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October 22, 2014

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On second review, DA sticks by decision not to charge Henderson cop in kicking incident

Image

Nevada Highway Patrol

A screen grab from the video of an incident with Henderson Police.

Henderson officer will not face charges after kicking man

KSNV coverage of a Henderson police officer who will not face charges for kicking a man in diabetic shock during a traffic stop, April 6, 2012.

Man kicked in the head by Henderson Police officer

Video footage from a Nevada Highway Patrol dashboard camera of a Henderson Police officer kicking a man in the head during a traffic stop, Feb. 7, 2012. Warning: The footage contains material that may be offensive.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson has issued a final answer and has once again decided not to bring charges against Henderson Police Sgt. Brett Seekatz, who was caught on video kicking Adam Greene in the head five times while Greene was being restrained by other officers.

Wolfson, who misspells Greene's name throughout his signed decision, said previously he wouldn't bring charges because it wasn't "in the best interests of the community," and then because the statute of limitations had lapsed on misdemeanor battery.

He also said previously that he didn't think he could prove a case in front a Clark County jury; juries have previously been reluctant to convict police officers, including in cases in which Wolfson was the defense lawyer in the time when he was in private practice.

In the decision posted on the D.A.'s Web site, Wolfson acknowledges the video is "offensive" to watch. (Greene, the man kicked in the head, was suffering a diabetic episode and had not been driving intoxicated as police believed. The city of Henderson paid Greene and his family more than $250,000 in a settlement.)

Wolfson then notes the wide latitude given to police to use force to restrain suspects. He writes that he came upon other allegations of misuse of force by Seekatz, who was disciplined by Henderson Police in the Greene case but did not lose his job or his rank. None of those allegations were substantiated by Henderson Police, Wolfson notes.

Wolfson took the new findings, however, and assembled a legal team to make a final decision.

Henderson Police allow and even train in the use of kicking to restrain suspects, which would have made prosecution even more difficult, Wolfson says.

The decision states unequivocally, "None of the officers acted maliciously," another factor in Wolfson's move not to prosecute.

Also of note: The timing of the announcement. A Friday before a holiday, often used by political operatives to put out unpopular decisions or announce bad news. Known in the trade as "taking out the trash."

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  1. With about 3 years remaining until Wolfson faces an election, we might want to consider a recall effort in about 4 months to "take out the trash" early.

    This is does not seem right. Wolfson should bring the felony charge and let a jury decide. At least present it to a grand jury to see if they feel there is a case.

    With any luck the feds will take a look at a civil rights case.

  2. Not in the best interest of the community? How ridiculous. Worst of all he adds insult to injury by not spelling the poor guy's name right? Wow. Way to go "Wolfsen".

  3. The questions he is answering are questions for the jury not for you!

    Sad that this guy wont even take a stand - won't support the obvious criminal conduct. You don't have to be a prosecutor to see criminal conduct.

    This is nothing more than justification of criminal conduct - The logic is disingenuous. It is like saying "these officers are trained in firing their weapons - therefore the cop who murdered an innocent child would make it difficult to prosecute so I wont even bother trying because it's 'too difficult.'"

    If I told my boss that I wouldn't do a task because I found it a "difficult" task to do - guess what will happen? You think I'll remain getting a paycheck? No, I don't think so.

  4. Mayor Hafen....do the right thing!

  5. Someone more cynical than me should take a look at some the discussion that took place before Wolfson was appointed. One of his very first acts in office was to say he would not prosecute this officer, and now, after taking a second look, he reaffirms that decision.

    How cynical would it be to wonder if this was a payoff to someone for being appointed?

  6. Your main point was overshadowed by inappropriate comments on unrelated topics.

  7. When you have something like this on video, there's no he said she said, there's no ambiguity, there's no doubt about wht occurred.

    Even if you lost the case, you still charge this guy. At the very least he has to be fired. This is a man who cannot control his temper, adrenaline..for that split second he snapped. You cannot have someone like that being a cop.

