It Won't Stay in Vegas: The Metro PD's Homeland Security Theater

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The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has an acute public relations problem: Officers in its employ routinely murder and mutilate innocent people. The established review procedure for police killings is at least as predictable as a Zimbabwean presidential election.

Former Nevada District Court Judge Don Chairez, has described the Clark County Coroner’s inquest process as “a search for justification of an officer’s actions.” Since the procedure was introduced in 1969, hundreds of lethal force incidents have been reviewed by a seven-member jury. Between 1976 and 2012, only one police shooting was ruled “negligent” – and that decision was overturned on appeal.

This was the intended outcome of a process that was collaborative, rather than adversarial: The District Attorney’s office choreographs the questioning with the police department prior to the hearing, and no direct cross-examination of police officers is permitted by attorneys representing the victim.

“He made me do my job”

Andre Laomarsino, who represented the family of 21-year-old police murder victim Trevon Cole in a 2010 inquest, explained to me that “We were allowed to submit written questions, one at a time, to the prosecutor.” He wasn’t allowed to pose questions directly to Cole’s murderer, Officer Bryan Yant (a repeat offender), or even to ask follow-up questions.

Yant shot Cole in his apartment while his finance, Sequoia Pearce, was kneeling on the floor with a gun to her head. The 21-year-old man had been targeted by a narcotics enforcement team for a series of “controlled buys” that were captured by a film crew from the execrable police state propaganda program COPS.

Cole was suspected of selling 1.8 ounces of marijuana in one of Metro’s staged drug buys – a quantity that probably wouldn’t have merited even a misdemeanor prosecution. Although the undercover operatives diligently tried to entice Cole into selling larger amounts, he adamantly refused to do so.

Unable to connect Cole to a serious crime, Yant did what police officers in such circumstances always do: he lied, deliberately misidentifying Cole in a search warrant affidavit as another man with the same name who had a different birthday and weighed about 100 pounds less than his target, who was a former college football player. This permitted Yant to depict Cole as a dangerous repeat offender, which led a judge to approve an armed, night-time raid on Cole’s home.

The film crew wasn’t available on the night of the killing, which meant the officers wouldn’t be able to preen for the cameras. This probably left Yant – who had brought along his personal AR-15 – with a severe case of blue balls. So as a consolation prize he kicked in the door to Cole’s apartment, chased him into the bathroom, and killed him despite the fact that the terrified young man had his hands raised over his head.

During his inquest, Yant followed the familiar script, claiming that Cole – who was unarmed and outnumbered – “made an aggressive act toward me,” which he insisted was “enough to make me fear for my life.”

According to Yant, Cole “made me do my job” – which was to manipulate harmless people into committing prosecutable acts, perjure himself to obtain judicial permission for a home invasion, and then kill an innocent person without provocation or personal consequences.

The Erik Scott Murder

A few weeks after Bryan Yant gunned down Trevon Cole, three of his comrades – led by Officer William Mosher – “did their job” by murdering 38-year-old Erik Scott as he was leaving a Costco store.

Scott, an honorably discharged soldier and West Point graduate, was legally carrying a concealed weapon during his July 10, 2010 visit to the store. A clerk noticed the gun and told Scott, incorrectly, that the store had a policy forbidding guns on the premises. Another employee called the police and reported that an armed, irrational man was terrorizing the customers.

When the police arrived, patrons were told to leave because of an emergency. Scott, who was with his girlfriend, was leaving the store when he was confronted by Mosher.

No more than two seconds Mosher yelled, “Hands! Let me see your hands!” the panicking officer fired two shots into Scott at point-blank range. Without determining what had happened, Officer Thomas Mendiola fired three shots at the victim. A third officer, Joshua Stark, shot him twice.

The official account was that Scott had pulled his gun and pointed it at Mosher. In fact, the object in Scott’s hand was a Blackberry. His registered gun was still in its holster. When it became clear that Scott hadn’t drawn his gun, the police narrative shifted (as has been documented in detailby investigative writer Mike McDaniel). In support of that revised version, investigators pretended that after Scott had been shot by Mosher, he attempted to reach a second handgun – an unregistered Ruger — that he supposedly carried in his right front pocket.

