Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 | 12:25 p.m.
A recently revamped coroner’s inquest process will get its first test run in late February with the case of 43-year-old Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson, who was shot and killed by a Metro Police officer in December 2011.
The first police fatality public review hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28 at the county commission chambers in the government building downtown.
In a letter dated Wednesday, District Attorney Steve Wolfson informed County Manager Don Burnette there would be no criminal prosecution of the officers involved and asked Burnette to schedule a fact-finding review.
Gibson was shot and killed by Metro Officer Jesus Arevalo on Dec. 12, 2011, after several officers responded to a burglary call at a condominium complex. Gibson, who was unarmed at the time, was said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife said.
A grand jury convened late last year declined to indict Arevalo.
The February hearing will be the first under the new review process, which replaced the controversial coroner’s inquest.
Clark County commissioners approved the changes earlier this month. The new process moves hearings out of the courtroom and into the county commission chambers and does away with the panel of pseudo-jurors that heard cases under the coroner’s inquest process.
During the fact-finding review hearing, a prosecutor from the district attorney’s office will make a presentation on the essential facts of the case, which may include testimony from the police officer charged with investigating the officer-involved shooting. The prosecutor may call other “relevant” witnesses, who can be questioned by the presiding officer overseeing the hearing and an ombudsman, who will represent the interest of the victim’s family and the public.
Gibson was shot after police responded to a burglary call at a northwest valley condominium near Smoke Ranch Road and Rainbow Boulevard.
After being approached by police, Gibson, who was allegedly disoriented and distraught, refused to surrender and rammed his white Cadillac into a patrol car, according to police records.
Officers used two patrol cars to box in Gibson’s car, pinning him there for more than an hour. When Gibson continued to try to drive away and ignored police orders, officers developed a plan to use a beanbag round fired from a shotgun to break a window on Gibson’s car and then fill the cabin with pepper spray, forcing him out.
When the beanbag round was fired, Arevalo fired seven live rounds from his rifle, striking and killing Gibson.