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Families of men and women killed by local law enforcement demand justice

List of demands sent to Nevada Legislature
Posted at 12:38 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 15:40:33-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A group of local families who have lost loved ones in confrontations with law enforcement has put together a list of demands they say will save lives.

The Forced Trajectory Project along with Families United 4 Justice sent 36 demands to the Nevada legislature ahead of the special session.

  1. Mandate independent investigations in all police related killings in Nevada; reopen cases in the last 30 years and all current cases moving forward.
  2. Return the victim's belongings to the family after the case is closed.
  3. Issue an independent liaison/advocate to impacted people to help navigate the criminal legal system and address their needs.
  4. Eliminate qualified immunity in the state of Nevada.
  5. Overturn U.S. Supreme Court cases Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor that justifies lethal force based on officers' “belief” that their lives or others' lives are in danger.
  6. The immediate resignation of Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and an investigation into the Clark County District Attorney’s office for prosecutorial misconduct, holding Wolfson criminally liable if misconduct is discovered.
  7. Abolish police unions, including the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.
  8. Removal of the restraint chair utilized in Clark County Detention Center that has been used to brutalize civilians including Nicholas Farah who died while being restrained in the chair.
  9. Repeal the Nevada Peace Officer Bill of Rights.
  10. Mandate periodic drug/alcohol testing and mental health evaluation for all police officers.
  11. Mandate drug/alcohol testing immediately after use-of-force incidents for all police officers involved.
  12. Create legislation surrounding body worn cameras, including: requiring all police officers regardless of seniority or ranking to wear them, requiring officers to leave their body worn cameras on while apprehending civilians including after civilian is officially in-custody, not allowing police to redact or edit footage and making the footage available immediately after the incident at no cost to the public.
  13. Release names and photographs of all officers involved in police homicides in the last 30 years and moving forward.
  14. Mandate community control over Nevada police department budgets.
  15. Create a Victim's of Police Homicide Compensation program to address the immediate needs of impacted people including protection from police intimidation, funeral costs, monetary compensation for job loss, access to medical and mental healthcare.
  16. Redirect and restructure first response dispatch to reduce emergency response handled by police.
  17. Release official reports, including the autopsy report, police reports, and crime scene investigation reports to survivors and/or impacted families within 45 days of the incident.
  18. Create legislation that mandates police officers to exhaust all possible ways of intervention, including de-escalation tactics before moving to utilize force, and attach accountability measures if protocol is not followed.
  19. Require police to have individual insurance so that police officers are held accountable individually when they violate civil and human rights.
  20. Remove the ability to receive administrative paid leave for officers involved in police homicide.
  21. Create a liaison who can advocate for the tribal community and foster communication between all governing bodies.
  22. Remove the ability for police officers guilty of excessive-use-of-force to take plea bargains.
  23. Immediate resignation of Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.
  24. Immediate termination of officers when they act in an unprofessional manner caught on body worn cameras.
  25. Restructure the civilian review board so that it is effective and representative of the community.
  26. Create a local, state, and national database displaying all police misconduct.
  27. Mandate a special prosecutor for all police related killings.
  28. Restructure police training entirely; eliminate the “shoot to kill” mentality, require recruits to have a four-year college degree in the social sciences, raise recruitment age to 25, and include effective crisis intervention training, cultural competency training, and extend the academy training period while allowing for the community to have a say in police training.
  29. Create departmental protocol for reporting in-custody deaths within 72 hours.
  30. Create protocols that preserve human life above detaining an injured person or a person with mental health issues and include accountability measures if not followed.
  31. Create legislation that holds police officers accountable for: tampering with the crime scene after they have killed someone, lying under oath, fabricating and/or withholding evidence.
  32. Demilitarize the LVMPD, all Nevada police departments, all police departments nationwide and reallocate funds to reinvest in the Black community, communities of Color, working class communities, education and mental health supports.
  33. Make accessible and public police radio channels.
  34. Expunge the arrest and criminal records of those proven to be wrongfully accused so that their arrest record does not further criminalize them.
  35. Restructure police homicide and in-custody death press conferences, requiring that they are independently run, and end the review of the arrest records of victims, reviewing only facts that pertain to the incident.
  36. Restructure the Public Fact Finding Review Process so that it is not merely demonstrative but functional in that a pathway is created for the directly impacted and witnesses to ask questions and make statements.

The families' demands include increased training for police officers, demilitarization of law enforcement and the resignation of both Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says the department has been proactive in enacting police reform.

“Currently, LVMPD continues to assess and implement new ideas in policing. We have shown a commitment in making changes as they relate to revisions in policy, amendments to police practices, adjustments in police training, and improvements in police accountability. We ask our community and elected officials to share their concerns and to work collaboratively with us to help find the right answers to these many difficult problems.”

District Attorney Steve Wolfson, who the group says has not held local law enforcement accountable, also released a statement to 13 Action News.

"For the eight years I have served as the Clark County District Attorney, I have committed to being transparent to our community—especially in instances of officer-involved use of force/death cases. Every time an officer takes the life of one of our citizens while in the line of duty, an Assistant D.A. and/or a Chief Deputy D.A. responds to the scene, so we hear first-hand the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. However, my office is not an investigative agency, nor do we have the resources to become one. After each officer-involved death case is investigated and submitted to my office for review, a preliminary determination is made as to whether the officer acted criminally, as defined by Nevada law. If evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges, we move to a public hearing in the way of a Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review (PFPFFR). This is both televised and open to the public and allows for questions to be submitted to the hearing officer. Additionally, an ombudsperson is appointed to represent the interest of the family of the decedent and the public in general (who may ask questions through the ombudsperson). After the public hearing is concluded, a final determination is made as to whether the officer acted criminally. If the preliminary decision of non-criminality is upheld, a complete report is posted on the Clark County District Attorney’s website [clarkcountynv.gov]. This report documents, in detail, the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the incident, the incident itself, and the investigation that followed. The loss of one of our citizens in this way is tragic, and I sympathize with those families who have had to endure such a loss.

As to any claim that I have failed to hold officers accountable, I would simply point out that my role as the D.A. is to prosecute persons where we believe it is warranted under the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Police officers are no different than any member of our community in that respect. If there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution my office is ready, willing and able to prosecute a law enforcement officer. Currently, my office is prosecuting approximately 15 police officers for a variety of crimes including sexual assault, domestic battery, driving under the influence of alcohol, oppression, theft, embezzlement, burglary, and trafficking in a controlled substance, just to name a few. It is nonsense to suggest that my office is not willing to prosecute law enforcement officers when we are currently prosecuting so many of them.My obligation is to ensure that Nevada law is upheld, and my decisions are based on the evidence presented to my office for review. I recognize that no system is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. I appreciate the concerns and frustrations of members of the community calling for reform. I have, and will continue to, support productive and respectful conversations that will help to bring about such reform."