  8. The decision states unequivocally, "None of the officers acted maliciously"

    Wait, what?

    Wolfson is a tool. He couldn't even spell Greene's name right, what made us think he was going to do the right thing?

  9. One amazing thing is that Henderson is ruled by Salt Lake City, and as such, we don't dare go out at night. The blue suited wolves are waiting to pounce.

    GD shame, but it will only continue. Remember the Ice Cream Lady's killer? Now a convicted pervert, he had to quit, but so what? The polygamists rule Henderson, we know it, and there ain't a damn thing we can do about it...

  10. So the dance goes like this.....kick kick wink wink.....kick kick wink wink.....kick wink

  11. Ok, someone school me up here, but can't the Attorney General of Nevada prosecute this case? Wolfson is clearly hedging his actions here to keep his criminal defense of cops business viable after he is either voted out or recalled.

    So the next step in my mind is to pressure the A.G. to pick up the slack here.

    If Wolfson really lacks confidence in his abilities as a litigator (and apparently in his underlings as well) to the extent that he doesn't think he'll win a case where there's clear video evidence of a crime, he and those underlings have no place collecting the hundreds of thousands of dollars we pay them to prosecute criminals.

    And have no doubt that Brett Sekatz is a criminal. Albeit a criminal hiding behind a badge, but a criminal nonetheless.

  12. You know, I spent some time in the Navy and traveled more than a few miles in my day. And even after remembering every name I've been called by my ex-wives and girlfriends, I can't think of one that would give me satisfaction to say to Wolfson's face after reading this yet again.

  13. Greenes Lawyer needs to go before a judge & request a special prosecutor be appointed to charge Brett Seekatz with official police misconduct. If Steve Wolfson isn't going to do anything-there's others that will. Brett Seekatz is not fit to be a cop.

  14. This may be the only time on here that we agree on something. Henderson's police reputation continues negatively when bad cops are not purged. Can you imagine if Greene was of a different background. I doubt the case would get swept under the rug. I will remember you in three years Stevie and I vote.

  15. A problem with this decision, is that it guarantees that all persons passing through Henderson can be stopped and stomped prior to any Miranda rights being read. Now I know this was valid in Nazi Germany but I had understand that we lived in the Land of Freedom and Liberty. Guess I was wrong again!

  16. People should direct their anger about this to Rogers not Wolfson. Rogers is the one that dropped the ball on this, Wolfson came in after decisions were already made that has limited his options. Wolfson is in a tight spot and has to allocate resources responsibly. He can't put money and time into a case that has a good chance of failing. It would look better, true but then it wouldn't be the responsible choice.

  17. Even a Sham investigation by Wolfson would look better than this Public Relations Disaster. He has sealed his fate as never being trusted with any elected position and is now unelectable. He might as well start looking for an out of state job now. If the Henderson Police think this is acceptable behavior, I will do my shopping and dining elsewhere for fear of getting this kind of treatment should my Diabetes get out of control.

  18. The public needs to recognize that there are internal means of discipline that are not released for public scrutiny. Another concern in the video is that the other officers present didn't seem to tell the violator to stop. Why? It wouldn't acknowledge criminal behavior--only that an officer can be over-stimulated and need to cool off.

  19. Wolfson's decision to not prosecute is most disappointing. Whether he could have successfully made charges stick is less significant, to me, than making the effort to take the officer to task for such outrageous conduct. Kicking a motorist in the head is hardly responsible police work. Wolfson will need to be more aggressive in handling such matters if he expects to gain the public's trust.

  20. Two people have now mentioned a Channel 3 story from last night about Henderson PD using kicking as a distraction.

    Can someone post a link to this please? (My search skills are lacking it seems.)

  21. Thanks for the link, Birdie. But that clip doesn't seem to be the one that the others say refers to officers being trained to use kicking as a tactic.

