Sheriff Backs Officers in Las Vegas Costco Slaying - 8 News NOW

Sheriff Backs Officers in Las Vegas Costco Slaying

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LAS VEGAS -- A coroner's jury ruled that three Las Vegas police officers were justified in the shooting death of Erik Scott at a Summerlin Costco.

The three officers involved will now go before Metro's Use of Force Board before they are re-instated. They have been on paid administrative leave since the incident.

Wednesday morning, Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie called the verdict fair, but said there are changes can be made in how they investigate officer involved shootings.

Sheriff Gillespie said the inquest process is one of the most open and transparent of any in the country. Metro has looked at similar models in San Diego, Los Angeles and Portland.

He began his press conference talking about what his officers did on July 10. He said they followed their training.

"Those officers responded appropriately to the threat they felt. They did not have the luxury of waiting or second-guessing to see if the situation might turn out differently. Although I don't pretend to know what they're going through, the grief of the Scott family is feeling is understandable," he said.

Gillespie acknowledged the controversy about the inquest process. Some changes Metro has looked into include how officer-involved shootings are investigated, who's the approving authority on charges, and oversight of those investigations.

None of the officers involved in the Costco shooting were drug tested after it happened, so that is on the table, along with more training.

Gillespie said he's already begun examining how to make the inquest process better.

"The process is about fact-finding. I have already begun meetings with different stakeholders as I advocate positive change. But at this point, no decisions have been made about the type of changes that would recommended," he said.

Metro already has two internal investigative units -- the Critical Incident Response Team looks at each shooting and the Use of Force Board analyzes how calls are reported, who is assigned, how they respond to the call and if they followed police protocol.

The three officers who were cleared in the shooting will soon go before the Use of Force Board. The board is made up of four civilians with no ties to Metro and three police officers. They can remove an officer from the police force, even going against an inquest verdict.

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