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November 26, 2014

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Taking police shooting case to grand jury a mistake, sheriff says in video

Metro releases video message from Gillespie regarding Stanley Gibson case

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Las Vegas Metro Police Department

A screen shot from a video of Sheriff Doug Gillespie to Metro Police employees regarding the Clark County district attorney’s decision to take the Stanley Gibson officer-involved shooting case to a grand jury for investigation.

Metro Police sheriff releases video on grand jury case

KSNV reports that Metro Police Sheriff Doug Gillespie releases a video on the grand jury case of the veteran that was shot and killed by a Metro Police officer, Oct. 12.

Metro Police, under pressure from media outlets, have released a video message from Sheriff Douglas Gillespie detailing to Metro employees his objection to a Clark County grand jury review of a deadly officer-involved shooting.

In the Oct. 3 video, which department officials previously said was for internal use only and refused to release to the public, Gillespie informs his employees of District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s decision to convene a grand jury to review the Dec. 11, 2011, fatal shooting of Stanley Gibson.

“The district attorney sees this as the best avenue to review this case using a grand jury to make the decision as to whether the actions are criminal or not,” Gillespie said. “I do not agree.”

Although Gillespie said Gibson’s “death should never have happened,” the sheriff announced in the video his decision to stand by the officers involved.

“I have spoken to the investigators and listened to the internal accounts of this incident,” Gillespie said. “I do not see this fatal shooting as a criminal act.”

During the two-and-a-half minute video, Gillespie also discusses steps the department has taken to “ensure history does not repeat itself.” He mentions efforts to de-escalate critical incidents and the department’s voluntary decision to have the U.S. Department of Justice review Metro’s use-of-force policy.

Gillespie said he deliberately refrained from commenting about a possible grand jury review until Wolfson reached a final decision.

“I feel it’s a mistake to take this case to a grand jury,” Gillespie said. “I can assure you that I have made my position clear to the district attorney.”

Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran, was shot and killed by Metro Officer Jesus Arevalo outside a northwest valley condominium. Gibson, allegedly distraught and disoriented, was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Gibson’s wife, Rhonda Gibson, said her husband was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain cancer.

According to police reports, Stanley Gibson refused to surrender to police who had responded to a burglary report near Smoke Ranch Road and Rainbow Boulevard. Gibson allegedly rammed his white Cadillac into at least one patrol car.

Officers used two patrol cars to box in Gibson’s car and kept him there for more than half an hour. When Gibson persisted in trying to drive away and did not heed officers’ orders, police devised a plan to use a beanbag round fired from a shotgun to break a car window and fill the cabin with pepper spray to force Gibson outside.

When the beanbag round was fired, though, Arevalo fired seven live rounds from a rifle, striking and killing Gibson.

A grand jury is expected to convene next week to review the case. Representing Arevalo, who has worked for Metro since February 2002, will be the police union, Las Vegas Police Protective Association, said its executive director, Chris Collins.

Gillespie concluded the video message by asking department employees to support officers involved. He never mentioned Arevalo by name.

“This is a trying time for these officers and this organization,” he said. “Remain focused on our vision to be the safest community in America.”

Late Friday afternoon, citing "numerous formal requests," Metro backtracked on its original decision and made the video available on its website. The Sun was among media outlets formally requesting the video's release under Nevada open records laws, which make no provision allowing the department to keep the video from the public.

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  1. Arevelo is a dirty cop who needs to be taken off of the streets. At the very least, he should not be on the force. He had a paper trail of disciplinary action against before shooting Gibson. Right or wrong, Gillespie and Chris Collins will protect dirty cops. The dirty cops can even brag about murdering and raping people and they will still avoid any prosecution. CHRIS COLLINS IS DETERMINED TO PROTECT ALL DIRTY COPS BECAUSE HE IS A DIRTY COP! HE SPENDS MORE TIME PROTECTING DIRTY COPS INSTEAD OF THE GOOD COPS!

