Requiem For a Chimp–Primate’s Death Exposes More Metro Monkey Business

Despite Sheriffs Promise That Things Would Change,

The Second Escape of CJ the Chimp

Brings a Second Round of Lies From Metro

When the news broke that C.J., one of two chimps who had escaped last month, was on the loose again, the last thing we expected was for this to turn into another example of how little the Las Vegas Metropolitan police force respects the citizens of Las Vegas. But that disrespect was evident as ever when the department could resist telling us lies exposed by video a month ago.

It didn’t take Carnac the Magnificent to predict that when two chimps escaped from their home in Northwest Las Vegas last month that, with LVMPD responding, at least one would be the victim of a police bullet. After all two full-grown chimps are not something police deal with everyday, and what little information about these creatures most of us have stems from a recent Connecticut incident where a woman was brutally attacked.

So when Sgt. Andrew Legrow took the life of Buddy the Chimp, not many outside of PETA were up in arms. What the public didn’t expect was how much the death of Buddy would teach us about how little Metro has progressed since Sheriff Doug Gillespie vowed to make his department the most accountable and transparent law enforcement agency in the country. The low bar he set for himself not withstanding, it’s clear Gillespie has made very little progress in that area. Last month’s shooting shows us that LVMPD is still a department with a culture of dishonesty, filled with overgrown adolescents who are poster children for the pitfalls of police militarization.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie

For those unfamiliar with the last moments of Buddy’s life, here’s a quick recap. Buddy and his longtime companion, C.J., escaped from their enclosure at 5720 Rowland Ave on the morning of July 12th. Both Animal Control and Metro were called to the scene. Arriving first, Metro officers established a perimeter they felt safe in allowing the chimps to occupy while awaiting Animal Control’s arrival with a tranquilizer gun. At 10:45, with no word yet from Animal Control, Buddy began to cross Ann Road, the Southern boundary of Metro’s perimeter. At that point Legrow opened fire, killing Buddy in the middle of the street.

At this point few would argue that Metro didn’t act in a sensible manner. Officers had determined a course of action, set up a point where action was required and took action when that moment came. What was inexcusable that day was the decision by Metro officials to lie to the public about what happened.

In a press release dated the day of the incident, Metro tells a hero’s tale of the “sole officer who stood between the agitated animal and a large group of citizens including many children fired multiple shotgun rounds, striking and killing the animal.” We can all picture the brave officer placing himself in harm’s way, standing between an enraged beast and innocent kids. It turns out, however, that the only thing accurate in Metro’s statement is that a “sole officer..fired multiple…rounds, striking and killing the animal.”

What Metro failed to anticipate was that an event of this nature would have produced a video captured by a member of the public, and that any such video would directly contradict the story Metro was telling the public. It was just this arrogance by Metro that lead to yet another exposure of department lies, because such a video did exist and was made public. The video, described by the Las Vegas Review Journal, “shows the chimp, who does not appear agitated, ambling along. An officer armed with an AR-15 rifle shoots Buddy at least twice as the chimp begins to cross Ann Road.”

What is clear here is that Metro’s default position in any given situation is to lie to the public. Buddy was not agitated and buddy was not killed with a shotgun, but rather an AR-15, a weapon entirely unnecessary for the situation. If Metro is so willing to lie about an event where they were 100% in the right, why should we believe things have changed at all from the time Metro officials lied to us about Stanley Gibson, Trevon Cole, Erik Scott. etc. And if Metro officers are so encouraged to “play with their toys” such as an AR-15 that an officer would even consider it appropriate to use one on an unarmed primate, the entire community is in danger a fate similar to Buddy’s

Ever since Gillespie stood up in front of news cameras and lied to us all about the circumstances surrounding the death of Officer James Manor, and continued to lie (despite eyewitness contradicting Metro’s version) until video was about to be released proving Manor was operating without lights and sirens, the public has not fully trusted Metro.

Sadly it seems nothing has changed.

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11 thoughts on “Requiem For a Chimp–Primate’s Death Exposes More Metro Monkey Business

  1. In this case, I believe the Metro Sgt. acted within the scope of his duty, What was inexcusable was Gillespies lying to the public about the incident. First of all, a shotgun sprays pellets everywhere and the likelyhood of a stray pellet hitting an unintended target is far greater then two rounds from an AR-15, which fires a single .223 caliber bullet at a time. Again the blame doesn’t fall on the rank and file, but on the administration for embellishing the incident and lying to the public.. I’m terriblly sorry to hear what happen to Buddy, but once a safety parimeter has been established, that’s it. If anything, the responsibility of Buddy’s death should fall on Animal Control, not the police. Had they arrived in time, Buddy would be alive today. We have to be careful not to disparage officer’s that are doing their duty to protect the public and insure its safety. This is bad for morale and LVMPD’s morale is in the gutter right now and it’s mainly due to the actions of it’s own administration, namely Gillespie and his cronies. Remember that each day an officer wakes up and puts on that uniform he’s risking his own safety and life for you. This isn’t for a power trip, it’s from a dedication to you the public and he’s paid damn little to do it.

