Seems fair to me...NOT!

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, May 26, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    Thursday, May 23, 2002
    Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

    EXCESSIVE FORCE: LV officers get minor suspensions
    Suspect suffered broken neck in incident

    By J.M. KALIL

    A Las Vegas police officer, caught on videotape punching a handcuffed suspect, and a sergeant who withheld the tape have been given minor suspensions for violating department policies.

    Internal Affairs Bureau investigators determined officer David D. Miller used excessive force and his supervisor, Sgt. Leonard Marshall, neglected duty in the November incident, police said Wednesday.

    Both officers received a minor suspension, which is defined by the department's disciplinary guidelines as eight to 40 hours. Officer Tirso Dominguez, a spokesman for the department, declined to reveal the specific length of the suspensions, citing a privacy policy regarding personnel issues.

    On Nov. 7, Miller arrested Frankie Davis, 33, at the Las Vegas Club, where he was accused of trespassing. Video surveillance at the downtown casino captured the images of the arrest.

    The videotape shows Davis resisting the 26-year-old officer. In a later image, Davis is handcuffed on the ground when Miller jabs him in the head with his fist. Davis suffered a broken neck in the altercation.

    Gary Peck, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the punishment indicates the department is not seriously committed to making officers accountable for using excessive force.

    "What the officers got were, in effect, slaps on the wrist," Peck said. "That sends the wrong message to the public and certainly sends the wrong message to officers."

    Earlier this year, prosecutors decided not to charge Miller criminally, saying he used a reasonable amount of force to subdue a resisting suspect. Prosecutors said Davis' injury was caused by his own attempts to resist the officer.

    A federal lawsuit filed by Davis alleges that security officers watched as Miller slammed Davis against the wall in the security room. The police officer then took Davis into the hallway, according to the lawsuit.

    Miller "then proceeded to forcefully slam plaintiff Frankie Davis' head at least twice against the wall of the hallway with such force that a mark was left in the wall," the complaint alleges. That action is not captured on the videotape.

    Attorney Barry Levinson, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Davis, said Wednesday he has taken the depositions of the security officers who witnessed the entire incident and confirmed his client's account.

    Levinson blasted the discipline given to the two officers as "extremely light."

    "It's a joke. That's not real punishment for what happened," Levinson said. "They got off easy and there's a reason for it."

    Levinson said he believes the department gave the officers light sentences because more serious penalties could strengthen the civil lawsuit filed against the department.

    "Instead of coming out and saying, `We've got one bad officer and we need to make a change,' they'd rather just protect themselves," Levinson said.

    Davis eventually was booked at the Las Vegas City Jail on a trespassing charge. There, he complained of being injured, prompting city detention officials to investigate. They eventually uncovered the videotape and forwarded it to Las Vegas police.

    Police said Marshall, 36, obtained a copy of the tape on the night of the incident. Yet police administrators did not learn of the matter until mid-December.

    Peck said the delay shows there is a systemic problem with the department's internal investigation process.

    "What you have here is a serious excessive force case where a man's neck was broken and a supervising officer who failed to pass that info up the chain of command," Peck said. "It simply wasn't handled properly."
  2. wes

    wes Guest

    Someone that's handcuffed is helpless,there is NEVER any justification to mis-treat them. I never did that to any prisoner when I was a jailor,and I don't think that a Police dept. should put-up with it from an Officer.