  2. @LasVegas9 (John Waldrip)

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  3. Gillespie has got to go!

  4. "The district attorney sees this as the best avenue to review this case using a grand jury to make the decision as to whether the actions are criminal or not," Gillespie said. "I do not agree."

    Fortunately for us little people "whether the actions are criminal or not" is not up to him. This is why the grand jury system has been a part of our republic's fabric from the beginning, to take these kinds of decisions out of the hands of the Gillespies we trust with law enforcement. Otherwise the police state our republic is becoming is completed.

    Our Sheriff has lost touch with what public trust means. At the root of all this is the accountability of those we trust with lethal weapons and the discretion to use them -- all represented by their badges and oaths. Every single time one of us dies or seriously injured by one of them there should be a grand jury review. If found culpable then strip that cop of his badge and give him to us.

    "this is why few people trust the police now. . . . .I follow the laws and don't have any reason to worry. . ."

    mrlucky -- good post. It's impossible to be 100% compliant with all the laws. Good book on that -- "Three Felonies a Day" @ www.cato-at-liberty.org/three-felonies-a...

    I'd also mention it appears Gibson "followed the laws" and his biggest mistake was getting Metros attention. He was killed by those we trust with badges. Nice to see our DA finally grow a pair.

    "Where once the criminal law might have stood as a well-understood and indisputable statement of shared norms in American society, now there is only a bloated compendium that looks very much like the dreaded federal tax code. The end results can be downright ugly: a soccer mom thrown in jail in a small Texas town for failing to wear a seatbelt; a 12-year-old girl arrested and handcuffed for eating french fries in a Metro station in Washington, DC; and defendants serving 25-year to life sentences in California prisons for, among other things, pilfering a slice of pizza." -- "Overextending the Criminal Law" @ http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v...

  5. If nobody is above the law, then that should include the police. Their actions should be open to public scrutiny. The prosecuting attorney has previously come under criticism for giving the police too much latitude in investigating their own actions. It was a welcome change to see Wolfson press for a more open inquiry. Gillespie is out-of-line.

  6. This has been a trying time for the family of Stanley Gibson,a man who fought for his country,and was murdered at the hands of Las Vegas Metro,again.A unarmed man,shot execution style with seven rounds to the head,just as Trevon Cole was murdered,as his wife watched as Brian Yant shot him in the back of the head.It is true sheriff,dead people don't talk.You destroyed the video of Erik Scott and got away with murder.But with Stanley Gibson,you failed to pay off or kill witnesses,and there is a video to prove this was in fact a criminal act.Seven shots to the back of the head is overkill.No use of force was needed against Stanley.He did not post a threat to the public.How can you get on television in front of the public and justify the actions of the officer who murdered Stanley??You need to get back in touch with reality.

    Jeffrey Jarvis
    U.S.Vets Las Vegas,Nv
    U.S.M.C.

  7. I don't get it. Metro has fought against the inquest process and they disagree with the Grand Jury process yet in a video about Metro CIRT/IA they claim they are leading in accountability and transparency.

    Gillespie seeks to maintain the support and loyalty of his officers by trying to avoid any public process enabling accountability and transparency. He apparently wants us to take Metros word that they are self policing and changing in the publics interest without any public process to prove it.

    Smells funny to me and I still don't have any confidence that Metro will protect citizens from unnecessary use of deadly force and excessive force by their own hand. If they are really want us to believe they are here to protect the public rather than themselves they would be proactive and overt in their efforts to work with and assure the public.

    Based on the Sheriffs comments I don't feel he really wants accountability and we are still at risk. At this point the - just trust us - plea has not been earned. Metros' behavior says citizens are to be considered guilty first and their officers actions are not to be questioned by us.

    Heck of way to run a police department. When Metro supports a fair and open investigative process whether inquest, grand jury or some other that does hold officers responsible for their conduct and openly participates with good will for a while, then I may become more confident in their department.