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August 1, 2014

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Family critical of process as inquest into police shooting set to start

Erik Scott's Attorney

Erik Scott's Attorney, Seg. 2

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  • Erik Scott's Attorney, Seg. 2
  • Erik Scott's Attorney, Seg. 3
  • Erik Scott's Attorney, Seg. 4
  • Erik Scott's Attorney, Seg. 1

Summerlin Costco Shooting

Metro crime scene investigators, officers and detectives mill about the entrance of the Costco store in Summerlin after the shooting July 10, 2010. Launch slideshow »

A coroner’s inquest into the death of 38-year-old Erik Scott, shot by Metro Police officers July 10 at a Summerlin Costco, is set to begin Wednesday morning at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.

The family of Scott, a West Point and Duke University graduate with a concealed weapon permit, has denied Metro’s version of events and has been openly critical of the inquest process.

At a brief news conference held across the street from the scene of the shooting on the eve of the proceedings, Scott’s parents and brother said they wanted more answers and accountability than the inquest process could provide.

His father, Bill Scott, expressed frustration with the inquest process and said he just wants the truth about what happened that day to come to light.

“This is nothing but theater. This is reality TV. And the sole purpose of this is not fact-finding — it is to exonerate three cops that killed my son,” he said.

He also said he was anticipating attacks on his son’s character from the witness stand.

“Instead of a very short, factual inquest hearing, I think you’re going to hear day after day of attempts to trash my son’s reputation and make him look like he was something other than he really was,” he said.

Police have said officers responded to the store after a Costco employee called 911 to report a man acting erratically, damaging merchandise and carrying a pistol in his waistband.

Authorities said he pointed a gun at officers before he was shot, but some witness accounts have differed with Metro’s version of events.

On Monday, Bill Scott posted an entry on the family’s blog detailing the medications his son had been taking. In it, he writes that his son had been taking a number of drugs, including prescribed painkillers for a back injury as well as steroids. Heart medication, a number of over-the-counter supplements and antidepressants also were found in his son’s system, he said.

“Whatever happened, whatever he might have been taking, whatever treatment he might have had, has absolutely nothing to do with the three to five seconds it took for those cops to determine that he was a danger, and they shot him to death,” he said Tuesday afternoon. He said he posted the information publicly because he knew “what they’re going to hit us with” during the inquest.

He also referenced what he called the attacks on his son’s character that had been leaked to local media outlets in recent weeks. He said the real story about what happened that day would only come to light when surveillance video — video Metro has said can’t be recovered — of the incident was released.

Erik Scott’s mother, Linda Scott, called the process unfair and one-sided.

“This should never have happened. This was a tragedy that should not happened in the United states of America...The way it was handled, it’s like something that happened in a Third World country,” she said. “We’re going to fight for justice, as long as it takes.”

Within weeks of the shooting, Erik Scott’s family had launched a campaign to raise awareness about the incident at both the local and national level, including purchasing ad space on Las Vegas billboards and flying banners over California beaches.

Erik’s younger brother, Kevin, said the inquest, which is expected to last through the end of this week and could spill into next, marks the start of his family learning some important details surrounding his brother’s death.

“Although this is going to be an extremely trying few days and probably some of the worst days of my life, we’ll finally get some evidence,” he said. “The optimist in me is looking forward to hearing 911 calls and hearing more about Costco (video) recordings.”

Through their attorney, Ross Goodman, the Scott family had requested to view the evidence that will be presented to the jury before the inquest began. That request was denied last week.

Family members said they didn’t believe that surveillance video, even if it had been recovered, would be shown to the jury. They also said they wanted federal investigators to get involved.

Metro has identified the three officers involved as William Mosher, 38, who has been with the department since June 2005; Joshua Stark, 28, with the department since September 2008; and Thomas Mendiola, 23, with the department since March 2009.

The men have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, in accordance with department policy. All three are patrol officers assigned to the Northwest Area Command.

A jury of seven will determine whether the officers’ actions were justified, excusable or criminal. Coroner’s juries do not have to be unanimous in reaching their decisions.

