Category: News

Family of man shot in head by police officer sues Metro

Seth Greenstone was bleeding from his neck and hands while holding a box cutter on March 1, 2021 when Officer Vidal Contreras drove up to the corner of East Carey Avenue and North Lamb Boulevardaccording to statements from Metro at the time. It appeared Greenstone was trying to harm himself, police said.

Contreras’ body camera showed that he yelled “drop the knife” twice before he opened fire.

Civil court filings from his mother, who took over as his guardian shortly after the shooting, indicated that Greenstone was shot in the head and can no longer speak or comprehend what is said to him.

His mother, Maureen Greenstone, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the department and Contreras, alleging unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, right to due process, failure to properly train, battery, negligence and violation of the Americans with Disability Act, based on Greenstone’s psychiatric disability of attempting to harm himself.

Goldstein referenced these recommendations in the lawsuit, and said Greenstone had not broken any laws, or threatened any citizens or the officer when he was shot.

“Officer Contreras’ preplanning was that he would find the subject and set up containment, wait for other officers to arrive, give commands to the subject, get his low-lethal weapon, and get the subject into custody,” Goldstein wrote in the lawsuit. “Defendant Officer Contreras did not implement his preplanning and did not coordinate a response, slow the momentum or gather resources.”


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Somebody has to answer for this,’ says father of inmate who was strangled

Jason Dickman, inset, was strangled by another inmate at the Clark County Detention Center in May 2021. His father, Richard Dickman, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Richard Dickman remembers exactly what the assistant sheriff said during the phone call about his son’s killing in a Las Vegas jail.

“He said, ‘We failed your son, and we failed you,’” said Richard Dickman, recalling the conversation he had with Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Andrew Walsh in the aftermath of his son’s death.


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Las Vegas Police Sued Over Death of Man Wielding Toy Sword

This early 2000s photo shows Lloyd Napouk in his Navy uniform. Napouk was shot and killed by Las Vegas police in 2018 after a five-minute negotiation. (Napouk family)

The family of a 44-year-old man who was shot and killed by Las Vegas police while holding a toy sword has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department.

According to the complaint, filed on Oct. 5 in federal court, officers killed Lloyd Napouk in 2018 “for refusing to comply with their commands and not because he ever constituted a threat.”

It called the shooting “excessive and unreasonable,” and names the Metropolitan Police Department, Sgt. Buford Kenton and Officer Cameran Gunn as defendants.

Metro declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.

Napouk died just before 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2018, after a roughly five-minute negotiation with officers. He had been holding a plastic sword that was “very special to him,” police said after the shooting.

The lawsuit argues that police should have known that Napouk was only holding a toy sword and that Metro failed to discipline or train officers in the use of deadly force or crisis intervention training.

“This was clearly not an immediate defense-of-life situation,” attorney Peter Goldstein told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. “It was a horrible shooting, and it never should have been.”

Goldstein said police violated Napouk’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act because they “should have known how to accommodate (Napouk’s) mental illness by employing de-escalation strategies.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Napouk’s parents, Gerald and Mary, and a co-special administrator, Las Vegas attorney Fredrick Waid.

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Peter Goldstein A Personal Injury Lawyer

Green Valley Ranch, security guards sued over 2019 shooting death

A police car sits outside of Green Valley Ranch casino in Henderson, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

The son of the armed man who was gunned down by two Green Valley Ranch Resort security guards on New Year’s Day 2019 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the casino and four of its employees.

The complaint, filed last week in Clark County District Court, alleges that the guards who shot 53-year-old Shannon Howell a combined 23 times “had no lawful authority to issue commands to Howell.”

It also states that Howell “was under no legal obligation to follow the commands of (the security guards) nor did he have time to comply with any commands before he was shot.”

Howell’s son, Dalton Howell, is seeking damages for false imprisonment, assault, wrongful death and negligence. Security guards Karl Stephens, Larry Norman, Jesus Arellano and Richard Parents also are named as defendants.

A spokesman for Red Rock Resorts, which owns Green Valley Ranch, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, citing pending litigation.

Security called

On Jan. 1, 2019, patrons at Green Valley Ranch called security to report that Shannon Howell had been walking around with a handgun, according to the complaint.

Parents approached him at the pool and told him the area was closed and he had to leave. He “did not inform Howell that he could not have a firearm in the hotel nor did he contact law enforcement,” the complaint states.

