Las Vegas Sun

May 30, 2015

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Metro Police board urges firing of officer involved in shooting

A Metro Police officer who shot a man in the leg last year should be terminated, the department’s Use of Force Board has recommended.

Officer Jacquar Roston was relieved of duty with pay last week pending a pre-termination board hearing, where a ruling will be made, Metro officials said.

The incident in question happened Nov. 11 while Roston was responding to a domestic violence call in the eastern valley. A woman called 911 to report that her ex-boyfriend had beaten her and damaged her vehicle, police said.

When police arrived, the woman exited the vehicle and her ex-boyfriend remained inside. As Roston was speaking to the ex-boyfriend, he shot the man in the leg, police said. The man suffered injuries not considered life threatening.

Roston apparently mistook a hat with a metallic sticker as a weapon when the man reached under the seat and grabbed the clothing item, said Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.

Collins said Roston was acting on a perceived threat — and thus defending himself and others — when he fired at the man. As such, the union believes the officer-involved shooting falls in line with Nevada law, he said.

“We do not believe any evidence was presented that would warrant termination,” Collins said, adding that he was surprised by the board’s decision.

Metro officials would not comment about the board’s rationale for seeking termination. The Use of Force Board is a mix of residents and department personnel.

“That would be something very inappropriate to discuss,” Metro spokesman Bill Cassell said.

Roston, 36 at the time of the shooting, has worked for Metro since April 2009. He was assigned to the patrol division of the Southeast Area Command.

Metro officials said this is the first time the board has recommended termination, although Collins said an officer was terminated several years ago for shooting at a vehicle on the Las Vegas Strip.

Collins expects the pre-termination board hearing to occur within 60 days. Police said it would be a closed-door hearing.

Until then, the police union plans to review documents related to the incident, Collins said.

“We will build our case to defend the actions of Officer Roston,” he said.

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