are such practices monitored, and enforced?

  4. People are using terms like "executed by police".
    Let's see, Metro makes a traffic stop, suspect runs, suspect is caught, suspect violently resists, Officer who is also armed with a gun instead chose electronic control device. Suspect dies.
    If the cops had WANTED to kill him, they would have gone straight to their weopon, not the ECD.
    The suspect caused his own death by his actions.
    Can't fault the cops on this one. Innocent people don't run from the law, or resist.

  5. News of a Metro caused death has almost become a weekly, if not sooner, occurance. Sumpin' is not right.

  6. @ DevilDog - I agree that the use of the Taser may have been justified in this case. I also agree that the "runner" should not have run away after a "traffic stop." Maybe the guy had something to hide; maybe he stole the car; maybe he had drugs on him .... and maybe he was just scared.

    My point is that several officers were on the scene: "...The officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, but he "aggressively resist(ed)...." So, supposedly, they tried to subdue the guy but for reasons we do not know, they decided to zap him with a Taser - rather than just get him to the ground and even just "sit" on him.

    The law is written - pursuant to the U.S. Constitution - and ultimately, how to deal with suspects, obvious criminals, jail prisoners, etc. But unconvicted "suspects"are still citizens of this country, and deserve to be handled with FIRM restraint, but non-lethal force.

    In this case, while lethal force was not used, or seemingly intended - I do not believe it was necessary to Taser the guy - ONLY BECAUSE (THE ARTICLE SAYS) THERE WERE MORE POLICE OFFICERS THERE (to help).

    As for the ACLU, they have their own agenda, which I suggest is NOT in the best interest of public (or police officer) safety. You disobey the law, you deserve to get caught, by whatever equal or superior force, and reasonable means, as becomes necessary.

    Final point. Police officers are hired, and sworn, to protect citizens and uphold the law. In the course of performing such duties (at law) an officer is given training and tolls (yes, a Taser and a gun) to ensure such enforcement is possible.

    So, if workouts in the gym to build muscle and give officers an advantage - such as martial arts would do (even at a minimal level of skill) - what is the difference between using such (potentially - but not necessarily lethal) skills for officers to subdue an agressive person, if it is necessary to avoid further conflict and injury (as you pointed out).

    After all, a police officer is "licensed to use any weapon available" - as becomes necessary - uphold the law, to prevent a crime, to protect the life of a citizen, and even to protect themselves. As you are aware, this is not a contest. It is law enforcement", with the emphisis on the word "law."

    For the record, I would not inhibit, nor reduce, the skills or capabilities needed by any police officer in the LEGAL and NECESSARY performance of his duty.

  7. At least Metro didn't shoot the man

  8. @ DevilDog - Thanks for your comments. I understand that things required of a police officer - such as physical restraint of suspects - is a hard job. But I also know that one does not become a police officer to sit behind a desk. If I were a police officer, confronting someone that I am supposed to stop from doing something - I would make damm sure I could do so.

    Thus, in my exerience with the police officers of the Fairfax County Virginia, they were pretty good shape BEFORE they joined the force, and they got better as their career, and time, permittted. As they told me, bulking up was not a macho thing, but ensuring they were able to "protect and to serve" - to do their dangerous job - and go home in one piece.

    Maybe going to the gym is not something some police officers look forward to, or even see as necessary. But does that, then, make them more susceptible to using lethal force in situations they don't feel able to handle?

    I am not a cop. But I go to the gym (all my life) - to exercise my cardiovascular system (ask your doctor about the need for everyone to do this), to increase my metabolism, stamina, strength - - and sense of well being. Basically, all just to live well. As a result, I FEEL like I am able to TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, and my family - in almost any situation that might arise.

    The NRA's Armed Citizen will attest to the need for all Americans to be able to have self-protection. And since the law provides for it, I also have a gun to assist me in doing so.

    So, with all I do as a CIVILIAN, why should I expect LESS from a police officer sworn to protect me from harm? The phrase comes to mind: "if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen."

    Further, it is not right that one officer should put another officer at risk just because they are not physically fit to defend them selves. That is part of the job - to be able to RESPOND to a physical threat from the bad guys.

    Bottom line: I do not believe that police officers - or anyone in any other profession who needs physical strength (like a steel worker, or oil rig worker, a construction worker, etc.) - should have to time off of work to take care of themselves. As NIKE says: JUST DO IT!

  9. KillerB,

    No one was "executed."

    I suggest looking up the Definition of a word before using it.

