June 4th is what I would consider to be the three year anniversary of the founding of Nevada Cop Block, back in 2012. Technically, NVCopBlock.org launched a few weeks earlier on May 25th, when I posted a “Help Wanted” request asking if anybody was interested in getting involved with the website. There were a few other posts within the next few days, but that consisted of police-related reposts from my personal blog, EYEAM4ANARCHY, which I just dumped on the page as filler until I got some actual content ready to post. There had also been some offline actions in the real world, mostly in response to events CopBlock.org had organized and fairly sporadically.
However, it was on June 4, 2012 that Pete Eyre formally welcomed us into the Cop Block family (or “Cop Block Network” as we like to call it now) and we were “officially” a local Cop Block affiliate. Prior to that, I had already met and Pete and Ademo Freeman during their Las Vegas stop with the Motor Home Diaries (along with Jason Talley) in 2009 and later when they were doing an extended version of that known as Liberty on Tour in 2010 (when I was involved in one of Cop Block’s first call floods), as well as when I went to Porcfest in 2011.
I considered them friends and had a lot of respect for the things they were doing, so I generally did what I could from afar to support whatever projects they were involved in. As a result, I was tangentially involved with Cop Block from somewhat early on, although I hadn’t officially written anything for the site. (I did post a fairly boring video to YouTube using the name “Las Vegas Cop Block,” which was intended more to recruit other people than to impress anyone.) Basically, I had been trying to create a Las Vegas based Cop Block affiliate and doing some filming around town for some time, but that lack of interest from others had kept me from formally announcing one.
Then on December 12, 2011, a friend of mine from high school, Stanley Gibson, was murdered by Jesus Arevalo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as he sat in his car, unarmed and in no way posing a threat to anyone. That, along with the typical cover-up that soon followed complete with the smearing of Stanley by those within the LVMPD, was the proverbial final straw and I decided that I would start a Nevada Cop Block affiliate even if I had to do it all by myself. Fortunately, that turned out to not be the case and the formation of a local Cop Block chapter actually attracted others. While, even to this day, I do the vast majority of the writing for this site, NVCopBlock has a fairly good sized group of members and associated groups within Las Vegas that support and contribute to the actions we do around town. In fact, within the past year Reno Cop Block has even joined the ranks of Cop Block affiliates.
Over the past three years, Nevada Cop Block has been one of the most active affiliates partly because Las Vegas area police keep right on killing people and refusing to hold any of their officers accountable, no matter how outrageous the circumstances. We’ve held protests and vigils for the many victims of those murders, including Stanley Gibson, Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, D’Andre Berghardt Jr., Michael Nida, Danielle Willard, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Antonio Zambrano-Montes and many others, including a dog named Bubba. Most of those have involved using chalk to write messages and tributes on the sidewalks around the places where the protests were held, something that we originally adapted from the national Cop Block, but that soon become “our thing.”
And much like what happened in Manchester earlier, in August of 2013 five of our own members (myself included) were arrested on ridiculous graffiti and “conspiracy to commit” graffiti charges. Fortunately, the charges themselves, as well as the monstrously inflated clean up cost of $1550 to wash chalk off a sidewalk, that was used to justify those charges, made it glaringly obvious that our arrests were nothing but an attempt to intimidate us and retaliate against us for the attention we were bringing to Metro’s lack of accountability and affinity for murder. The charges were soon dropped amid a pretty large uproar and the actual effect of those arrests was to bring even more attention to the many, many problems within the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments and their wasteful budgets.
All in all, I think it’s fair to say that NVCopBlock has had a good amount of success and positive influence within Las Vegas and even outside of Nevada, during various trips around the country. Although there were many other groups involved the attention that we helped bring to Metro’s crimes and wasteful spending no doubt played some part in former Sheriff Doug Gillespi deciding not to run for re-election and the subsequent defeat of his attempt to raise the sales tax in Clark County (which is largely comprised of Las Vegas and the surrounding area), in order to fund even more cops to harass, beat, and kill people, without any fear of consequences.
