I-Team: Hollywood actor calls out Metro Police on traffic stop, lack of body camera video

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Hollywood actor claims he was mistreated during a traffic stop in Las Vegas. Police worn body camera video would help reveal what happened, but the footage doesn’t exist. 

The I-Team first requested information on this incident on April 17th.  After 5pm Thursday, the department released video the I-Team had been requesting. 

One oversight group is calling out the Metropolitan Police Department after noticing more complaints where there is no footage. 

You might remember him from “Training Day,” “Bruce Almighty” or his role as Hector in “Fast and Furious.”

Noel Guglielmi says he left a life of crime for Hollywood.

“Acting is what kind of saved me in a way,” he said. “It changed my life.”

But a traffic stop for a broken headlight in Las Vegas near Fremont Street and Eastern back in February of 2018 led to another run-in with police.  

“The first time in my life, I said dude, I’m from the movies. Relax. Like what’s your problem? And I said it because I was in fear of my life.” 

Guglielmi claims excessive force was used.

“Before you know it, the door opens. I get ripped out of the seat by the police officer. Takes me up, slams me on the hood of the car, I don’t even remember the correct, starts just yelling at me. ‘What are you doing? Like running from a cop, what’s wrong with you.’  And then I’m like what are you talking about? Before you know it, he’s kicking my feet already, spreading them as far as possible, starts patting me down, handcuffs me, takes me by the middle of the handcuffs, slams me on the car again.”

Guglielmi has his story, and the police officer has another.  According to a police document, the officer said Guglielmi was ordered out of the car at gunpoint. Body camera video from the night shows the officer saying: “Thought he was gonna bolt on me when he got out of the car because he was walking toward the sidewalk.”

What they do agree on is that Guglielmi moved the car after the officer pulled him over. “When we roll up to the third light, he turns the light on, we sit through the whole red light, but the cop never approached the car. Then the green light. The cop still never approached the car, so my thinking was, OK maybe he just doesn’t want to do it in the middle of the street,” Guglielmi said. “He gets a green light and starts going forward. I’m like what the (expletive), dude?” the officer says on the body camera.

There is no way to know what happened. The officer admits to not having his body camera turned on. There is no video of their initial interaction. 

“The whole purpose in body worn cams, is transparency. Metro wants that transparency but if their officers are not following policy, then we’ve got citizens that are out there and potentially things are happening to them that are wrongful,” said Andrea Beckman, Executive Director of the Citizen’s Review Board. The board is an independent group of civilian volunteers who investigate complaints against police. 

Guglielmi complained both to the Metro Police Department and the Citizen Review Board. Metro Internal Affairs investigated and in a letter to Guglielmi, stated there was a policy violation. No specifics were given though. The Citizen Review Board found the officer did commit alleged misconduct by failing to turn on his camera. But since there is no footage from the initial stop, they board could not investigate Guglielmi’s claim of excessive force.

The Review Board also noted there has been an increase in complaints sustained for officers not turning on their body cameras this year and recommends Metro retrain the entire department in body camera policy and procedure. According to the department officers activate their cameras more than 90 percent of the time when they should.

For officers who fail to turn on the cameras, through this matrix, an officer has four strikes before a complaint is opened.

“It’s questionable whether or not the matrix treats these types of things seriously enough or whether Metro treats them seriously enough,” Beckman said.

Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “And taxpayers are paying for the cameras?”
Andrea Beckman: “Yes, it’s a great expense. It’s a lot of money that’s been laid out by Metro so that’s something that we as the board, the volunteers, myself, have requested Sheriff Lombardo look into and he’s indicated he will and I hope he follows through on it.”

The department has not released details on discipling officers or whether the officer who stopped Guglielmi faced any consequences. A Metro spokesman tells us that it is a personnel matter which he says is not public information.

This evening Metro sent the I-Team body camera video from other officers at the scene who arrived later.  Again, neither of the videos show what happened during the initial stop, or when he was pulled out of the car.  

Both Beckman and Guglielmi say they respect police and understand they have a tough job.

A spokesman for the police union says a big part of turning on the cameras is muscle memory. Metro issued the following statement:

“LVMPD’s officers are trained in body worn camera use and policy prior to being issued one.  As you know, LVMPD has a discipline matrix associated with failure to activate body worn cameras, which we have previously provided to you.  Additionally, bureau commanders are provided with compliancy reports and are holding officers accountable for failure to activate their cameras.  It should be noted that the LVMPD is on the cutting edge of auditing officer compliance and our current activation compliance as a department is over 90%.”

David Roger, with the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, discusses rules regarding officers turning on their body worn camera.
 

 

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