Following the 12th fatal shooting by officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the ACLU of Nevada and the NAACP are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Metro's use of deadly force.
The fatal shooting on December 13 of Stanley Gibson, an unarmed African American veteran who was exhibiting signs of psychological distress, was not unique. It is in fact part of a larger, long-term pattern of questionable shootings by Metro. These shootings, examined in their entirety, indicate that Metro has systemic problems with training, policy, and supervision protocols, amounting to a troubling "pattern or practice" of behavior.
Police officers’ ability to use lethal force cannot be unlimited nor used improperly. Last year, ACLU of Nevada worked to reform the Coroner's Inquest process in Clark County to provide a full, independent investigation into any officer-involved death. Since the new process took effect, the Clark County Police Protective Association has been using every means possible to fight this improved, and constitutional, process. However, even with the reformed process, the Clark County District Attorney’s office does not routinely investigate deaths causes by police shootings. Additionally, Metro itself is currently is not accountable to any other governmental body.
The ACLU of Nevada believes that the District Attorney should investigate officer-involved deaths more thoroughly and that Metro needs to be held accountable. This is why outside intervention, by a Department of Justice investigation, appears necessary, and is being called for by the ACLU of Nevada.
- "Federal inquiry sought into Las Vegas police shootings" Las Vegas Review-Journal - December 14, 2011
- "NAACP and ACLU call for outside probes of Las Vegas police slaying of unarmed Gulf War veteran" Washington Post - December 15, 2011