First Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review to be Held Thursday in Gibson Shooting
The first Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review will be held Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. The review, which replaces the process known as the “coroner’s inquest,” will be aired live on Clark County Television (CCTV) and streamed over the County Internet site at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov.
This first review will be presided over by Stew Bell, a respected former District Court judge and Clark County District Attorney, and involves the Dec. 12, 2011, shooting by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer of Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson. Attorney Tony Sgro will serve as ombudsman, representing the public and the deceased’s family in this fact-finding review. Presiding officers and ombudsmen are selected by the county manager from lists approved by the County Commission.
Under this new process adopted by the County Commission in January, when a police-involved death occurs and the District Attorney’s Office preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the officer or officers involved is appropriate, the District Attorney calls for a police fatality public fact-finding review.
Presiding officers and ombudsmen are then selected by the county manager from lists approved by the County Commission. Next, the presiding officer selects a date and location for the review, “a public facility capable of seating members of the public who wish to observe the review,” according to County ordinance.
At the review, the District Attorney’s Office will present witnesses and make a presentation of the essential facts surrounding the police-involved death. Information provided by each witness may be in the form of a presentation or in a question-and-answer format. After the prosecutor has concluded with his presentation, the presiding officer and ombudsman may also ask questions.
The procedure for questioning witnesses is informal and intended to provide the public with relevant information about the use of force. Members of the public observing the review may submit proposed written questions to the presiding officer on forms available at the review. The presiding officer may ask the proposed questions, revise them or decline to ask them if he deems them “redundant, irrelevant or an abuse of the review process,” according to County ordinance. At the end of the review, no formal determination about the manner or cause of death will be rendered.
CCTV will carry the entirety of the proceedings. It is available in the Las Vegas area on Channel 4 on Cox cable (Channel 89.13 for those without converter boxes) and on CenturyLink as well as in Laughlin on Channel 14 via CMA Access and via the Internet at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov. A video recording of the review also will be available later for play on demand on the County website.
Editor’s note: CCTV will air the entire review live and you are welcome to use our signal. As you know, however, the signal is analogue, not high-definition. Unlike coroner’s inquests, this review will not be limited to pool cameras. Like Commission meetings, reporters, photographers and videographers will be able to come and go as they please. If any television outlet wishes to string cable into the review so that they may carry it live, please alert Erik Pappa (455-3548, 378-8970, firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance so that we can discuss requirements. Anyone outlets wishing to lay cable in order to carry the proceedings live will need to ensure that the cable is laid prior to the 9 a.m. start of the review in order to avoid disruptions.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 43 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.