Calls for federal probe into Metro's use of force

Calls for federal probe into Metro's use of force

By Molly Waldron. CREATED Dec 14, 2011

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The NAACP and ACLU of Nevada are calling for a federal probe into what they call a pattern of excessive use of force by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

These calls are being sparked by Monday's police shooting that killed a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran behind the wheel of his car in a Las Vegas condominium complex.

Stanley Lavon Gibson was suspected of burglary but was unarmed and wedged between two patrol cars. After a 30 minute standoff, one officer fired several rounds into the car.

"Something went very, very wrong and it is not a situation that surprised too many people," says Allen Lichtenstein, general council for the ACLU of Nevada. "The number of police involved shootings and deaths is inordinately high for a city of this size."

Gibson's slaying was the 12th fatal police shooting by a Metro officer this year making 2011 the department's deadliest year ever.

Following Monday morning's slaying, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie pleaded for patience from the public and promised a thorough internal investigation.

Other cases have sparked public outcry including the March beating of Mitchell Crooks, who was simply video taping officers on a call.

"Police officers seem to not know how to handle these kind of situations," says Lichtenstein. "They apparently have not received enough training, they have not gotten the proper supervision and the protocols aren't there."

Metro Police tell Action News they are aware of the calls for a federal investigation into their use of force and have no comment.

"No one is really holding Metro accountable," says Lichtenstein. "They are investigating themselves and that doesn't work."

The Department of Justice is currently conducting similar use of force probes in other cities including Miami, FL and Portland, OR.