‘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.

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.

Wolfson Clears Seven More Cops involved in Three 2011 Shootings

With complete disregard of the Inquest process

District Attorney Steve Wolfson

Continues to Clear Killer Cops.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson

The District Attorney’s office under Steve Wolfson continues to dig the grave of the county’s controversial Coroner’s Inquest process by releasing his office’s findings regarding the death of three more suspects at the hands of police. Not surprisingly, none of the three incidents warrant criminal charges.

As he has done in the past, through letters posted on the  DA’s website, Wolfson cleared the officers involved in the shooting deaths of Jamie Padilla, Mauricio Hernandez and Tory Manvilla.

Four SWAT officers, Dave Reid,  Anton Gorup,  Leaareon Fincher,  and William Marx exchanged gunfire with Padilla in February, 2011 after an hour-long standoff. Police were responding to reports of a man with a gun trying to break into residences at the Broadstone Montecito Apartments. Padilla reportedly fired on officers several times before officers delivered the fatal shots.

Police investigate the Hernandez shooting at The Bar

The Bar Surveillance Footage

Hernandez was shot and killed less than two weeks later at The Bar, on Nellis Ave., by Metro Sgt. David Toney. Hernandez was in the bar after his involvement in a shooting earlier that day on Stockbridge St.  Although Toney had no information about Hernandez’s earlier activities, surveillance video shows the suspect drew his weapon five seconds after Toney entered the establishment to have a cup of coffer with a friend and pointed it at the officer. Toney was able to draw his service weapon and fire six shots at the suspect, who stumbled into the restroom and died.

Manvilla’s death was the first fatal officer involved shooting of 2011 by Metro officers. Prior to the shooting Manvilla had been acting erratically, and had tried to gain access to at least two residences in area of Mountain Vista Street and Tropicana Avenue. Claiming that someone was after him, most residents told reporters they didn’t find the man threatening, but rather “scared to death.”

After pushing his way into a home on Fairfax Avenue and locking himself in the bathroom. The residents of the home said police were in the home less than 10 minutes before shots were fired. None of them told investigators they heard police issue any commands. Officers Juan Guzman and Michael Henry each fired one shot at Manvilla after they say he burst forth from the bathroom and charged them.

Manvilla’s autopsy determined he was under the influence of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine at the time of his death, which according to his friends and relatives, most likely led to his paranoid behavior.

Since taking over the DA’s office this year Wolfson has found reason not to file criminal charges in a total of seven FOIS as well as declining to press charges relating to the videotaped beating of a diabetic motorist by several officers from Henderson Police Department, including Brett Seekatz who can been seen repeatedly kicking the motorist in the head.

What are your thoughts on Wolfson’s decision not to await the public fact-finding process? Is his choice to bypass the Coroner’s Inquest good or bad for Clark County?