‘Cutting Edge Law Enforcement’ — Henderson and North Las Vegas Police Accused of Third Amendment Violations

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house,

without the consent of the Owner,

nor in time of war,

but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

So states, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution. While violations of this “forgotten” amendment are considered rare, leave it to members of Clark County law enforcement to show us all there isn’t a right protected by the United States Constitution they aren’t willing to violate.

At least that’s what the allegations of the Mitchell family lead us to believe. In a recent federal lawsuit filed by Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell, against the Cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas, former Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers, NLVPD Chief Joseph Chronister and officers from both departments, the Mitchell’s claim their Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when officers responded to a domestic violence call to a neighboring residence, and demanded entry into Anthony Mitchell’s home in order to gain “a tactical advantage.” Mitchell, preferring not to get involved, denied the police entry.

Former HPD Chief Jutta Chambers

Former HPD Chief Jutta Chambers

The events the  Mitchells’ claim happened next are provided in detail at the Courthouse News Service, and are shocking enough to add Officers David Cawthorn, Christopher Worley and Sgt. Michael Waller to the CCCC’s Officer Hall Of Shame.

Henderson Police Officer Charged With DUI After Accident

Officer On Paid Administrative Leave

After Being Arrested for DUI

Stemming From Accident

An off-duty Henderson police sergeant was arrested January 11th for suspicion of driving under the influence.

HPD Sgt. Lisa Mattingly

HPD Sgt. Lisa Mattingly

Henderson Sgt. Lisa Mattingly was arrested booked into the Henderson Detention Center following a two vehicle traffic accident shortly before 10 p.m. The accident, which occurred near the intersection of Gibson Road and Horizon Ridge Parkway was described as minor.

Officers responding to the scene deemed Mattingly was intoxicated and charged her with DUI First Offense and Following Too Closely, both misdemeanors.

Mattingly, an 11-year veteran of the Henderson Police Department, was paid $158,941.72 in total pay and benefits in 2011.

Metro Jailer Arrested on Charges of Child Abuse

15-year Metro Veteran

Booked Thursday on Felony Charges

Suspended Without Pay

The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that Laurence C. Watterson, a jailer at the Clark County Detention Center has been charged in Henderson  with felony child abuse or neglect. Watterson, who was hired by the Metropolitan Police Department in 1998, was given a walk-through booking at the Henderson jail.

ClarkCountyDetention

Metro officials stated the case was being investigated by Henderson police who have not commented in the investigation.

Watterson received $141,980.05 in total pay and benefits from taxpayers in 2011.

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss — Henderson PD Destined to Repeat Its Mistakes

“Those who cannot remember the past

are condemned to repeat it”

- George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Sadly it seems the City of Henderson is doomed to learn this lesson the hard way. The Henderson City Council, as expected, followed the recommendations of Jacob Snow and appointed Deputy Chief Patrick Moers as the city’s newest Chief of Police

Pat Moers

Snow’s recommendation to promote Moers to Chief was the first, and possibly the worst, decision he has made as the newest Henderson City Manager. Considering the innovative work Snow did while running the Regional Transportation Commission, it is difficult to understand why he made the worst of all possible decisions right out of the gate.

Moers has been acting as interim chief of police since the resignation of former Chief Jutta Chambers earlier this year. Chambers resignation came on the heels of public outrage over a controversial police beating that was recorded by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper’s dashboard camera. The incident in which HPD officer Brett Seekatz is clearly seen delivering five punishing kicks to the head of Adam Greene, a man in the throes of a diabetic episode, cost taxpayers more than $300,000 in settlements. No charges or disciplinary actions were taken against Seekatz or any of the officers involved, sparking much of the public’s outrage.

Seekatz (right) delivers on of five kicks to Motorist

Ironically, Snow was quoted in the Las Vegas Review Journal as saying “I think that the agency’s ripe for a culture change,” yet rather than recommend the only candidate without ties to the HPD’s current culture, Bill Conger, Snow recommended a man knee-deep in the very cover-up culture for which HPD has become known.

Moers who moved to Henderson 1991 and was hired by the HPD the same year does have a very impressive background. As an officer, Moers served a field training officer and a department training instructor. He was promoted to sergeant in 1997. He served in patrol and was also assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, where he supervised the property crimes section and crimes against persons section. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and oversaw the Criminal Investigations Division. He was assigned to patrol and the lieutenant over the bike unit. He also became the first lieutenant to be assigned to the Traffic Bureau. He served in the Professional Standards Bureau for Internal Affairs, background investigations and support functions. He oversaw the accreditation unit through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). He was promoted to captain in 2009.

What stands out about Moers’ many accomplishments is his stint with Internal Affairs. While Snow tries to sell the community on Moers’ ability to be a good listener, he seems to ignore the fact that Moers only listens to the desires of the HPD while the community’s cries fall on deaf ears. Moers, after all, was second in command to Chambers, so was just as complicit,  in the cover-up of the Greene beating. Moers has said nothing about the HPD’s failure to charge officer Wavie Reed after he ran down a man in a cross walk last year. And, despite his stint with Internal Affairs, Moers remained silent when the HPD turned its back on the 2010 murder of Ruslan Zhgenti by HPD officer Edward Little.

Moers has been an integral part of the HPD culture than protects its officers at all costs, no matter how heinous their actions, yet he received a standing ovation when he was sworn in as the new Chief of Police for the Henderson Police Department.