  22. I've always been a strong supporter of police and law enforcement but in light of what has been going on in the valley for a long time it seems unlikely that you can get justice when confronted by the police and you might end up severely injured or dead without proper justification. And, it won't matter to the system, the cops will fight an inquest or any proper investigation and want the whole matter rubber stamped according to their best outcome. Are we becoming a police state?

    You run up to a man already restrained on the ground by several other armed officers and kick him in the head a half a dozen times and there is no evidence of intent? BS.

    Thankfully I'm not a lawyer so common sense has not been suspended.

    This tells me that possibly:

    The DA is either afraid of the police union or in their pocket;
    The citizens have as much to fear from the cops as they do the bad guys;
    That willful misconduct, outright abuse and criminal acts by police will be excused and defended despite the obvious;
    That if an officer approaches me I need to refuse to stop until I can get to a place with plenty of witnesses and not necessarily a police station before I stop for him or her;
    That I need to arrange ahead of time for the potential need for a criminal defense attorney and find one willing to take on the system just in case, and;
    That the cops are going to try and make me the bad guy even if I'm not, at least in Henderson.

    And police wonder why there is a trust deficit and citizens want to be armed?

  23. "None of the officers acted maliciously" says Wolfson.

    Malice: (from one source)
    1. A desire to harm others or to see others suffer; extreme ill will or spite.
    2. Law: The intent, without just cause or reason, to commit a wrongful act that will result in harm to another.

    Wolfson must be creating his own definition of malice, because walking up and kicking someone in the head who is not moving is the EXACT DEFINITION of "a desire to harm others or see others suffer".

    Brett Seekatz, in kicking person in the head who is prostrate on the ground, had the undeniable INTENT, without just cause OR REASON, to commit a wrongful act, as the definition says. If the act was not wrongful, not have paid a settlement.

    Law is politics, and in so many conservative cases, dressed up to protect the incomes of the privileged.

    To take it one step further, Wolfson and his pack thugs has determined that kicking someone in the head can be done without any attempt to harm. Amazing.

    The Nazi's did the same thing with their medical experiments on people, as it was argued that the Nazi doctors were just investigating scientific issues. Putting people in concentration camps was purification of the Fatherland, not malicious hate, because Jews according to Hitler, were a non-human species on Earth.

    Maybe Seekatz was just carrying out an experiment to determine the correct location on the head that could be kicked without causing damage. He could then share this information at roll call the next day so that others could kick heads without malicious intent.

    The titles, licenses, experiences of so many "Professionals" today are just a joke.

  24. I really had hoped that Wolfson would be a fair DA. But I guess not. It really is a shame.

  25. State sanctioned violence and murder against the people, made legal by our government. We are being asked to accept it as being moral and ethical. I say no . . . what say you?

  26. To my fellow bloggers;

    You are all doing the right thing keeping this apparent sweetheart deal alive and well. Keep in mind information, based on whether imperfect or not, is power. Rumor control has it that Sgt. Headkicker did get disciplined, possibly one or two months suspension without pay and put in an administrative job. (If) that is true the HBD just did not go far enough with the discipline and should have demoted him from Sgt. to patrolman. If this incident occurred 1.5 years ago possibly examining who released the video to the media and for what purpose, especially since the deal and settlement was pretty much finalized. That being said, don't close your eyes or divert your attention to other possible police corruption such as the revelation of the recently retired Homicide Lt., who stated "that there are other past Officer Involved Shootings that needed closer examination". That being said, that would be a certainty now to have to re-examine (All) Officer Involved Shootings that took place under his watch, including (All) homicide investigations. If you are going to clean it up, clean it all up. Just an old incorruptible cop,

    Gordon Martines
    CURRE.ORG

  27. The police are trained to kick to the head? Really? Kicking to the head is a legitimate tactic to restrain someone? Really?

    I wonder what planet the guys were from that came up with that sort of training tactic? I was taught that kicking to the head was for lethality - to kill!