We’ve had a lot of small victories in these three years and a few big ones. We’ve also made a lot of great connections within the community both local and national. On a personal level, I’m now officially an editor for CopBlock.org and over the past few months the members of the “Cop Block Network” that Ademo has assembled have begun taking the national Cop Block site to a new level that looks to only be headed forward. As a result, I’m actually getting ready to put that “Help Wanted” sign back out there, so I can hopefully find someone to take over some of the day to day activity on NVCopBlock.org.
However, we still very much have our work cut out for us here. The LVMPD has still yet to ever, in the entire 40+ year history of their existence, hold a single police officer accountable for shooting someone, regardless of how suspicious the circumstances are and even when the person being shot was unarmed and completely innocent. That’s not track record to be proud of nor is it being a very good “partner with the community.” The police in and around Las Vegas like to talk about how much they are changing, but the results just don’t bear that out. Nevada Cop Block won’t be going away anytime soon. As long as the LVMPD keeps going out of their way to sweep their crimes under the rug, we’ll be there to pull that curtain back.
(Click the Headline to Go To the Original Post)
The LVMPD, along with other Las Vegas area police departments, has a long and sordid history of beating, killing, and otherwise abusing local residents. Beyond the complete lack of accountability for these actions, the aftermath is often economically costly for the community that they terrorize.
NVCopBlock.org’s first original post:
Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang. Many gang members are proud of their gang and freely admit their membership. Their personal belongings frequently boast the gang’s logo and the member’s gang name. Gangs generally share common characteristics such as the wearing of distinct clothing. However, some individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members.
They are usually armed, often unpredictable, travel in overwhelming numbers, and are not above attacking or even killing innocent people that are unlucky enough to be confronted by them. So, interacting with them individually can be very dangerous. If possible, make sure others are present and ALWAYS carry a camera to document any improprieties and ensure a neutral “witness.”
We bantered back-n-forth a bit and then, when we were about to leave, he said ” If I really wanted to be an ass, I could cite you for open carrying in Reno, because the Reno city ordinance overrides the state law about open carrying in the state of Nevada.” He then went on to tell us we should look it up and probably not open carry anymore and kept saying ”he was pretty sure it overrides the state ordinance.”
When he said that it came off VERY threatening and I wanted to start an argument right then and there, but that probably wouldn’t of been the best idea…
Once the video surfaced, the people in the community were understandably outraged by the obviously unnecessary nature of the beating inflicted on a visibly restrained man. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson saw it differently, though. In his initial review of the case, he came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be “in the community’s best interest” to punish Sgt. Seekatz (who has a history of complaints being filed against him predating this case) or any of the other officers because two years had passed since the incident happened.
Not surprisingly, that assessment was met with outrage by the community…
Over the years, Cop Block has expanded from a small “DIY” style project into a fully functioning independent media outlet with a prominent national online presence and over two-hundred (and counting) satellite organizations located in cities throughout the United States and even beyond those imaginary borders. The establishment of official Cop Block press passes represents the next step in that evolution in which we serve notice to the world that we won’t be marginalized or overlooked, but are asserting ourselves as a legitimate member of the media.
In an obvious and ridiculous attempt to intimidate them into ending their efforts to bring attention to the history of abuses, corruption, and outright murders by Las Vegas area police and a total lack of accountability for such by those that oversee local police departments, three members of the Sunset Activist Collective were given citations for “graffiti” based on writing with washable sidewalk chalk. (See below for video of the incident.)
J.R. Dazo, Kelly W. Patterson, and Ballentine, who have since been dubbed the “Sunset 3” were participating in Nevada Cop Block‘s monthly anti-police brutality protest and vigil known as “Second Saturdays” in front of the LVMPD’s headquarters…
At the end of this post I tried to warn the LVMPD that it was even in their best interest to hold cops accountable for their crimes. Ironically enough, they arrested me and four other members of NVCopBlock later that day:
Throughout their history, the LVMPD has consistently rated among the highest statistically nationwide (even when compared against cities with much higher populations) in times they have shot at people while on duty and in the level of fatalities resulting from those shootings. Stanley Gibson was just one of the latest names in the laundry list of the victims of Las Vegas police that includes Erik Scott (whose murderers were later given an award for bravery while gunning down someone from behind and then unloading their guns on him as he lay already dying on the ground), Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, Tanner Chamberlain, Deshira Selimaj, and Henry Rowe, among the 150+ shootings just since 1990.
