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April 19, 2015

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law enforcement:

Motorist kicked by Henderson cop to get settlement

City Council agrees to $158,000 settlement


Nevada Highway Patrol

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

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 | 7:52 p.m.

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.

A motorist who was pulled over after driving erratically and was methodically kicked in the head by a Henderson Police officer — while being videotaped by a Nevada Highway Patrol dashboard camera — will receive a $158,000 settlement.

The motorist said he was weaving because he was in diabetic shock. Police found a vial of insulin in his pocket. The settlement amount was blessed by the city attorney then approved by the Henderson City Council tonight.

Audible on the video is what sounds like whispering between two officers after the kicking. One officer expresses concern about the cameras installed in NHP vehicles. Their voices are picked up on microphones attached to troopers.

“It’s on camera,” one says.

“They don’t know you,” someone answers. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“No, I’m just saying,” the first one replies, then his voice becomes inaudible.

In addition to the Henderson settlement, sources say, the state has agreed to pay the motorist $30,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit against both police agencies that alleges battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The suit was filed by Adam Greene, who was pulled over after 4 a.m. Oct. 29, 2010, at Boulder Highway and Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson. The lawsuit says Greene was on his way to work in Henderson from his home in southwest Las Vegas and was suffering from insulin shock after his blood sugar level dropped.

The Sun obtained video recordings from four NHP vehicles that responded to the call. Squad car video cameras are fixed and pointed to an area in front of the vehicles.

One of the videos shows Greene swerving as he drives east on Lake Mead for about three minutes until he stops for a red light at Boulder Highway. At that point, a trooper gets out with his service weapon pointed at the driver, who is still seated. The trooper kicks the window with his foot.

“Don’t move! Hey driver, do not move!” the trooper says. “Hands up!”

A trooper opens Greene’s door, and four officers — troopers and Henderson police — pull him out of the car.

A series of commands follows: “Get on the ground! Stop resisting, (expletive), stop resisting (expletive)!”

Greene groans as four law enforcement officers push him onto the pavement and, joined by a fifth, restrain and handcuff him. At that point, a Henderson police officer walks into camera view, steps up to Greene and kicks him five times in the head, twice with his left foot, three more with his right. The officer then walks away nonchalantly, and turns briefly toward the direction of the NHP cruiser whose camera is pointed his way.

With Greene subdued on the ground, an officer searches his pockets and finds a vial of insulin and announces it to everyone, looking up to the sky.

“He could be a diabetic,” he says.

“Yeah, I see that,” someone answers.

Someone else says to a dispatcher over the radio: “He’s a diabetic. He’s probably in shock, semiconscious.”

The Sun has requested the names of the officers involved in the incident and whether anyone was disciplined. A Henderson Police spokesman did not immediately have that information. Greene’s attorneys did not return a call for comment.

Sources said one trooper was disciplined, but not for actions that took place during the arrest. The troopers in the video help subdue Greene, but they do not kick him.

Highway Patrol Major Kevin Tice said he could not discuss state personnel matters.

Patrol vehicles have had video cameras for a few years, Tice added.

“They’ve been a real nice tool” for accountability purposes, he said, adding that he predicts all law enforcement vehicles will one day have them.

“We defend ourselves,” Tice added. “And the way we do that is to hold our people accountable.”

Henderson added cameras to their vehicles in June. The digital video and audio devices were put into 150 patrol vehicles at no cost to the city. They were paid for with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Metro Police vehicles do not have video cameras.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who serves on Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee, said he would research the cost of installing cameras in Metro’s vehicles.

“It’s about accountability and providing assurances to our residents that we are as transparent as we can possibly be,” he said.

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  1. As a risk manager I am horrified, as always, by stories like this. The City was undeservedly lucky to escape with such a small settlement. As a citizen I am horrified at the cavalier attitude of the officers KNOWING they were being filmed. Their behavior, as reported, is no less than criminal. They should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment of this man's life and assault. Fire them now, then send them to jail.

  2. When will they be held ACCOUNTABLE ? Why do the Tax Payers have to pay again and again???.. $158,000 Thousand Dollars of Tax Payers Money...

  3. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  4. Where's the video? Or does it need approval to be released? Good article, just wished it was backed up with the video like in the Officer Colling article on the Sun.

