LAWSUIT! LV METRO POLICE CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD REFUSES BLACK CCW HOLDER’S CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT

LAWSUIT! LVMPD CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD REFUSES BLACK CCW HOLDER’S CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT

May 9, 2019

In 2010, after some 25 officer involved shootings, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with Metro, implemented a new use of force policy. One of the opening lines of the use of force policy now reads: “It is the policy of this department that officers hold the highest regard for the dignity and liberty of all persons, and place minimal reliance upon the use of force.” Sanson was a critical player in the downfall of Metro Sheriff Gillespie following the officer involved shooting death Gulf War Veteran Stanley Gibson in 2010 that led to the new use of force policy changes. 

It all started on March 22, 2019 when U.S. Marine Veteran and a CCW holder, Steve Sanson, left family court where he volunteers as a court observer and who has advocated for major reforms to the family court system, was pulled over by a Las Vegas Metro Police Officer right as he pulled out from the Clark County Family Court building. According to Sanson, (see his full statement below) the officer pulled him out of his car, handcuffed him and sat him on the sidewalk without cause. The Officer requested backup and three officers rifled through Sanson’s car without his permission or probable cause. The officer then verified his CCW and gun were legal, but still continued to hold him in cuffs on the sidewalk for over an hour. Eventually the three officers uncuffed Sanson, issued him a speeding ticket and released him. Steve Sanson is an outspoken Black Marine Veteran Activist and a CCW holder.

Following Steve’s detention with the three officers, Sanson filed a formal complaint with LVMPD’s Internal Affairs, which refused to take any formal or informal actions against the officers to date. Sanson filed a formal request for a copy of the Officer’s body cameras.

Sanson then filed a formal complaint with the Las Vegas Metro Police Civilian Review board. But the Executive Director of the Citizen Review Board, Andrea Beckman, issued a letter refusing to review Steve’s formal complaint out of fear of negative publicity. Nevada law, NRS 289.380, requires counties with more than 150,000 citizens must have a citizen’s force review board in order to “review and recommend discipline for officers.”

 