The inquest will be broadcast live on the Clark County cable television station, Channel 4.

Erik Scott’s girlfriend, who was with him at the Costco store, is expected to be among the dozens of witnesses called to testify. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo will be the presiding officer.

The inquest originally was scheduled for Sept. 3 but was postponed because of time constraints and to permit investigators time to gather more information in the case.

The inquest into Erik Scott’s death comes on the heels of an inquest into the controversial shooting of Trevon Cole, who was shot to death in his apartment during the execution of a narcotics warrant. Cole was later found to be unarmed.

Jurors determined that Metro Police Detective Brian Yant was justified in that shooting.

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  1. <In it, he writes that his son had been taking a number of drugs, including prescribed painkillers for a back injury as well as steroids. Heart medication, a number of over-the-counter supplements and antidepressants also were found in his son's system, he said>

    That's a lot of meds, some of which perhaps should not be taken together.

  2. <...and was legally taking a prescription drug>

    You must not know much about prescription drugs. Many people are addicted to those legal prescription drugs. Just because they are "legal" doesn't mean the side effects will not have a negative effect on a person especially if some of those drugs should not be taken together. Doctors KNOW this and STILL prescribe drugs that don't mix and match. People have to rely on their pharmacist to get the real information. Or if they are smart - ask their doctors.

    Half the drugs doctors prescribe today are STILL in trial stages, too, with not enough data on side effects. Again, if you know and trust your pharmacist - ask him/her about it.

    Just because it is legal doesn't mean it was safe or should have been taken.

  3. <showing the videotape of the actual event or listening to the girlfriend that witnessed the entire incident firsthand at Costco from start to finish....>

    Is the girlfriend's testimony to be trusted? IF the cops were right and her boyfriend was wrong, do you really think she is going to testify truthfully?

    I hope the victim's family has not gotten to her and she tells the truth on what really happened. She is basically the key witness to this whole thing.

  4. Why were the police not checked for drugs in their systems? They pulled the trigger not Mr. Scott. Why is Officer Moshers clouded past not being mentioned? What really happened to the Costco video? Why do the police refuse to release the original 911 call? Why were multiple officers giving him conflicting commands while 3 officers held him at gunpoint? Why were witnesses asked to leave the scene that said Mr. Scott was not pointing his weapon at the police????

  5. <@ Det_Munch: You must be a physician giving such insightful commentary about which drugs a patient should or shouldn't take. With Metro's track record, I presume Mr. Scott innocent>

    Lawdogg

    No not a physician, but it's called "common sense" and most people just TRUST their doctors when they prescribe meds. People die every year or suffer serious consequences because they are uninformed of the problems with mixing certain legal prescribed drugs.

  6. <@Det_Munch: I agree that some drugs should't be taken in combination. But I find the suggestion that because Scott was taking prescription drugs the shooting is justifiable somewhat of a red herring>

    Never implied nor suggested the shooting was justifiable. But mixing drugs would cause such a law abiding citizen and someone as level headed as you, SummerlinCC, to have adverse side effects and cause you to "not be yourself".

  7. How sad that this guy's reputation will be posthumously run through the muck because of Metro's "shoot first, ask questions later" policy.

    It is certainly a good possibility that Eric Scott was NOT "himself" that day @ Costco.

    That DOES NOT MEAN that Metro's Modus Operandi is "excusable"...
    In fact, I find it frightening and reprehensible.

    This IS NOT just about The Eric Scott Case.
    It's an indictment by The Public about how Metro does business.

    If you can't see a PATTERN in Metro's actions over the course of the past few years that is different from OTHER LARGE, URBAN DEPARTMENTS, then you ain't lookin'; or are unaware as to how things work outside Las Vegas, NV.

    At the VERY LEAST, in an effort to quell the growing tide of dissatisfaction and distrust of Metro and their myriad issues, an independant third-party investigation should have been done with the Eric Scott case; with honest, open, public discourse as to how to handle FUTURE police shootings.

    Protect & Serve...
    Is that what we're getting???