Howell left the pool area and sat down by himself on a couch in the east tower.

Despite carrying a firearm into a casino being legal under state law and Arellano having “no knowledge that Howell had committed a crime,” the complaint states, Arellano radioed other armed guards at the casino to search for Shannon Howell.

Arellano and two other guards, Norman and Stephens, approached the elder Howell in the east tower and asked if he had a firearm. He said he did, according to the 19-page court document.

Stephens and Norman then drew their weapons on Howell and yelled “unclear commands” for several seconds, the document states.

When Howell stood up from the couch and allegedly “appeared to be reaching towards his pocket,” the complaint says, the two men then shot him 23 times. He fell backward, with a Glock 19 found lying next to him.

No charges filed

No criminal charges have been filed in the death.

Attorney Peter Goldstein said his client, Dalton Howell, is an only child who was just 18 when his father died. Goldstein said the young man hasn’t been given many answers about the death.

“He had a very close relationship with his father. It’s just devastating for him,” the attorney said. “We really want to get to the bottom of what happened here.”

Goldstein said he wants to obtain video surveillance of the shooting, which could shed more light on the case.

Peter Goldstein A Personal Injury Atorney

Family sues Las Vegas police after 65-year-old dies in custody

Roy Scott and daughter Rochelle Scott are shown in this undated photo. Roy Scott died Sunday, March 3, 2019, while in Las Vegas police custody. Rochelle Scott has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department. (Courtesy of Rochelle Scott)

The family of a 65-year-old man who died in 2019 while in Metropolitan Police Department custody filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the agency Wednesday, alleging officers did not help the man while he was handcuffed and unresponsive for nearly nine minutes.

Roy Anthony Scott, of Las Vegas, died March 3, 2019, after he struggled with police when they tried to handcuff him and pat him down for weapons. Scott, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, called 911 about 3:10 a.m. that day to report three suspicious men outside his apartment, but no men were found, police have said.

The Clark County coroner’s office ruled his death an accident because of methamphetamine intoxication, with other significant conditions including paranoid schizophrenia and hypertensive and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He was pronounced dead at Valley Hospital Medical Center, the coroner’s office has said.

The complaint, which was filed in federal court, said that Metro officers Kyle Smith and Theodore Huntsman handcuffed Scott, who was “subjected to a pressure restraint while prone on the sidewalk and gravel area in front of his apartment.”

The Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday said Smith and Huntsman, who were placed on routine administrative leave last year, are now active-duty. The department declined to comment further on the case, citing the litigation.

The lawsuit names Scott’s daughter, Rochelle Scott, as the plaintiff seeking punitive damages, attorney fees and compensation for burial and funeral costs.

The complaint said an officer kneeled on Scott’s neck and back for a minute and a half as he “cried and pleaded to be placed in a patrol car.”

Scott said “please” 63 times over eight minutes, then fell “motionless,” the complaint said. He did not receive CPR or chest compressions until an ambulance arrived “approximately nine minutes later,” the complaint said.

“Scott died on the ground, handcuffed, pleading with Huntsman and Smith for water and to just take him into the patrol car,” the complaint said.

Shortly after Scott’s death, Metro released about nine minutes of body-camera footage showing officers confronting Scott, handcuffing him and him moaning on the ground. The department did not release footage of him falling unresponsive or paramedics arriving.

But footage sent to the Review-Journal by Rochelle Scott’s attorney, Peter Goldstein, showed the officers’ full interaction with Scott, confirming the timeline detailed in the complaint.

The video showed officers confronting and pointing their guns at Scott, who threw down a pipe and turned over a small knife in his pocket. Scott told them that he has schizophrenia and that he doesn’t want to turn around for a pat-down because he’s “paranoid.”

When officers did attempt to move him, he resisted and fell to the ground, all while asking, “Why are you doing this?” The footage then showed the officer with his knee on Scott’s back.

At one point, an officer told Scott to “stop hitting your head on the concrete,” while his foot twitched. The complaint said that while Scott was on the ground, his feet were “slightly involuntarily shaking as if he’s having some kind of seizure.”

Shortly after Scott stopped moving, a neighbor asked if he should get water, but an officer said he wanted medical personnel to “take care of it; I don’t want to get him spazzed out any more than he already is.”

