Commissioners Vote to Change Coroner's Inquests - 8 News NOW

Commissioners Vote to Change Coroner's Inquests

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Metro Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and District Attorney Steve Wolfson speak to county commissioners. Metro Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and District Attorney Steve Wolfson speak to county commissioners.

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County commissioners voted 4 to 2 in approval Monday of a resolution to resume the long-delayed coroner's inquests.

The controversial inquests would be given a new name and structured differently. The police fatality review process would take place outside of a courtroom and not have a panel of citizens listening to testimony. There would also be fewer witnesses.

"I think this provides a level of transparency that a lot of the communities don't see," Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie told the commissioners.

The coroner's inquest was meant to gather information regarding officer-involved incidents that result in deaths. The process has been on hold for two years due to legal issues. Metro said the process was adversarial.

For more than two hours, commissioners debated the fate of the coroner's inquest. In the audience, an emotional Rondha Gibson listened. Her husband, Stanley Gibson, was shot seven times by police. Gibson was unarmed.

"I don't want my husband's death to be in vain," Rondha Gibson said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which did not agree with the coroner's inquest process, also does not support the so-called police fatality review process.

"The police department, certainly the union, has been fighting openness and transparency, and the process of actually having real questions asked for a long time. They've now swayed the Commission, where ultimately they end up with a glorified press conference," said Allen Lichtenstein, ACLU of Nevada.

"I disagree with the ACLU. This is an airing of the facts for closure on all sides," said Chris Collins, Las Vegas Police Protective Association.

Gibson showed up to the commission carrying a bullet to illustrate the seven bullets that killed her husband. She left the meeting upset. She doesn't understand why changes are being made to the coroner's inquest process.

"If you're not guilty, let the coroner's inquest go through. What's it going to hurt if you're innocent."



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