  10. I for one wish i would have had a teaser a little while ago when I got cold cocked for no reason. when i asked the guy what i did his response was that i looked at him. come on all it is getting to the point where we need to stop putting metro down and let them do their job.

    And the bad thing is that the guy got away and metro said they would try and find him but unless they do nothing will be done.

  11. @ johnmanrules - To your question: "Why don't you address female officers in your argument?"

    Well, I was tempted to, but declined because I did not want to set myself up for outcries of "male chauvinism" - or, being seen as advocating the use of a Taser when I have already said I am not a big fan of this device. Why?

    Because its use has killed many people - and justification for continued use cannot, I submit, be at the expense - or espoused philosophy - of saving others.

    There are alternatives. While it is easy to stand back and Taser someone by pulling a trigger, Police have verbal comands, physical strength, tear gas, pepper spray, batons, rubber bullets, handcuffs, etc., to use - before they need to decide on using a Taser, or a gun.

    I recognize that being in the field is different than talking this subject in this column. But just because we value a single human life - if a Taser WERE A TOY, the government would have taken it off the market already.

    So, in a political climate where social preferences exist as to who can do what - there can be no logical, rationale, or successful argument presented IN THIS FORUM - pro or con - that would make such a discussion useful.

    Besides, if female officers choose NOT to go to a gym to build strength and endurance, they are only doing themselves a disservice, and endangering their health and longevity.

    Further, they are also not improving their ability to help their fellow officers in time of need, or help prevent harm to citizens who look to police officers for help.

    I'm sure this is Not the answer you expected, but...

  12. taxpayers get out you wallets. The French guy got 1/2 a million.

    Tazer has quite a legal department to make sure settlements are kept secret.

  13. Here is a made up scenario, let's say for a movie scene..A rogue cop stops a car in a black neighborhood that he hates to be stationed in..This cop is famous for beating the crap out of his suspects..The suspect is ordered out of the vehicle and he immediately recognizes the cop who had trashed him before..He sees a chance to run and he takes it..The cop knowing that shooting unarmed suspects is not very fashionable these days, takes out his tazer and fires at least two times, bringing the suspect down who then dies..Now, who gets to tell the story? The cop or the dead suspect? Anyway,this is just a made up scene for a B movie..We know our police are always JUSTIFIED in their actions..Just ask the coroner's inquest people..

  14. BeSafe..We know that there could never be a cop like that on the Metro force..Our cops are perfect in every way..I'm sure if all the dead people could get up and speak, they would say "we deserved it we deserved it"..Yep, I did see Shreck thank you..

  15. Metro has secretly modified the tasers (ramping up the amps) to kill ...for Charles Bronson death wish - star chamber reasons...

    The suspect new he was going to die...and made a run for it..

  16. It comes down to the training these officers are getting. In the last few years the Taser has been emphasized way too much. In doing so these agencies have lulled these officers into believing the Taser is the answer for almost any situation. The departments and Taser are to blame. These officers are trying to not get hurt in a fight but you are going to get hurt if you fight a perp. My agency never got them and I liked it. I'll take pepper spray and a baton over a Taser anyday.

    Also, that guy took off because A)He had warrants B) He had something on him or in the car he wasn't supposed to or C) The car was stolen. That's why he ran. I'm sure he wasn't a square that just got nervous.

    Saying that I don't think the guy deserved to die and I don't think the Metro was trying to kill the guy. It's just a sad series of events.

  17. If a person has a heart attack while running away from Police or resisting arrest, the responsibility is clear. An autopsy will tell.

  18. @bghs1986
    You make it sound like Metro officers are routinely shaking down people for bribes and taking liberties with with women with statements like;
    ~~~"When police officers abuse their authority, the people stop respecting that authority, and the result is an unalterable disruption in power structure"~~~I for one have found a whole new level of "respect" when comforted by metro these last few months. Its not that hard to show your hands and comply. HEY, that just gave me a new idea for Metro's new slogan. Instead of to protect and to serve how about painting this on cop cars...to stay alive is to comply. ,,ok maybe not

  19. Using this article to base my decision, if the story is entirely correct:

    I usually don't side with Metro on most of the police shootings. This was not a deadly-force shooting.

    This was an attempt to avoid deadly force and subdue an uncooperative suspect. If the suspect hadn't run there would have been no need.

    The stun-gun method doesn't always seem to be doing its job, there are often negative side effects. That's not Metro's fault. That is a design problem.

    Metro justified.

    Next!

  20. mred; this happened near Martin L. King Boulevard, shouldn't we rename this "Z" Street?

    KillerB; could you get me another cup of coffee, please?