LAS VEGAS - For two years, the coroner's inquest process has been halted due to a lengthy legal battle. Tuesday, the Clark County Commission will consider changes that could restart the process.
The coroner's inquest is meant to gather information regarding officer-involved incidents that result in deaths.
The legal battle started two years ago after Nevada Highway Patrol troopers used a Taser on a 21-year-old suspect near U.S. 95 and Charleston Boulevard – killing him.
A coroner's inquest was called to investigate the death, but the troopers involved sued - believing the inquest process was unfair to them.
Earlier this year, the Nevada Supreme Court struck down the inquest process – stating the use of a Justice of the Peace to preside over inquests was unconstitutional.
Tuesday, the Clark County Commission will consider changes that would remove Justices of the Peace from the process.
Meanwhile, two initiatives backed by different groups are circulating that would further revamp the inquest process.
Earlier this year, Metro Police Sheriff Doug Gillespie offered a list of changes to the coroner's inquest. His suggestions include the use of a hearing master and a government official to represent the family of those killed.
The other initiative, backed by the ACLU of Nevada, would give all parties involved power to introduce evidence and subpoena witnesses - not just the district attorney.
"We can't just leave it up to the district attorney and to the police themselves to police the police department," said former Nevada ACLU Legal Director Maggie McLetchie. "The district attorney works day-in and day-out with police. They are not in a position. The public doesn't trust the DA to have the kind of distance from the police department to ask the tough questions and to really examine what happened and to let the facts all come forward."
Las Vegas Police Protective Association Executive Director Chris Collins says he wants the public to get the facts and that the process should be a fact-finding solution, not an adversarial one.
Metro Police representatives say they will use whichever process gets approved.
The Clark County Commission's final vote to determine which amendment(s) to the coroner's inquest will be instilled is expected to take place next month.
There have been more than 20 people killed at the hands of local law enforcement officers in the past two years.
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. It's hoped the opening of a new medical clinic will change that.