    • Gregg,

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I hope you didn’t get the impression that I have any issues with the way Metro handled Buddy that day. While I do have issues with the militarization of police and the mere fact that so many officers have access to weapons like AR-15s, the events that took Buddy’s life are not an issue with me. I have personally seen AR-15s deployed by Metro in response to unarmed suspects in the tight quarters of an apartment complex. This is entirely unacceptable While department’s across the county justify their current level of weaponry on advanced weaponry of the public, the facts don’t support the police being outgunned. Yes, an Ar-15 is a better choice than a shotgun, but then a bolt-action rifle would have done the job just as well.

      I also have to disagree that “the responsibility of Buddy’s death should fall on Animal Control, not the police.” Unless you can provide some evidence that A.C. was lax in responding, the the responsibility of Buddy’s death falls entirely on the handlers who did no properly secure the two Chimps, not on Animal Control and not on the police.

      Finally, the concept that members of law enforcement are somehow above having others critique their job performance is, well for lack of a better word, silly. First of all the courts have long since ruled that police have no “duty to protect the public and insure its safety” and I can think of only a small number of deadly shootings by valley law enforcement where the officer was actually “risking his own safety and life.” In fact they consistently take lives with the excuse they feared for THEIR OWN LIVES. And I a can say without a doubt that in the seven decades my family has resided in Southern Nevada has any officers ever risked “his own safety and life for” me or my family.

      In fact, my grandfather was a roofer his entire life, and his trade risks their “own safety and [lives] for you” and every police officer in the valley simply putting roofs over the buildings we live and work in. They give their lives to the community far, far more often than police, and I have yet to see us close down The Strip to honor their sacrifice, yet we have done so to pay tribute to an officer who took his own life driving recklessly down Flamingo in speeds in excess of 100 mph, without lights, without sirens and without any attempt “to protect the public and insure its safety.”

      I don’t care if being held accountable for their failings is “is bad for morale.” They are ALL welcome to find a job that is more sunshine and rainbows. LVMPD’s morale is in the gutter right now because they, through Chris Collins and the PPA, resist accountability at every turn. The work of fine officers like Sgt. David Toney will always take a back seat to the actions of the Yants, Vandereeckens, Mediolas, Peases and Arevalos, and if that hurts the feelings of the LVMPD, I have two suggestions.

      1. Grow a thicker skin. Officers more concerned with their wounded feelings than finding a way to kill less people don’t deserve to wear a badge.

      2. Stop supporting an organization like the PPA that defends the bottom of the barrel by saying bad cops are anything other the BAD COPS and demand they stop making excuses for the Yants, Vandereeckens, Mediolas, Peases and Arevalos

      • And if that chimp hurt or killed someone then where would you stand. Easy to sit behind a tv set and computer and judge…there is only ONE JUDGE…and He is waiting for you too……

        • Andy,

          Thank-you for your comment. In answer to your question, had Buddy “hurt or killed someone” we wouldn’t really have a stand, unless the police lied about that incident as well.

          You’re right. It is “Easy to sit behind a TV set and computer and judge,” but not as easy at it is to “sit behind a TV set and computer and” ignore police misconduct. It’s not as easy as it was for you “to sit behind a TV set and computer” and post something that showed you hadn’t actually read what we wrote,

          We never criticized the choice the officer made to fire at Buddy, We pointed out how Metro was so eager to misinform the public about what happened. If you truly believe “there is only ONE JUDGE…” how can you accept police officers acting as both JUDGE and JURY, executing unarmed citizens with no accountability?

  2. I am glad to know that I am not the only person taking notice of LVMPD’s inaccuracies. I don’t have an issue with an officer shooting a chimp. I do not appreciate being told three different stories about what led the officer to shoot. It is clear from the video that the chimp was not about to attack anyone. When they lie about incidents where use of force is perfectly justified, why should the public believe their explanations in more questionable cases? I no longer believe ANY statements coming from Metro. I urge everyone I meet to videotape all encounters with local police. The sad thing is, as demonstrated all over the United States, sometimes video isn’t enough to get rid of the bad ones.

  3. Pingback: Metro Officer’s Arrest For D.V. and DUI Makes us Wonder–Does Sheriff Gillespie Know the Definition of “Transparency” | clarkcountycriminalcops

  4. I’m in agreement with everything except your apparent aversion to the AR-15, a perfectly good general-purpose rifle. There is no good reason to restrict oneself to a bolt action when a semiautomatic is available. Not wanting to nitpick, but I hate seeing good weapons being demonized by the press, and (correct me if I’m wrong) you seem to have bought into this a little.

    • John,

      You misunderstand me. I have no aversion to the AR-15. I realize that guns are inanimate objects that only become dangerous when used by dangerous, unskilled, people, or worse yet dangerously unskilled people. Let me put it this way, if I need to clear my land of unwanted vegetation, setting fire to it would “get the job done,” but wouldn’t a bulldozer be safer and more prudent? In other words There is no good reason to break out a semiautomatic weapon, when a a bolt action, or better yet, negotiation would accomplish the intended goal.

      Police were gifted all these unnecessary toys by the Federal Government. For the most part these were originally weapons of war. Police officers are not soldiers yet we arm them as if they were, at the cost of countless innocent lives.

      That being said, I would urge everyone to purchase and become properly trained on an AR-15. The police declared war on the public 40 years ago, and it makes good sense to be at least as well armed as those who have declared you their enemy.

  5. Pingback: "Justice for Bubba" Rally for Dog Shot by Las Vegas Police - January 12th at LVMPD Offices | Nevada CopBlock

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