Sunday, May 19 2013 10:11 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:11:43 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Metro officers have arrested two suspects accused of killing a teen while trying to steal his iPad. 15-year-old Marcos Arenas was run over by an SUV on Thursday near Charleston and Torrey Pines. PoliceMore>>
A father may be getting a small bit of closure after police say they've arrested the men responsible for his son's death.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 9:01 PM EDT2013-05-20 01:01:14 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A vehicle rollover has sent a 15-year-old to the hospital in critical condition. The accident happened just before 5:00 p.m. on Pilot Road near Bermuda Road. The driver of had to be extricatedMore>>
A vehicle rollover has sent a 15-year-old to the hospital in critical condition.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:05:13 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself. But on Thursday morning, as he was assisting someone who had crashed their car, anotherMore>>
When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself.More>>
Monday, May 20 2013 12:01 AM EDT2013-05-20 04:01:24 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- While the Las Vegas metropolitan area in the last decade experienced more rapid growth in its suburbs than in its urban core, the percentage of residents living in poverty likewise increasedMore>>
While the Las Vegas metropolitan area in the last decade experienced more rapid growth in its suburbs than in its urban core, the percentage of residents living in poverty likewise increased faster in the suburbs than elsewhere.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 9:21 PM EDT2013-05-20 01:21:36 GMT
Three-thousand graduates walked the stage for the 50th UNLV commencement ceremonies. This is the day college students wait for. It's the end of late night study sessions and the beginning of their careers.More>>
Three-thousand graduates walked the stage for the 50th UNLV commencement ceremonies.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 6:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 22:10:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Some of the trams at McCarran International Airport are down due to an electrical failure. Officials tells us they stopped working this morning. Right now at least 2 trams are working, butMore>>
Some of the trams at McCarran International Airport are down due to an electrical failure.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 2:26 PM EDT2013-05-19 18:26:25 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly crash on the I15 near the Speedway. We're told 3 people are dead. The driver of a Acura was driving northbound when for some reason he enteredMore>>
Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly crash on the I15 near the Speedway. We're told 3 people are dead.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:25 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:25:46 GMT
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible. Police say two men tried to rob the child of the device on Thursday.More>>
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:09 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:09:50 GMT
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball. The jackpot has grown to $600 million. People tell 8 News Now they waitedMore>>
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball.More>>
Helldorado Days return to downtown Las Vegas this weekend, keeping alive the longest-running event in city history.More>>
LAS VEGAS - In 2003, a Metro Police officer shot and killed five-time felon Orlando Barlow as he surrendered, on his knees, with his hands behind his head. The department settled the resulting civil lawsuit for $300,000.
In 2008, a dispute over a traffic ticket escalated and resulted in the shooting death of ice cream lady Deshira Selimaj. Henderson Police shot her in front of her husband and her children. The Henderson Police Department settled for $700,000.
Marc Saggese represented the Selimaj family. His partner, Michael Cristalli represented the Barlows.
"The public perception (is) that these are easy cases to win," Saggese said. "It is the exact opposite."
The Selimaj and Barlow cases prove the exception to a long-standing trend, according to police records obtained by the I-Team.
Since 1999, the valley's largest police departments – Metro, Henderson and North Las Vegas - have settled a total of five lawsuits involving fatal shootings for a sum of slightly more than one and a half million dollars.
"These are very difficult, time consuming, financially exhausting cases to take on, and the police dump enormous resources into the defense of these cases," Cristalli said.
Those resources pay off for police. Of the 19 lawsuits filed against the departments since 1999, only two went to a jury. Each time, jurors found in favor of Metro. Most of the remaining cases ended early and in the same way, with a judgment for law enforcement.
"What police or the advocates for the police will do is file a motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity, which basically means a reasonable police officer would've done the same thing as this particular officer did under these set of facts," Cristalli said. "It's a very difficult burden to overcome."
Chris Collins disagrees. He is the executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union which represents Metro's police officers. He suggests a simpler explanation.
"I think it's more the fact that these cases themselves prove the officers' actions were warranted and justified," Collins said.
The findings were supported in judicial decisions involving even the most controversial cases.
The case of Suave Lopez is one such case. Lopez was a 17-year-old murder suspect who was shot in the back as he fled Metro Police in handcuffs. An attorney for the Lopez family sought $23 million in a lawsuit against the department. Earlier this year, a judge rejected the case as frivolous and ordered the Lopez family to pay more than $100,000 for Metro's legal fees.
"For me, that information just reaffirms in my mind that our officers have done the right thing," Collins said.
"I disagree with that," Cristalli said.
Cristalli explains debatable circumstances, like those in Lopez's case, are rarely enough to defeat the police. Instead, he says, settlement negotiations begin with evidence of impropriety.
In the Barlow case, the officer printed t-shirts with the initials BDRT, which allegedly stood for "Baby Daddy Removal Team". In the Selimaj case, the shooter was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a teenager. Neither man is currently employed by their respective departments.
"When we get a case like this, my partner and I know it is an uphill battle," Saggese said. "From when you talk to the client, to getting the evidence, to processing the case and getting any level of cooperation from the police, it's very difficult, because they have that mentality that they can do no wrong."
Cristalli and Saggese suggest that is all the more reason to reform the coroner's inquest process. The courts, they say, rarely provide the avenue to get to the truth of questionable shootings.
Their own experience tells them, in its current form, the inquest system doesn't get to it either.