A paramedic didn’t get to Scott until about eight minutes after he stops moving, the footage showed. Officers periodically said to each other that he was still breathing, but medical personnel started CPR when Scott was loaded into the ambulance.

Before the ambulance arrived, an officer commented that “he’s like totally weirding me out with how calm he is,” the footage showed.

A call for justice

Rochelle Scott said in a phone interview Thursday that police had been to her father’s apartment several times and should have known what to do when talking to him.

“You just don’t treat people like that, especially with a mental illness,” she said. “They knew who he was.”

Scott said she feels connected to high-profile cases of Black men who die in police custody and said she feels like her family is also “a victim to that.”

She doesn’t want the attention that comes with protests and marches, but she moved forward with the lawsuit because she believes her father “deserves justice.” She dreams of making a difference in the police reform movement by figuring out how social workers or crisis teams can respond to people with mental illnesses who call 911.

“He was calling for help,” Scott said. “What are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to call for help when something’s wrong.”


Parents of man killed by North Las Vegas police get $1M settlement

North Las Vegas City HallNorth Las Vegas City Hall & Civic Plaza

The North Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $1 million settlement to the parents of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2018.

The payment is the largest North Las Vegas Police Department-related settlement the city is aware of, spokesman Patrick Walker said.

“I think it’s a significant amount of money and it’s definitely an acknowledgment by the city that these officers used excessive force, violated their training, and acted inappropriately during this encounter with Gonzalo Rico,” said Peter Goldstein, who represented Rico’s parents in the federal lawsuit. “There was no need for the use of deadly force.”

City Attorney Micaela Moore said in a statement through Walker that the city opted for mediation before taking on extra costs that would come with defending the lawsuit.

“The city attorney’s office, while confident in the facts of the case, believes the mediator’s settlement proposal is reasonable to bring resolution and avoid a lengthy court battle,” she said.


Police account

Rico, whose name appeared in a previous report as Gonzalo Rico-Jimenez, was killed on the morning of Oct. 31, 2018, during an encounter with North Las Vegas police.

Police claimed Rico hit the officers with a blue pickup outside of a house on Emmons Avenue, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Civic Center Drive. The officers, Ramin Nassiri, then 29, and Christopher Colwell, then 24, opened fire on him. Nassiri fired once and Colwell fired nine times, police said.

Goldstein said evidence suggested Nassiri’s bullet did not strike Rico.

The encounter came after the pair had finished a pat-down of a bicyclist nearby, police said. Police said the officers knew that a man wanted on a domestic violence-related charge lived at 2841 Emmons Ave. and that the home was the target of a stolen Ford truck investigation.

Outside the home were Rico and another man, both matching the description of the wanted man, according to police. The men took off when police approached them, the department said.

Rico ran to the Chevrolet pickup, which was backed into the driveway, and began to pull into the street. Both officers, whom the department said were in front of the truck, yelled at Rico to stop before opening fire, police said. The truck was determined to be stolen, according to police.

Neither officer was wearing a body camera.


Civil rights lawsuit

Rico’s parents filed a civil rights lawsuit against North Las Vegas in April 2019. The complaint, which also names Nassiri and Colwell, claims the officers violated Rico’s Fourth Amendment rights by committing an unreasonable seizure and using deadly force. The officers also violated Rico’s Fourteenth Amendment rights by depriving him of due process, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit further alleged false arrest/false imprisonment, battery, and negligence.

The attorney defending the officers claimed in a response that the officers held an “objective good faith belief that their actions were reasonable, privileged and justified.”

But the lawsuit alleged the officers had no information that Rico, who was not armed, had committed a crime or that he was about to commit a crime. Goldstein said the officers also didn’t know the Chevrolet pickup Rico was driving was stolen.

The lawsuit also alleges numerous inconsistencies in the North Las Vegas Police Department’s reporting of the event. According to the complaint, a news bulletin contained false statements in an attempt to justify the shooting.

“The bulletin states that both officers were standing directly in front of the truck when they opened fire, yet none of the bullet holes were actually clustered directly upon the driver’s side nor the steering wheel area,” the lawsuit said. The complaint said photos of the scene indicated the officers were off to the side of the truck.

But Goldstein said Thursday that evidence suggested Nassiri was in front of the truck during the shooting, and photos of the bullet holes in the windshield indicated Colwell was not directly in front of the vehicle while firing the lethal rounds.