That gun, which Scott had purchased as a gift for his mother, was actually in his apartment at the time he was murdered. The Metro Police acquired it in an illegal search – better described as a “black-bag job” – and then subjected it to a phony ballistics test intended to prove that it been damaged when Mendiola shot Scott in the right leg. This was impossible, since the injuries to Scott’s leg were several inches below his pocket.

None of this mattered in the official inquest – because facts are inconsequential in that proceeding. All that counted was a police officer’s subjective impression that his incomparably precious life – or that of a fellow member of the sanctified brotherhood of official coercion — faced some unspecified threat.

“I felt that my fellow officer was in immediate and imminent danger,” testified Mendiola, dutifully reciting from the police union’s catechism of self-exculpation. “I just fired until I felt that the suspect wasn’t a threat.”

When he was asked about the fact that Scott’s firearm never left its holster, Mendiola replied with a verbal shrug.

“It was still a threat, whether it was holstered or not,” he blithely stated. “I did what I had to do.”

On this construction, a police officer in Las Vegas would be entitled to kill any Mundane who is carrying a holstered weapon. Every officer who testified (that is, perjured) himself at the inquest emphasized the idea that by carrying an unregistered Ruger, Scott had committed a felony – even though there was no evidence that Scott had that weapon in his possession at the time he was murdered.

Significantly, by the time the Erik Scott inquest occurred, Officer Mendiola was under investigation for a firearms-related felony involving an unregistered Ruger pistol. Just days after helping to murder Erik Scott because his legally owned firearm was perceived as a “threat” to officer safety, Mendiola gave a Ruger .22-caliber handgun to a convicted felon named Robert Justice.

Originally charged with a felony, Mendiola was allowed to plead guilty to a “gross misdemeanor” charge, fined $2,000, and allowed to leave the Metro Police Force with his peace officer certification intact.

“Heroic Deeds” of official murder

The coroner’s inquest “was the most amazing travesty of justice,” Bill Scott, Erik’s father, told Pro Libertate. “It was entirely devoid of due process.”

“The side representing the victim has no input at all,” Scott continued. “It cannot question witnesses directly. Written questions are handed to a bailiff, who submits them to the judge, who decides whether or not they will be asked. We submitted 1200 questions over the course of a six-day hearing, which was the longest in the history of the inquest. The judge effectively disposed of all of them. In his final instructions to the jury, the judge reduced the mater to one question: `Did the officers who fired believe their lives were in danger?’”

All three of the officers involved in the murder of Erik Scott were exonerated by the inquest – and in what can only be construed as a deliberate gesture of contempt toward the public, the Las Vegas Police Protective Agency (PPA) nominated two of them, Mosher and Stark, for consideration as “national officer of the year” in 2011. Mendiola’s felony charge is the only reason he was snubbed for consideration.

PPA commissar Chris Collins referred to the murder of Erik Scott as one of the “top two heroic events our officers participated in” during 2010. He didn’t specify whether the other “heroic” act was Brian Yant’s murder of Devon Cole.

“I don’t see it as a controversial shooting,” Collins smugly told the Review-Journal. “It was a heroic deed and enough of a heroic deed for the judges [with the National Association of Police Organizations awards] to give them an honorable mention.”

“That’s typical of Collins,” Scott observes. “He is a monumentally arrogant individual, because his union runs the police force. Collins and the PPA will justify any fatality, any use of force, any beating – and [Sheriff Doug] Gillespie doesn’t have the guts to challenge them.”

Like Brian Yant, Bill Mosher – who has the physiognomy, but not the talent, to find honest work as a Curly Howard impersonator — is a repeat offender who has learned that he can kill with impunity.

“Bill Mosher, the cop who murdered Erik, is a former prison guard in Massachusetts who somehow wound up as a casino guard in Las Vegas,” Bill Scott points out. “He got hired in the mid-2000s at a time when Metro was hiring like crazy and were somewhat indiscriminate. His training officer refused to graduate him, saying that he was unsuitable to be a cop. Metro said, in effect, `We just need boots on the streets.’ Within a year, Moser had shot and killed someone on the streets, and four years later he shot Erik. So he had two fatal shootings in the first five years as a cop.”

