Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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Grand jury refuses to indict cop who killed unarmed veteran


Las Vegas Metro Police Department

A screen shot from a video of Sheriff Doug Gillespie to Metro Police employees regarding the Clark County district attorney’s decision to take the Stanley Gibson officer-involved shooting case to a grand jury for investigation.

A Clark County grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict Metro Police officer Jesus Arevalo for his involvement in the December 2011 fatal shooting of a Las Vegas man, according to a police union statement.

Stanley Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran, was shot and killed by Arevalo on Dec. 12, 2011, after several officers responded to a burglary call at a condominium complex. Gibson, who was unarmed at the time, was said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife said.

In October, the Clark County district attorney convened a grand jury to hear Arevalo’s case and potentially decide whether criminal charges were warranted. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public and only become part of the public record if an indictment is returned.

Las Vegas Police Protective Association Executive Director Chris Collins said he was relieved but not surprised the grand jury did not indict Arevalo.

“We have maintained since (the night of the shooting) that the shooting was not criminal,” Collins said.

Collins called the shooting a tragedy and said mistakes were made by officers, but because there was no intent, he said the shooting was not criminal.

“You must have intent to commit a crime. There was no intent … It was police officers who were doing their job and a chain of events took place that led to (Gibson’s) death,” Collins said.

Gibson was shot after police responded to a burglary call at a northwest valley condominium near Smoke Ranch Road and Rainbow Boulevard.

After being approached by police, Gibson, who was allegedly disoriented and distraught, refused to surrender and allegedly rammed his white Cadillac into a patrol car, according to police records.

Officers used two patrol cars to box in Gibson’s car, pinning him there for more than an hour. When Gibson continued to try and drive away and ignored police orders, officers developed a plan to use a beanbag round fired from a shotgun to break a window on Gibson’s car and then fill the cabin with pepper spray, forcing him out.

When the beanbag round was fired, Arevalo fired seven live rounds from his rifle, striking and killing Gibson.

Attorney Andre Lagomarsino, who is representing Stanley Gibson’s mother Celeste in a civil suit against Metro, Arevalo and two other officers, said it was hard to comment on the grand jury’s finding because there was no way of knowing what evidence was presented.

“We don’t know what was or wasn't presented to the grand jury,” he said. “I think that having the grand jury in secret only served to increase the outrage of the public and its interest in knowing what went on (that night).”

Lagomarsino said the evidence he’s seen shows that police had Gibson surrounded and that he posed no threat to the officers or anyone else.

“From what we’ve learned so far, there is absolutely no justification to kill Stanley Gibson inside of 30 minutes from when they stopped him,” Lagomarsino said.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, who brought the case to seek a criminal indictment, will not comment on the grand jury's actions, according to a spokeswoman.

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