Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2017

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Inquest into police shooting to be broadcast on cable TV

Summerlin Costco Shooting

Metro crime scene investigators, officers and detectives mill about the entrance of the Costco store in Summerlin after the shooting July 10, 2010. Launch slideshow »

A coroner’s inquest into the July 10 police shooting of Erik Scott outside a Summerlin Costco store will be shown on Clark County’s cable television station, and county commissioners asked county staff to broadcast all future inquests.

Commissioners on Tuesday approved the broadcast. They needed to give their OK because the Sept. 22 inquest conflicts with a commission meeting, which is normally shown the station.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak requested the inquest be shown after receiving phone calls and e-mails from constituents following a recent inquest into the police shooting of Trevon Cole, he said.

Cole’s shooting was found justified by the coroner’s jury, but the case drew even more public interest about the shooting of Scott. Metro Police said he pointed a gun at officers, but family members dispute the police version.

The commission’s zoning meeting will still be held Sept. 22, but it will not be shown on television so the inquest, which is scheduled to run Sept. 22-24, can be broadcast in its entirety.

Cox Communications has agreed to help with the technical setup for the event at no cost to the county, Sisolak said.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said he was concerned the inquest was only being shown because of interest in the case of Scott, who is white, while the cases of Cole and other blacks were treated differently.

“The sad part about it, it’s become a black and white and brown issue. It really has,” Weekly said. “You hear from the brown and black community: Well, what happened in our community? We’ve had a number of these cases. It’s a white male now, and because it’s become so public and so many people are talking about it, it’s become such an emotional issue, whereas in our community it comes and it goes away and nobody knows where to go and who to talk to.”

Sisolak said the interest in the last case is what brought it to his attention to suggest the change.

“It’s because I got so many calls and complaints about the last one that this came forward,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said she hopes people don’t use the inquests to make emotional judgments. Perhaps there should be some sort of an introduction or explanation broadcast with the inquest, she said.

Lisa Mayo, a spokeswoman for the Scott family, said the family supports the broadcast. But the family hopes viewers will be a catalyst for changing the inquest process, she said, before reading a letter from the Scott family to the commissioners.

“We support televising Erik Scott’s coroner’s inquest hearing on Sept. 22 and 23, not because we support or have any confidence in the current inquest process but because we know Erik would want his fellow Las Vegas citizens to see for themselves just how one-sided and unfair this process and the investigation into officer involved shootings really is,” the letter said.

In addition to the county station, which broadcasts on Cox Communications Channel 4, KLAS-TV plans to broadcast the inquest on digital cable Channel 128, and KSNV-TV will carry the inquest live on Cox Cable 123.

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