Sociopaths in uniform 

Yant and Mosher are entirely representative of the dominant element within the Metro Police Force, according to Scott.

“Here’s the breakdown of the police composition, as described to us by some good cops – most retired, some still active,” Scott explains. “About twenty-five percent of Metro cops are what could be characterized as rogue or bad cops. Another 25 percent are simply trying to keep their jobs, their paychecks, and their pensions. Roughly half are conscientious people who became police for the right reasons – but they are frustrated by the system. As one of them told me, `It’s difficult to do the right thing when you’re working for a vindictive tyrant.’ For this reason the good cops don’t step up and confront the bad ones.”

If “good cops” are intimidated by fellow Metro officers, the public has every right to be terrified of them. Public outrage over the Metro PD’s reign of terror prompted the Las VegasReview-Journal, which otherwise faithfully carries out its duties as a local government-aligned newspaper, to commit an act of journalism. The paper ran a lengthy series exposing the entrenched corruption of the coroner’s inquest process.  This led to intervention by the US Justice Department, which took official notice of the impunity enjoyed by the department’s hired killers and urged a handful of trivial “reforms” upon the Metro Police.

Last year, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie announced the creation of an enhanced Force Review process in which shootings would be examined by a panel composed of three officers and four Mundanes. Gillespie promised that the panel would be representative of the “community,” that it would have unfettered access to information, and that its deliberations would be transparent. However, that body has no authority to fire or discipline officers who engage in criminal violence against innocent people. Those decisions would be made by Sheriff Gillespie – as dictated by the PPA.

In late July and early August, six members of the Use of Force Board resigned in disgust after Gillespie refused to fire Officer Jacquar Rostson, who shot and seriously wounded an innocent man the previous November. In his appearance before the Board last April, Roston displayed the contemptuous arrogance one would expect from a member of the punitive caste, insisting that his actions were entirely appropriate, and defiantly promising that he would commit the same crime again under similar circumstances. The board unanimously recommended that Roston be fired.

When Roston attended a pre-termination hearing a month later, he made a ritualistic and patently insincere gesture of affected contrition. In an act of cheap grace, Gillespie said that Roston had suffered enough and imposed a week-long suspension.

This, in turn, led to the resignation of Board co-chairman Robert Martinez and five other members of the panel, including Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody.

“Why are we here?” asked former Board member Robert Le Piere, a retired police officer from New Jersey, describing Gillespie’s act in overturning their decision as “offensive.”

Running up the false flag 

The mass resignations from the Force Review Board presented another potentially huge PR problem for the Metro Police. Fortunately, its federally funded Counter-Terrorism Center had put a contingency plan into action at the same time the Roston controversy began last April – a false-flag operation involving the Regime’s preferred domestic enemy, the “Sovereign Citizens” movement.

For about a year, the Metro Police had been conducting surveillance on an ex-convict from California named David Allen Brutsche, a registered sex offender with six felonies on his record. In several traffic stops, Brutsche expressed hostility toward the police in language influenced by “Sovereign” ideology.

If there is a central casting agency for Homeland Security Theater operations – and, for all I know, there is one – Brutsche is someone who could have been built to its specifications. Last April, as the inquest into the Roston shooting got underway, Metro officers arrested him while he was selling water on the Strip. They then deposited him in a cell with a disreputable-looking specimen who played on Brutsche’s animosity toward the department.

Brutsche’s cellmate was Detective Scott R. Majewski, a fellow who is paid nearly $120,000 a year to keep political dissidents under surveillance and orchestrate what he has brazenly described as “theater” operations targeting them. Majewski’s LinkedIn profile boasts that he has “provided training nationally” in such areas as “domestic terrorism” and the use of “Confidential Informants.” It also prominently mentions his connections with the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center, a quasi-private political police and propaganda agency that indoctrinates law enforcement agencies about the supposed threat posed by political non-conformists.

When Brutsche was released from jail, Majewski offered to introduce him to others who shared “Sovereign” views – all of whom were police operatives as well. At some point, the group was expanded to include a 67-year-old woman named Devon Campbell Newman, whose role in this affair was to provide a “co-conspirator” who had no connection to the police force.