  5. Metro has been long overdue for dashboard cams. That is one expense that can be easily justified.

    I say take all penalties and damage awards like this from a departments' retirement fund. Maybe that will send the message that this kind of behavior *will not be tolerated* by the public they are supposed to protect.

  6. Seriously?

    $158,000 is not NEARLY enough!

    I wonder why the settlement...does it have to do with a CAP on the amount that can be sued for?

    The amount is not so much about what 'the guy should get' as much as 'how much needs to be PAID' so a message is delivered;

    local lawmen need to be held accountable for their actions. As it stands today, they are not, by any true measure, being held accountable (IMO) for a laundry list of misdeeds, the majority of which point to a lack of common sense & basic law enforcement training principles.

    At some point, isn't the question this;
    'Who's in CHARGE of these folks?'

    Most of our cops are good people. They are our friends, neighbors & family members.
    They're also highly compensated professionals who we ought to be able to depend upon to use their best judgement the majority of the time, as though the cameras are ALWAYS RUNNING.

  7. Mitzy and others,
    The Sun has a copy of the video; the reporter and editors saw it, and it is being uploaded to appear with this story. Check back, please.

  8. "boftx" - I believe that technology is moving so quickly that soon, we will ALL be able to outfit our own vehicles with 360-degree video cams that record data to on off-site location. It can be done right now, and it will be inexpensive enough within a year or two I'm guessing.

  9. Tom, you should probably put a warning on it that viewer discretion is advised. The description of what it contains is bad enough.

  10. "Metro has been long overdue for dashboard cams. That is one expense that can be easily justified."

    boftx -- long overdue, but as you can see the presence of a dashboard cam didn't prevent all of us from getting a look at our local bullies with badges in action.

    All our local police agencies are in serious need of being reprogrammed. So long as the taxpayers put up with the price tag for cop abuses like this nothing will change.

    "...our sense of fair play which dictates a fair state-individual balance by requiring the government to leave the individual alone until good cause is shown for disturbing him and by requiring the government in its contest with the individual to shoulder the entire load..." -- Murphy v. Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, 378 U.S. 52, 55 (1964)

  11. Comment removed by moderator. Removed, because it referred to a comment that has been removed.

  12. I think one of the qualities you must possess as a cop is the ability to not let your emotions or adrenaline allow you to do something stupid. If you can't control that, you should find another line of work. Cops have a tough job. What this officer did is inexcusable. Fire him. He needs to find a different line of work. This man could have easily lost an eye as the officer was kicking. Can't be stupid.

  13. 1st cop - very unprofessional should be fired.

    Cop that did the kicking needs a prison term for kicking a man on ground (even if he was roaring drunk, you don't do this)

    Patrolmen should be reprimanded for not immediately reporting crime of assault by Henderson officer.

    Victim deserves 1,000,000+

    But he needs to be more careful about managing blood sugar if he is going to drive - because he was just as dangerous as drunk driver. There are warning signs to falling blood sugar, he should have recognized these and pulled over before getting to this state.

  14. Just one law suit would be enough to more than cover the cost of dashboard cams in police vehicles. Given the nature of police mentality in LV I can see why they don't want to shell out. There would certainly be many more lawsuits.

  15. I could understand why they did this if the guy was a tatted gang banger wearing gang apparel but an older white guy? Really? Who they thought was at worse drunk? Instead of asking for his license and registration, they had to go there? Kicking him in the head while he lay face down, handcuffed on the ground? Wonder how many other citizens have gotten the boot in the past under similar circumstances (but not on tape)? We not only need cameras in all cop cars in this town we need prosecution of criminal activity whether it's from a gang banger or a cop. BTW, spare me with the "you're a racist" remark about my the guy being white. Gang bangers are criminals and I personally wouldn't have a problem with a cop kicking them in the head if they didn't follow orders because they've all committed crimes in the past. To me this is common sense. You might justify feeling threatened from a gang banger type knowing they're criminals and probably armed, but from an older white guy? (Okay, older person, any color, to be politically correct)

  16. I still can't see the video,...but the story seems like enough for me. Normally I'd lean in the cops favor,...but not this time. This man was not drunk but in trouble. Having the officers hand on his weapon would be acceptible but kicking in his window is not.

