Las Vegas Sun

May 5, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Baffled by process on police shootings

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I can’t understand why police do not have to participate in coroner’s inquests. Isn’t the oath to serve and protect a good enough reason? Isn’t the reason for these inquests to get the facts first and foremost, no matter what?

I also can’t understand why with so many options — like Tasers, rubber bullets, pepper spray, etc., and just plain old reasoning — there are so many shootings, especially when the suspects don’t have guns.

It also seems to me that having cameras in all the cars, like they do in most other cities, would eliminate many of these problems.

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  1. Police do participate in coroner's inquests. Plain clothes police aka detectives.


  2. I was involved in several shootings in my 22 years with the Santa Monica Police Department. I don't understand the entire coroners inquest system. The coroner doesn't have the requisite legal mind or the investigative skills to render these types of decisions.

    When a shooting takes place in Los Angeles County the District Attorney's Office is notified and sends a rollout team if the shooting is it all questionable. The shooting is also investigated by internal affairs. The shooting is evaluated from the perspective of the officers mind at the time of the shooting, the legal aspects of the shooting, and whether or not that shooting fell within department policy. It's a more equitable and thorough system.

    Whether a suspect is armed or not is a secondary issue. The key issue is whether you believe that your life was in danger or somebody else's life was in danger at the time of the shooting.

  3. I am inclined to hold law enforcement to a somewhat higher standard for knowing how to recognize when their own or someone else's life is in danger simply because they have had the training to do so. That is NOT to say I want to give civilians a free pass, they, too, should be held accountable to appropriate standards.

    The big problem as I see it is that there have been enough incidents involving Metro that in hindsight have been shown to be not needed (i.e. Gibson) coupled with incidents like Manor (a tragic loss) that mutual trust and respect has been replaced by mutual fear to a great extent. The DA's office has done little, if anything, to help curb this.

    It will only get better when the citizenry can once again feel that Metro is performing at the professional level we expect of them and that individuals will be held accountable when they do not.

  4. "I can't understand why police do not have to participate in coroner's inquests. Isn't the oath to serve and protect a good enough reason?"

    Walsh -- they don't participate because they don't have to, thanx to their union, and an apathetic body politick. And their oaths aren't "to serve and protect." It's to "support, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States, and the constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding." That would include the promise "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." You can find these @ You can find that @ and

    Finding the reason they kill us and otherwise prey on us isn't rocket science. It's because there is little if any personal consequence when they do, and they have seemingly infinite public resources on their side. As Erik Scott's parents discovered, when you run out of money you're out of rights.

    Until enough citizens are fed up enough to force direct accountability, starting with perjury of oath, they'll keep killing us.

    "Makes you feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game." -- Bob Dylan "Hurricane"