Over the next several months, Majewski and his comrades met with Brutsche and Newman thirty times, inflaming Brutsche’s already passionate resentment toward the Metro Police Force and manipulating him into participating in a police-orchestrated “plot” to kidnap officers, put them on trial, execute them, and dump their bodies in the desert.

This was a local adaptation of a familiar script used by the FBI in Homeland Security Theater operations targeting Muslims. Every element of the supposed plot to kidnap and murder police was devised by Majewski and his cohorts. Brutsche was reportedly receptive to the plan devised by the undercover operatives. Newman – an elderly lady who had never been in trouble with the police – would later claim that she wanted to extricate herself, but was afraid that either Brutsche or one of the others might kill her.

Shortly after the Roston inquest ended and the board resignations began, Majewski and a still-unidentified undercover operative decided to escalate the scripted “plot” to an operational phase.

On August 20, they summoned Brutsche and Newman to a meeting in abandoned warehouse that had been rented by the department. In a performance that merited Oscar consideration, the unnamed police operative denounced a recent police shooting and claimed that the victim was a fellow Sovereign. Playing a supporting role as a shill, Majewski insisted that there was no more time to wait – the kidnap-and-murder plan had to be put into effect.

Brutsche, significantly, came down with a case of cold feet. Newman, who was already terrified about her own welfare, was brow-beaten into saying that she would participate. That was enough to overcome Brutsche’s reluctance. As the two patsies left the warehouse, a SWAT team descended on them. A few hours later their grim and sullen mugshots were ubiquitous in media accounts describing how the Metro Police had infiltrated and disrupted a devious plot by “anti-government extremists” to abduct and murder police.

A typical news account drawing on Metro’s press releases following the arrest claimed that “Undercover Metro officers infiltrated the group … [and learned] of their detailed plans to `snatch and grab’ random police officers, try them for treason in a `sovereign’ court and execute them….”

All of this is a lie, of course: There was no “group” before Metro arrested Brutsche on a pretext and stuck him in a cell with Majewski, who was also the one who created the “detailed plans” as part of the false-flag op.

But such details mattered as little in the Metro-orchestrated homeland security theater production as they do in the department’s Potemkin police shooting reviews. The objective was to trigger an avalanche of melodramatic headlines – supplemented with appropriately alarming courtroom photos – describing a deadly plot against the heroic Metro Police,  and to associate criticism of the agency with a convicted child molester.

It won’t stay in Vegas

In every homeland security theater operation, the initial headlines about the foiled “plot” are stentorian, and subsequent corrections are issued sotto voce. The purported Las Vegas police murder conspiracy follows the standard formula: On September 25, the Clark County DA dropped all murder conspiracy charges against Brutsche and Newman, who now face a single count of conspiracy to commit kidnaping

This is a prelude to a plea agreement that will probably dispose of the case without the inconvenience of a trial that would expose the methods used by Majewski and his local troupe of Homeland Security Theater Players.

Here’s the murderous irony at the heart of this matter:

Las Vegas, like every other city, does face a lethal threat from people who consider themselves emancipated from the law and entitled to kill without accountability. Like the Sovereigns, those people speak in a specialized language that supposedly legitimizes their lawlessness, and that makes no obvious sense to rational people who don’t belong to their clique. The Las Vegas branch of this domestic terrorist movement maintains a fraudulent “court” where criminal actions, up to and including murder, are ratified. However, the crimes committed by that state-sanctioned terrorist syndicate are neither hypothetical, nor uncommon.

Speaking with reporters from the Clark County Jail, Brutsche observed, correctly, that police in Las Vegas are “terrorizing” people and warned that “if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.” One objective of the Metro Police Department’s Soviet-grade psy-op was to put those words in the mouth of a convicted sex offender, in the expectation that people would revile the messenger, rather than examining the message on its merits. As long as Vegas residents are focusing on David Brutsche, they won’t remember the murderous crimes committed by Brian Yant, Bill Mosher, or other Metro Cops.

This cynical Homeland Security Theater production has played very well in Vegas, and there’s every reason to believe that the people responsible for it will soon take it on the road.

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