    Does the Henderson Police Department kick the window out of every car they stop for "swerving" I'd guess its not policy. What happened to the protect and serve motto? This man was sick and the officer decided to be judge and jury before he knew that fact and in fact wasn't drunk. Perhaps "serving" this man before kicking him in the head may have been a better option.

    Calling an ambulance for his diabetic issue would have been brilliant, calling one after trying to crush his skull,...not so much.

    I'm amazed at how small a settlement Mr. Greene received. It should have been more,...and hopefully the cop doing the kicking in advance of the necessary facts,...should have his head rolled right off the City of Henderson payroll,...he's clearly not suited for the position based on this performance.

  17. I believe that all law enforcement interaction with the public should be recorded and subject to review, that if officers are found to be in violation of anyone's civil rights that those responsible should be prosecuted, and that any monetary damages should accrue to those responsible, or their representatives, rather than the taxpayers.

  18. Police subculture has been well documented. Some departments promote, rather than terminate, officers who engage in flagrant police brutality.

    See for example: Skolnick, J. H.; J. J. Fyfe (1993). Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force. New York: Free Press. ISBN 002929312X. OCLC: 27011930.

  19. Adam Greene never resisted in the slightest. All accusations of his felonious behavior were fabricated.

    The series of commands "Get on the ground! Stop resisting, (expletive), stop resisting (expletive)!" were stated to make the prosecution. This is the same thing as "planting evidence", except the evidence would be the bruises. Increasing the number of bruises only adds to the prosecution's case. Scary.

    I'll bet these guys don't like liberals either. They are definitely "W's Men". After all this time, there is no progress in professional behavior. I wonder if any of their T-Shirts read "Restore America", "Make Us Great Again" or "Winning Our Future". If not, there are many more to choose from.

  20. Henderson has enough money for tasers, not sure why the cops didn't use them. Oh, and kicking a citizen while the dash cam is rolling isn't advisable.

  21. This wasn't the first time. How many others have felonies to their names, or are serving time because of physically resisting arrest? Such a conviction can drastically reduce a person's earning capacity and prohibit them from getting many jobs. Placing a false conviction on anyone is very expensive.

    The defense attorney for this case should review DUI arrests at least two years back for each of these officers and look at the evidence, testimony and talk to those convicted.

    Dash Cams are a great idea because they protect the public too. $30,000/year prison terms for INTENTIONALLY false testimony should not be charged to the public.

    I'm certain the dash cams will pay for themselves in less than a year. Public streets aren't a free-for-all for thugs paid by the Government, regardless of what office they hold.

  22. @Kevin,

    And if there was no video? Would you still lean in the cop's favor? Especially since the arrest report would say that "the driver refused to comply with the officer's directive. When the officer attempted to take him out of the vehicle, the suspect became combative and started resisting arrest. It was necessary to use limited and reasonable force to subdue the suspect." Just another solid take-down of a bad guy by the good guys, right?

    Any wonder why these guys

  23. Being in diabetic shock,...would make resisting pretty much impossible.

    I will say that a police officer approaching the vehicle having made a traffic stop based on the grounds the officer is said to have made them,... can't and should not assume the person is drunk. People have medical issues,...not everybody is in a bottle.

    Perhaps the officer thought the driver was passing out from drinking, which case he would likely have been showing more aggressive signs of intoxication,...not simply swerving, but running into things,..not stopping at a traffic light as Mr. Greene did,...speeding, driving at excessive speed, or not maintaining the speed limit.

    When the officer aproached the vehicle he has to expect the worst but should be able to determine the situation without kicking in a window and dragging a sick man to the ground who's not resisting in the least,...then proceed to kick him in the head. The man was ill,...not drunk, and not resisting. So much for the protect and serve stuff.

    A good police officer could determine this, not fit for the job did what this one did, and should now be fired.

  24. Having now seeing the video that wasn't up earlier, ALL the cops involved. It was excessive,...especially since Mr. Greene was sick,...not drunk.

  25. This AP story is reporting the settlement amount as $292,000 which significantly more than the amount reported above:

    Is the difference going to the attorneys?