Yet not one singular time in the close to forty year history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a Las Vegas area police officer ever been charged for shooting someone, regardless of whether the person shot was unarmed or even completely innocent of having committed any actual crime.
And this would be the post about us getting arrested for telling the LVMPD they should hold murderers accountable (although two of us were arrested initially, eventually charges were filed against five members of Nevada Cop Block):
Kelly Patterson & Brian Ballentine were kidnapped last night by employees of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and are now caged at the Clark County Detention Center…
To be clear – Patterson and Ballentine caused no victim. This is a free speech issue. The pair had been outside the headquarters of the LVMPD to participate in the monthly chalking done on the sidewalk to bring attention to the double-standards afforded to some predatory individuals who wear LVMPD badges (for example – in the history of the LVMPD not one employee has been found by internal investigations to have been in the wrong when involved in a shooting).
Soon after being released we joined with other local groups to fight the “More Cops Tax,” which, as the name implies, was a proposal to raise the sales tax, in order to hire even more cops, in spite of all the wasteful ways they spend the money they already get. It was eventually defeated.
The video at the bottom of this post, consisting of a compilation of various videos showing past instances of police brutality by members of the LVMPD, was submitted by Jason Nellis and uploaded to his YouTube channel in order to encourage Las Vegas residents to attend a January 21, 2014 Clark County Commission meeting, in which a vote will be held regarding Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s and Commissioner Tom Collins’ continued attempts to force through an increase in the county sales tax to hire even more cops.
Two months ago, on March 5th, I was struck by a hit and run driver while walking in downtown Las Vegas. Anybody that’s familiar with Las Vegas traffic knows that in itself isn’t exactly an unusual event. However, a string of incredibly oddly timed and interconnected events surrounding my own incident, including another local activist being hit by a car the previous day, have made many within the local activist community wonder if there wasn’t more to it than just a random car “accident.” In fact, some have even classified it as an assassination attempt by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Personally, I’m putting this out there because I feel that it’s important that people know about it and that there be a public record of it.
Yeah, the corruption runs deep in Las Vegas:
With the amount of corruption that takes place on a regular basis within Las Vegas area governments, it can be hard to stand out. However, (soon to be former) Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura and his deputy constables have actually managed to distinguish themselves among the roll call of corrupt officials in Clark County politics and even among the notoriously unaccountable members of Las Vegas law enforcement.
Bonaventura‘s latest scandal involves his cover up of the improper and illegal use of the Lexis Nexis “Accurint” database service to look up personal information on porn actresses by Deputy Chief Dean Lauer.
This was later ruled within their policy. (It’s OK though, because they promised not to do it anymore):
Officer Glowinski apparently wasn’t happy with the pace at which a man, named Dominic Generino (possibly spelled differently), was moving and decided to arrest him.
What happened next is that all of the other Metro police in the immediate vicinity dove on and began beating Generino. In particular, one of them, identified as Officer Kolkoski, begins jabbing his nightstick into Generino’s body (the descriptions indicate he is hitting him in the legs, but it’s not real clear exactly where he’s being hit on the video because of the number of cops involved) with such enthusiasm that he looses his balance. The fact Kolkoski knocked himself down and appears to almost injure himself by hitting his head against a nearby table doesn’t seem to diminish that enthusiasm very much, as he subsequently has to be pushed away by another (as of yet unidentified) officer, in order to prevent him from resuming his attack with the nightstick.
On May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld. (They were in fact released with time served.)
It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to even keep up with:
On Wednesday (May 27, 2015), Patrick Taylor turned himself in on charges involving child pornography, stemming from a March 19th raid on his house after investigations by the LVMPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Internal Affairs Bureau. According to Metro, he is being charged with a single count of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography. In spite of the seriousness of those charges, he has been released without bail after his initial court appearance at the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas, which took place Wednesday morning. The only conditions being that he promise not to contact his victim or to access the internet or social media.
Anybody that has been paying attention in recent times undoubtedly has noticed that one of the many crimes on the rise within the ranks of police officers are sex crimes. It’s getting rare when even a week goes by that CopBlock.org isn’t posting a story about a cop being caught using their position to rape or in some other way sexually exploit someone. In fact, this isn’t even the only time in recent history that a Las Vegas cop has been caught.