Judge denies stay in release of Las Vegas shooting records - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Judge denies stay in release of Las Vegas shooting records

LAS VEGAS — Clark County District Court Judge, Stefany Miley told lawyers for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that she was tired of the stalling by the police in releasing records pertaining to the October 1 massacre.

“It’s now months since the shooting occurred, and it’s the same. Delay, delay, delay, Miley said Tuesday. “If one technique doesn’t work, then you switch to another one. That’s very concerning for the court.”

Miley denied a stay that was sought by the LVMPD on releasing the records. She also denied a motion by attorneys for the police that would have allowed for reconsideration on releasing all the evidence.

Lawyers for the LVMPD said they will file an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court to halt the release of documents and evidence in their possession.

On Feb. 7 Clark County District Court Judge, Richard Scotti ruled that the LVMPD had to release thousands of pages of documents, including 911 calls, surveillance/ body camera footage and other evidence that was in the possession of the police. Scotti said that the public has a right to know if the police are properly doing their job.

That evidence was used as the basis of conclusions made by the LVMPD in their 81-page Preliminary Investigative Report that was released on Jan. 19 by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who runs the LVMPD. No supporting evidence accompanied that report, and none has been released to date.

Attorneys for the LVMPD then demanded that the media pay a range of fees from $233,750 to $458,159 for the records.

On March 9, Judge Scotti ruled that the LVMPD could not charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for the records in their possession.

Scotti wrote in his decision, “Given the strong public policy in favor of production, the Media must never be compelled to pay an exorbitant fee to obtain records, even if the Media elects not to give any reason for the request. An excessive fee is an antithesis to government accountability. … The government cannot frustrate the Media’s efforts to obtain information on behalf of the public by charging exorbitant fees.”

Scotti asked the LVMPD’s attorneys to respond to the court with appropriate fees and ordered the LVMPD to start complying immediately with the media’s request through a “rolling production” of documents and records.

On March 19, attorneys for the police filed a motion for the court to reconsider and asked for a new judge to hear their motion. The case was transferred to Judge Miley.

Unless the Nevada Supreme Court grants an emergency order while the appeal is pending, the LVMPD would still have to comply with the court’s ruling and start producing the records.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo is seeking re-election for a second term as Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada.

The primaries are in June. Lombardo is challenged by four other candidates.

Wasting tax-payer dollars to fight a court-ordered ruling just might not sit very well with Clark County voters.

How about complying with the court order Sheriff Lombardo.

Maybe you can put that money to better use, like ensuring that all your patrol officers are equipped with AR-15 platform rifles and or purchase another armored vehicle, so your department will not have to request help from a private company as you did the night of October 1.

This is just another spoke in the wheel of Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s incompetence that we have seen throughout the criminal investigation of the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

The families of the victims and the survivors of the October 1 massacre want answers as do the public. Clark County District Court Judges Richard Scotti and Stefany Miley agreed.

Lombardo obviously does not.

Hindering the public’s right to know and further non-transparency will be another public relations nightmare for Lombardo, whether he is re-elected or not.

Is this stone-walling by Lombardo purposely done because there might be something in those records that might be embarrassing and or lead to more controversy if released before the election.

Under Lombardo’s reign, police officers compromised the integrity of the October 1 criminal investigation when they leaked photographs of the crime scene to the press. To date, we have heard nothing from Lombardo on that. The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to report that one of those officers was one of Lombardo’s commanders. Has anyone been fired?

If you remember, two weeks after the release of the Preliminary Investigative Report, the 300 pages of LVMPD search warrants and affidavits for probable cause were released by order of the court. LVMPD lawyers also fought against that release.

In one of those affidavits for a search warrant, we found out that a police sergeant had provided false information to a judge when he swore under oath that police officers witnessed Stephen Paddock ‘place a gun to his head and fire one round,’when they breached Paddock’s suite.

That same officer also stated under oath that he was called out and responded to the Mandalay Bay, and arrived at about 2216 hours to assume the responsibility of investigating a possible officer-involved shooting.

That same police sergeant was one of the authors of the 81-page Preliminary Investigative Report. It would be prudent to question the entire content of that report, which can only be corroborated by the records and evidence that the police are now going to the highest court in the state to halt the release of.

Never forget the 58 people who were killed and the over 800 who were wounded and or injured in the worst mass shooting in modern American history that occurred on the Las Vegas Strip, October 1, 2017.

It’s all for them. It should never have happened.

 


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a United States Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 35 years of real-world investigative experience. He has 19 years experience in a hotel and casino environment, 14 of which were in security management positions. In 1986 he was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. Contact the author.
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