Executive Director Citizen Review Board, Andrea Beckman in this letter is referring to a couple stories 360 News Las Vegas published about former Board Member Kassee Bulen, who was arrested back in December 2018 on Drug and Alcohol charges, resigning shortly after the story came out. Bulen has a trial scheduled for June 2019.
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According Sanson, a Federal lawsuit is being prepared against the Civilian Review Board and LVMPD for violating his civil rights over the chain of events. 360 reached out to Director Andrea Beckman multiple times for comment but so far she has refused to reply. The Board members including, Ms. Beckman, are appointed by Las Vegas City Council members like Stavros Anthony and Clark County Commissioners. Supposedly they undergo extreme vetting. But after Kassee Bulen’s criminal arrest while on the board went unnoticed for months and she was allowed to remain on the board until the news story broke in March 2019, the program’s credibility is now being called into question. The board members are screened by Las Vegas Metro Police raising questions of conflict of interest.
Statement of Steve Sanson
On March 22, 2019, at 11:20 am; I was leaving the family courthouse located at 601 North Pecos. I was headed north on Bonanza, less than 2 minutes on the road I saw a metro unit behind me with its scrub lights on. I was in the far left lane at the time, I then proceeded to pull over to the right of the road. I placed my vehicle to a stop, turned off my engine, place my front windows down and placed both hands on the steering wheel. I watched the officer for a few seconds in my side mirror, he then proceeded out of his unit and begin to speak to someone on his radio or cell phone. The officer then walked up to my driver’s side window and immediately ordered me to place my rear windows down, I complied with his order.
The officer then asked me if I knew how fast I was going, I responded and said no. The officer then asked me where I am going in such a rush, I responded to a luncheon with attorneys. The officer asked me for my license and registration. I then responded that I am obligated to inform him that I have weapons in my vehicle. The officer then ordered me out of my vehicle. At this point, I thought this was odd because officers usually asked me if I have my CCW or where are the weapons. So I then responded that the weapons are not on my person. The officer still ordered me out of my vehicle. I exited my vehicle and I was wearing a “Veterans In Politics t-shirt”. The officer then ordered me in front of his vehicle, he ordered me to face his vehicle and ordered me to place my hands on the hood of his vehicle. I thought this was odd, but I complied. The officer then searches my person, he then ordered me to place my hands behind my back interlock my fingers as he grabbed hold of my thumbs. I asked the officer if he was handcuffing me. The officer responded yes, I asked why he responded that he was alone and it’s for his own personal safety. So I responded, “Over a traffic ticket”? I also responded that if I was a bad guy I wouldn’t of let him know that I had weapons in my vehicle. I asked him repeatedly to look at my CCW that is in my wallet.
The officer asked me where my weapons are located and I responded in my middle console. The officer then proceeded over to the driver’s side of my vehicle, I asked him why is he going to my vehicle, that I gave him no permission to search or enter my vehicle. The officer responded that he is going to obtain my weapons, I responded and said; you don’t need to get my weapons all you need to do is look at my CCW and again given him no permission to enter my vehicle. The officer responded do you want to hand your weapons over to me, I responded and said that was stupid, why would I want to do that? The officer then proceeded to me and told me to sit on the sidewalk. I responded and said that I have back problems and for him to take notice of my “Disabled Veteran” License plates. The officer then proceeds to the passenger side and he asked me for my registration and insurance. In the interest of time I said they are both in my glove box, he then obtained my information. So now the officer has my driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration; all up to date.
Another patrol unit responded and two more officers came on the scene. I responded to the Officer who pull me over and said since you have two more officers on the scene; you are not alone and your safety should not be in question and I repeatedly requested for the handcuffs to be removed. He refused. One of the officers that just arrived I believe his name is (Woods) took my driver’s license, insurance, and registration to his unit. He must be checking out my SCOPE and to verify the vehicle is registered to me. The other officer that accompanied Officer Wood took my updated CCW out of my wallet after he dropped all my credit cards on the ground. This officer also started small talk to gain trust and wanted to bond. By asking me several questions for example what is Veterans In Politics, how long I have been in Vegas. I complied and stated that Veterans in Politics endorses candidates and I am familiar with all the Sheriffs from Jerry Keller to present, that I have a lot of law enforcement friends. I also explained that my organization goes after public corruption and I have been in this town for 24 years and been a member of Veterans in Politics since 2004 and I am their International President. I also asked this officer to remove the cuffs. I stated to him as you can see I am not a tug, why am I being humiliated this way? I also said to him why didn’t this officer just gave me a ticket and be done? His response is that he is not the officer that pulled me over, he was called to respond for the safety of his fellow officers, that all officers handle traffic stops differently, that if it was his stop he would just say “you don’t touch your weapon and I won’t touch mine”. This same officer then asked me how long I was in the military, I responded 12 years 6 Marines, 6 Army and became a disabled veteran from the Gulf War. He asked me how I became disabled and what my job was in the combat theater. I asked him is this how you guys treat this country disabled veterans?
The officer that pulled me over went into my vehicle and obtained my weapons place them on the hood of the patrol unit. I said to him there are no rounds in the chamber and the magazine is still in the weapon, if you slide the hammer back you will chamber a round. He didn’t listen to me and chambered a round.
By this time officer (I believe Wood) returned with my driver’s license, insurance card and proof of insurance. So I responded that he found nothing on my SCOPE, so now you know I am not a FELON and I have a clean record so again remove these handcuffs.
The officer that pulled me over again refused to take the cuffs off of me. Instead, he wrote down the serial numbers to both of my weapons a 380 and a .45, he then proceeded in inside his vehicle played with the patrol unit’s computer and went on his cell phone. I asked why are you running my weapons he responded to make sure it’s not stolen, I responded and said if they were stolen I wouldn’t have told you I had them. At this point I was utterly disgusted, I responded why are you “FISHING” are you so desperate to find something on me?
So my weapons came back to be registered to me. Keep in mind no one said a word to me about my SCOPE or my weapons, I could tell by their facial expression; like “Oh shit” I have nothing on this guy. The officer that pulled me over then went over to my vehicle to pop my trunk, I said why are you opening my trunk, put my weapons back where you found them. He responded it’s for his safety and I responded you just want to do a visual inspection of my trunk. I was ignored and he placed my weapons in the trunk of my car.
I responded my SCOPE is clean my weapons are clean why am I still in handcuffs. I said this is humiliating, this is an abuse of power and harassment. You have me cuff in the middle of the day with my Veterans In Politics shirt on while cars are driving by. The officer that pulled me over said I am still detained and now he is going to write me a ticket for speeding. I responded after all of this, you are still going to write me a ticket? I said a traffic ticket is an infraction there is no need to have me remain in cuffs. I then asked the officer that was having small talk with me what jurisdiction is this and he said the cities jurisdiction, so I started to name all 6 Las Vegas Municipal Court Judges by first and last name. At this point, I reached the conclusion that I was either racially profiled or this was set up! I said to the officer that pulled me over that he didn’t find anything on me so now he is going to give me a ticket to feed his ego. I also explained that writing me a ticket after this “abuse of power” was a bad idea and I will have no choice but to report this incident to IA for an investigation.
I also asked the officer that pulled me over for his name, badge number and how long he has been on the force. He refused to verbalize any of those items to me.
I was concerned that this officer might plant drugs or other incriminating evidence in my vehicle. This officer was extremely desperate to find anything on me. I have been pulled over before, but this experience is extremely unprofessional. This was defiantly a set up I believe from my organization exposure of the corruption in family court or this officer is a racist, he did write black down on my speeding ticket. He also wrote down that I “appeared” to be doing 60 miles an hour on event number 1LV190300105333. This means he doesn’t know for himself nor did he have any radar equipment.

 

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