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.

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Wolfson Flip-Flops Then Flips Back — Seekatz will not be charged

Wolfson’s decision not to Charge Seekatz

Not as bad as it seems, as long as

it’s not the start of a pattern of pro-cop only decisions

Clark County D.A. Steve Wolfson

Our new District Attorney Steve Wolfson made a lot of promises when he was asking the Clark County Commissioners to serve the remainder of David Roger’s term as District Attorney. Among them was a vow to make sure police officers who committed criminal acts were held accountable.

While at first glance his decision not to charge Henderson Police Officer Brett Seekatz seems to clearly violate that promise, but we decided to take the weekend and give Wolfson’s five-page explanation a little thought.

First off there’s no way around the seeing Wolfson’s decision to release his opinion late Friday evening as a way to bury it over the weekend, and for that cowardice we are not pleased. However, the decision as a whole was incredibly detailed and tried to explain the DA’s reasoning in clear terms, rooted in Nevada Law. That is something his predecessor, police union attorney  David Roger, never bothered to do. While Roger acted as if he answered to no one, especially the taxpayers, Wolfson  at least acknowledges who butters his bread.

Now despite the fact that we felt strongly that Seekatz  deliberate and unnecessary kicking of the diabetic Motorist in the head five times was a criminal act, we can understand how Wolfson was able to see that it was not. What is impressive is that strength of conviction Wolfson showed in his decision. Public sentiment was that he should charge Seekatz, especially after Seekatz’s past misconduct issues were uncovered.

Seekatz (right) delivers on of five kicks to Motorist

The easiest thing for Wolfson to do was to hand the case over to an ADA and have him prosecute.  But Wolfson didn’t respond to mob rule. He made a difficult choice  and stuck by it. And in the end he made every attempt to explain to the public why he made his choice. One of  those issues that demands the most respect is his willingness to take the victim’s, Adam Greene’s, wishes into account. While he never specifically asked for Wolfson to drop the cases, he did express a desire just to put the two-year-old incident behind him.

Wolfson has made no indication he wants to stay in office beyond the term he was appointed. But has long as Wolfson continues to make tough decisions that are rooted in law and has the respect to explain those decisions to the taxpayers, we could do a lot worse. In fact David Roger is proof we have.

However, if Wolfson continues to give cops the deference to commit crimes opinions will change. The Seekatz decision has been made, but Wolfson has remained silent on his intentions to pursue charges against Brian Yant for perjury in the William Sigler case, or against Derek Colling for the false arrest and beating of Mitchel Crooks, or against Henderson Police Department officer Wavie Reed for the off-duty killing of a 58-year-old Henderson man, or the most egregious case ignored by David Roger, the 2010 murder of Ruslan Zhgenti by off-duty Henderson cop, Edward Little.

DA May Charge HPD Officer for 2010 Beating

An Unexpected Flip-flop

Rookie DA Wolfson

Says Charges Against HPD Officer Still Possible

It seems Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is reevaluating his decision not to seek charges against HPD Sgt. Brett Seekatz for his repeated kicks to a motorist’s head back in 2010. The incident had been kept secret until earlier in the year when the Henderson Police Department requested approval to pay the driver, Adam Greene, and his wife $260,000 in order to settle a lawsuit the couple had filed.

 

Greene was beaten after officers mistook his diabetic episode as non-compliance during a traffic stop. Greene was approached by Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Anthony Bandiero, whose dash cam captured the event. Greene was joined by NHP trooper John-Sydney Cass who grabbed Greene’s wrists and pulled him from the vehicle.
Neither of the NHP officers took part in the beating, but rather give control of the incident over to HPD officers, Douglas Lynaugh, Francis Shipp and Seth Vanbeveren, who began manhandling the unresponsive Green while the police mantra, “STOP RESISTING” echoes pointlessly into the night. HPD  Sgt. Brett Seekatz, arrived later in the altercation,  stepped to the group and  kicked Greene five times in the head.

 

None of the NHP officers nor the three Henderson cops who initially swarmed Greene’s limp and lifeless body were disciplined. Seekatz was the only officer disciplined for his actions, but HPD has refused to say what that entailed. Seekatz has two prior complaints against him which paint Seekatz as a dishonest officer, completely comfortable lying under oath.

 

Wolfson originally announced to the public that he said he would not charge Seekatz because he felt is  was not in  the community’s best interest to file a charge so long after the incident. Wolfson also expressed concern over his office’s ability to secure a conviction. Wolfson told KNPR that new information was available that may change how he handles the case. He is expected to announce his final decision in a few days.

 

If Wolfson does decided to pursue charges against Seekatz, hopefully it will be the first of several officers who have so far escaped prosecution for their apparent crimes. Wolfson should not forget that Derek Colling, Edward Little, Wavie Reed and Brian Yant have all been implicated in various crimes, ranging from perjury to murder. have all been implicated in various crimes, ranging from perjury to murder.

Rather Than Fire a Dangerous Officer, Henderson Chief of Police Resigns

Chief Chambers Must Wonder How a Public

That Ignored an Officer Who Committed Murder

Would Find a Few Kicks to The Head So Outrageous

Former Henderson Chief of Police Jutta Chambers

Considering the residents of Henderson barely batted an eye when Henderson Police Officer Edward Little killed his lover’s husband in the man’s own home, Chief Jutta Chambers had no reason to anticipate the level of outrage which surfaced earlier this year after the video of HPD Sgt. Brett Seekatz repeatedly kicking a critically ill man in the head was made public.

That’s the power of video and taxpayer outrage. The vicious 2010 beating Adam Greene received at the hands of several HPD officers was caught on tape and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Little’s ambush shooting of Ruslan Zhgenti had no video and did not result in legal action against the city. The fact Little’s victim was a Russian immigrant seemed to make it far too easy for the public to ignore the incident.

Oddly, it wasn’t Chambers’ decision to protect a killer in her midst but rather her choice to help cover up the actions of a cop that have actually become common place that was her undoing. Her decision to cover up police conduct routinely seen on Cops, has cost her job and tainted her legacy as the first woman Chief of Police in Nevada. I wonder if she feels Seekatz was worth it. Will she find solace in knowing  he is free to patrol her streets, that, Heaven forbid, she suffers from a medical crisis while behind the wheel that Seekatz will be there to kick her in the skull.

Screen Capture of Sgt. Brett Seekatz Kicking Adam Greene

Most importantly, do the good cops who don the HPD uniform realize what a spineless coward their “brother” Seekatz is?  That Seekatz watches out for Seekatz even at the expense of his fellow officers, even at the expense of his Chief. When it became evident that the public would not excuse his behavior, did he do the honorable thing and resign? No. Did he do the brave thing. and seek public forgiveness? No! He let a woman take the fall. What an honorable man he is. I hope his wife and kids realize what a loser they have on their hands. I wonder if that’s the type of man his father raised him to be?

It would be refreshing to see the 99% stand up and demand the 1% get what they deserve. If only the police had the integrity, honor and American Values to stand up for what’s right.

Now before you start feeling too sorry for Chambers, keep in mind she will receive will over $200,000 upon her retirement. That’s in addition to her Public Employees Retirement System payments that will exceed $130,000 every year, for the rest of her life.