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.
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.
- Vegas Chimp Escapes Again – Daily Beast (thedailybeast.com)
- Cops Fire Upon ‘Dangerous’ Chimps Loose In Vegas: Tweets (huffingtonpost.com)