Rico did not threaten the officers and the truck was either rolling in neutral or traveling at a speed of 2 to 3 miles per hour, Goldstein said.

“But it was never really a threat to the officers,” he said.


North Las Vegas must pay $550K in police shooting case

North Las Vegas Police Department

North Las Vegas must pay more than a half-million dollars to a man who was shot by a police sergeant in 2017.

A jury in federal court decision late last month that Sgt. Michael Booker of the North Las Vegas Police Department violated Phillip Murry’s 4th Amendment rights when he shot Murry in the foot during a traffic stop.

On Feb. 28, the jury set damages at $550,000.

“It’s significant because it totally rebuts what the department and what Booker maintained all through the case, that this was an accident,” said Peter Goldstein, who represented Murry in the case.

Murry claimed that on Jan. 3, 2017, he was driving on Ellis Street, west of a barricade situation, when he was stopped and shot in the foot by Booker.

According to the lawsuit, Murry was on his way home after buying groceries and did not know about the activity from the barricade. He was stopped after slowly trying to pass a police vehicle in the street with its lights off, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit, filed in January 2017, suggested Booker did not know he shot Murry, claiming Booker continued to question and accuse Murry of acting suspiciously and crossing a police barricade. Before an ambulance arrived, Murry was forced to sit handcuffed on the curb, according to the lawsuit.

After the shooting, a department spokesman said the officer shot his gun after he perceived a threat. The department later said the shooting was accidental.

The jury found Booker’s actions constituted an unreasonable seizure, excessive force, and negligence. The jury also found the department liable for battery and false imprisonment.

In a statement, North Las Vegas said it is disappointed in the outcome of the case but is sticking to the assertion that the shooting was accidental and that Booker had cause to investigate Murry.

“Regardless, the City respects the jury’s decision, and will move forward from here,” City Attorney Micaela Moore said in the statement.

This is the fourth time since October that the department has paid for a shooting. The three other shootings, which occurred between 2011 and 2013, all resulted in settlements. The City Council voted in December to pay the family of Fernando Sauceda, who was killed by police, nearly $400,000 to end a lawsuit. The city also settled two separate cases stemming from shootings involving dogs.


North Las Vegas Police Sued Over Shooting

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — We’re learning more about what led a North Las Vegas SWAT officer to shoot a driver he encountered at a crime scene on Jan. 3.

The man who was shot is opening up about what happened as he lawyers up to sue the department claiming his constitutional rights were violated.

Phillip Murry, 25, said he was driving home down Ellis Street when he noticed an armored SWAT truck on the side of the road with its lights initially off.

“I see them flash their lights for me. So I know to pull over to the side of the road and I see their lights still flashing. Once the lights go off I feel as if I’m ok to proceed to go,” Murry said. “There was no police tape, there weren’t any cones. There weren’t any police officers walking the perimeter or anything.”

Once Murry passed the truck, he saw 10-year North Las Vegas Police Department veteran Sergeant Michael Booker, 40, get out.

“I heard him yell loudly, ‘Hey,’ trying to alert me or get my attention and that’s when the gunshot went off. It wasn’t him telling me this or telling me that.” Murry said. “Before the gunshot had gone off I hadn’t even gotten a word out.”

While still in his car, Murry said he felt pain in his right foot and reacted by reaching down.

“That’s when I hear him yelling at me. ‘What are you doing? Show me your hands. What are you reaching for?’ So I put my hands in the air,” Murry said.

North Las Vegas Police investigators have yet to update the public on this shooting but said this on the day of the incident.

“We believe that the officer at one moment perceived a threat and he discharged his firearm,” said Aaron Patty, a police spokesman for NLVPD.

It’s something Murry says didn’t happen.

“I have no idea what he could have perceived as a threat. I had nothing in my car that was a threat to the officer,” Murry said.

Murry’s attorney Peter Goldstein said they’re going to file a complaint against the department early next week.

“We don’t know whether this was an inadvertent discharge or whether it was intentional,” Goldstein said.

Murry has yet to be charged with a crime.

“I don’t believe they’re going to be filing charges against Phillip. I would imagine the district attorney’s office should look at filing charges against Sergeant Booker,” Goldstein said.

News 3 reached out to the North Las Vegas Police Department Thursday to provide further details.

We were told the department is overwhelmed by the recent death of one of its officers and could not provide an update.

They expect to update the public next week.