  26. Are police taught to scream "stop resisting" right before they break someone's bones?

  27. @boftx,

    Look at the stories again. $158k came from City of Henderson, and was paid to Mr. Greene. Henderson paid $99k to his wife. The State of Nevada paid $35k, presumably to Mr. Greene, because there was a state trooper there helping subdue this drunk, violent, and combative suspect.

  28. Allen, thanks, I had overlooked that.

  29. Yes, SCREAMING to "STOP RESISTING" allows police to continue to beat up defenseless citizens that are already handcuffed. These guys are no better then a bunch of gangbangers and should all be brought up on charges and fired. These guys are nothing but COWARDS. Where is the DA???

  30. No Allen,...the story pretty much says enough and the video clears it up. What I said was normally I would agree with the police in many cases, but when they do something wrong,...all bets are off. What this entire group of officers did was wrong.

    If your in diabetic shock anything the cop might say may mean nothing to you,...his directive could be meaningless. The man was sick, and probably not far from a diabetic coma,...ya get that part Allen?

    Once stopped the officer has to be careful with his approach but in the video this officers was way out of line. In this article it indicated Mr. Green offered no restance nor did anything to deserve the type of response he received by the first officer. The gun is one thing,...kicking in the window is another.

    The cops wrestled a SICK man to the ground without resistance, would think at least a couple of the officers could determine sickness from alcohol rather than kicking hell out of him first. Do you see Mr. Greene resisting arrest Allen?

    Perhaps you can tell us where you read in this article or see in this video where Mr. Greene refused the officers directive, you see where Mr. Greene became combative to where kicking him in the head 5 times is justified? What do you see that none of the other posters here see? Where do you pick up in this article or video that Mr. Greene was as you put it "because there was a state trooper helping subdue this drunk, violent, and combative suspect"

    Try again sir, must be reading and viewing something completely different than the rest of us.

  31. To my fellow bloggers;
    I am glad that Mr. Greene got a financial settlement and I hope his injuries heal up and there are no lasting medical problems. I can certainly directly relate to how he feels. While on duty in plain clothes in the early 80's, I noticed a male suspect carrying a machete under his coat entering the kiddy games section of the second floor of the Circus Circus. I approached the suspect, I.D'd myself, the fight was on and both of us were on the ground wrestling for the machete. Four of the suspect's friends jumped on me while I was on the ground with one handcuff on the first suspect's wrist, and began kicking me in the head, face, ribs, and groin to let their friend go. Joining in on the fun was hotel security (3) that began punching and kicking the four suspects and (me) and also trying to choke (me) out until they realized that I was the only cop there still holding on to the handcuff attached to the first suspect and where both of us were holding on to the machete. This was all captured on hotel video and was great viewing and exciting. Back up arrived, suspects were arrested, I went to the hospital with a concussion, bruises, contusions, sprains, two black eyes and temporary double vision. No monetary rewards were ever given to anyone to my knowledge. The point being, sometimes incidents in police work can get confusing, distorted and not go according to plan, as emotions are raging in all directions by everyone involved. In my humble opinion, the three kicks in the face of Mr. Greene while wrestling with the other officers, would be at best hard to justify by anyone involved, and of course watching the video over and over it is easy to relive the same thing happening to me again. I sincerely hope the discipline met out to SGT. Seekatz included additional training in hands-on confrontational arrest procedures and tactics. It would be a shame to discard and fire a veteran police officer for a mistake of very poor judgment in this particular use of force incident. As I have stated before, officers of a supervisory capacity do not do real police work any longer and should not involved themselves in the actual hands-on application of real police work. Leave the real police work to the real cops. Supervisory Officers main duties include supervising, policy enforcement, leadership duties and supervisory control, NOT actual police work, those days are over for the police supervisor. Just an old veteran cop reflecting,

    Gordon Martines

  32. @Kevin, there should probably be a font dedicated to sarcasm. No, Greene was not violent, combative, or drunk. But if you were reading the arrest report, and there was no video, what would your reaction be? That a noncompliant, combative and possible drunk motorist was taken down by Southern Nevada's finest?

    And that's the trouble with giving the police the benefit of the doubt. When it becomes the suspect's word against the cop's, the cop always wins. If the cop says he needed to use force to subdue a dangerous and noncompliant motorist, well, you give him the benefit of the doubt, and another beating goes unpunished. The only difference is in this case, NHP had a camera running.