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>>
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>>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:02 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:02:54 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said. According to the Clark County Detention Center, the volunteer coach,More>>
A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:56:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Metro Police says a preteen who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted robbery has died. Investigators said the preteen was walking near Charleston Boulevard and Torrey Pines Drive withMore>>
Marcos Arenas, a Bonanza High School student who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted theft, has died, Metro Police said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:39:56 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating two people found dead in an apartment complex near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway. According to police, the bodies were found around 3 p.m. Friday atMore>>
Metro Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman whose bodies were found in an apartment Friday afternoon near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:17:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County firefighters are responding to reports of an explosion and fire at a facility located at North Las Vegas Boulevard and Sloan Lane. This is a developing story. 8NewsNOW. com willMore>>
One person is reported dead following an explosion and fire at a facility located at North Las Vegas Boulevard and Sloan Lane.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:03:09 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The theft of iPads, iPhones and other Apple devices is becoming commonplace, earning it the nickname, "Apple-picking," the police said. Bonanza High School student Marcos Arenas died ThursdayMore>>
The theft of iPads, iPhones and other Apple devices is becoming commonplace, earning it the nickname, "Apple-picking," the police said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:42 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:42:38 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Federal Election Commission had found that the parents of disgraced former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada made excessive in-kind contributions to a former political action committee staffMore>>
The Federal Election Commission had found that the parents of disgraced former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada made excessive in-kind contributions to a former political action committee staff member.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- A Nevada Taxi Cab officer named Rico Constantino sounds like someone you would want at your side in a tight spot. People who know him say Constantino is strong, fearless, and driven. But sometimes, those qualities can lead to trouble for a peace officer who carries a badge and a gun.
Constantino recently returned to work as a senior supervisor for the Taxi Cab Authority after a lengthy suspension for unspecified violations. The TA won't talk about his transgressions, but the I-Team has compiled quite a list based on reports from his fellow officers.
"We're here to serve, here to protect, and I know it sounds corny, but you gotta keep the bad ones out and the good ones in," said Constantino in an interview over a year ago.
On the streets, Constantino is a savvy and formidable force of nature, well-known among taxi drivers and rival lawmen.
"We protect the companies, we protect the drivers, we protect the public," said Constantino. He is respected by cabbies but also feared because of his reputation.
"He's a hot shot," said Scott Lewis, a fired TA officer and vehement critic of the agency. He says Constantino routinely crosses the line, enforcing laws that have nothing to do with taxis -- such as pulling over private vehicles for traffic violations -- and always uses way too much force.
"He's always in some kind of hot water and some kind of controversial situation because he's high strung," said Lewis.
The TA has received numerous reports from its own officers about Constantino. Officer James Dudley filed a report about an incident in 2008 after a man skipped out on an $18 cab fare. Dudley and Constantino tracked the passenger to an apartment, banged on the door, and when no one would answer, Constantino pulled a large knife, used it to pry open a window, and yelled that he was coming in.
Dudley says Constantino bragged and laughed about the incident the next day with his friend, TA Enforcement Chief Joe Dahlia.
TA officer Kevin Hinkle reported that during 2009 he witnessed at least five incidents where Constantino tracked down fare skippers and used a knife to pry open windows at their homes. Hinkle said he watched his boss use a metal baton to smash private property and that Constantino routinely drove his state car in excess of 60 miles-per-hour over the speed limit -- 100 miles-per-hour -- to get to the scene of minor fare disputes.
In April 2010, Constantino responded to a fare skipping incident involving less than $10. He sped down the Las Vegas Strip at a high rate of speed, lost control of his car, and smashed into a palm tree in front of the Imperial Palace, causing heavy damage to the vehicle.
Another complaint filed by a cabbie says Constantino pulled him over for a minor traffic infraction and then handcuffed him to the bumper of the police car. It should come as no surprise to the TA what they were getting when they hired Constantino.
Prior to his TA job, he prowled the ring as a buffed up professional wrestler. His character was sort of a gay-Elvis type who pulverized opponents while wearing flamboyant costumes.
Before that, he was a cop, hired in 1985 as a police officer in North Las Vegas. But less than two years later, the police chief called a news conference to announce that Constantino was being fired after an African American Air Force Sergeant was pulled over in a traffic stop and was brutally beaten. It wasn't the only allegation.
During his first year on the force, another black man was savagely beaten. Constantino was one of the officers named in a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit. Scott Lewis says Constantino bragged to his TA officers about the old days.
"He used to tell stories about he would get out of the patrol car with a dog leash on his neck and his sergeant would take the dog leash off and he would go into a house and beat people up and tell them to leave Las Vegas," said Lewis.
And what did the TA have to say about all of this? Nothing according to Lewis.
The agency says anything to do with Constantino's conduct is a personnel matter and can't be discussed. The new head of the TA, Charles Harvey, has been on the job just a few months, but does not grant interviews on any subject because, we are told, he is still learning the ropes.
Taxpayer watchdog Geoff Lawrence with the Nevada Policy Research Institute says there is no question the public has a right to know about alleged behavior as outrageous as this.
"When you are breaking into their homes, intimidating them, it's a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This is a serious abuse of power by someone who is supposed to be an officer of the law. So this is something everybody should be concerned about if peace officers in Las Vegas are allowed to run around, intimidate people, extort money and use these other tactics which are clearly inappropriate," said Lawrence.
Constantino continues to serve as the second-ranking enforcement supervisor in the TA. He declined to comment for this report.