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December 1, 2015

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


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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