Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2018

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Guilty cop to serve time elsewhere

Federal authorities don't yet know what kind of accommodations former Metro Police Officer Christopher Brady will have for the next nine years. They do know, however, that they won't be in Nevada.

"We take this very serious. If prisoners are former law enforcement officers, we don't want them anywhere near where they were employed for their safety," Dyan Griffin, Federal Bureau of Prisons public information officer, said. "If an officer was from Long Beach, we would try to place him somewhere on the East Coast."

Brady pleaded guilty Thursday to a civil rights violation in connection with the shooting death of Daniel Mendoza. The former Metro officer told U.S. District Judge Philip Pro that he and his former partner, Ron Mortensen, set out in the early morning of Dec. 28, 1996, with the intent of harassing Hispanics.

Mendoza died of a gunshot wound to the chest when Mortensen fired a weapon from the vehicle in which Brady was driving. Mortensen was convicted as the gunman in 1997 and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in a prison out of the state. A state prison official said that was for his safety.

Brady pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the fair housing and equal property rights of Hispanic residents of Las Vegas. He agreed to a nine-year prison sentence and could receive up to a $250,000 fine when sentenced Nov. 22. Parole will not be an option, but he could get time off for good behavior after serving 80 percent of the sentence.

Griffin said the Bureau of Prisons looks at a number of factors when determining where to place former law enforcement officers, among them the length of their sentences and the type of offense.

Facilities range from minimum security camps all the way to maximum security facilities, Griffin said. "We also take into consideration the judge's recommendation," Griffin said. "We try as often as we can to comply with the court's recommendation."

Former officers are mixed in with the general prison population and they typically "don't readily announce who they are," Griffin said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Garber said because the Bureau of Prisons is solely responsible for making the decision, his office doesn't usually involve itself in the prison selection process.

"Even if the judge recommends a place, the decision is solely in the hearts and minds of the Bureau of Prisons," Garber said. "The judge can not make a recommendation or he could make a recommendation, but he will always point out to the defendant that the Bureau of Prisons is not obliged to follow it."