LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The four Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers who shot and killed Jorge Gomez during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Las Vegas last summer will not face criminal charges, according to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
Gomez, 25, who was legally armed, was shot on the evening of June 1.
According to the legal analysis of Jorge Gomez’s death, “based on the evidence currently available and subject to the discovery of any new or additional evidence the actions of Sergeant Ryan Fryman, Officer Andrew Locher, Officer Vernon Ferguson, and Officer Daniel Emerton were not criminal in nature.”
Gomez was approached by officers following another shooting moments earlier on Las Vegas Boulevard in front of Circus Circus Hotel that left Metro Officer Shay Mikalonis severely injured. Gomez, who was not involved in that shooting, was near the federal courthouse.
Officers said Gomez was acting “suspicious” and “taunting” officers and not acting like an “average protester” or “open carry citizen.” Officers expressed concerns that Gomez might ambush them, the analysis said.
Police said he ignored commands and raised a firearm in a threatening manner and attempted to run away. Officers fired 19 rounds at him, killing him.
During the fact-finding review of the shooting which took place last month, a police detective said video of the incident showed that Gomez did not raise gun, despite what the officers had said.
According to the analysis by Wolfson, “Considering the foregoing, the shooting officers each had a reasonable belief that decedent could cause serious physical harm to themselves, their fellow officers, and/or citizens. Thus, the use of deadly force by the shooting officers was legally justified.”
It also states that a “killing is justified even if it develops afterward that the person killing was mistaken about the extent of the danger.”
Athar Haseebullah, the Nevada executive director of the ACLU released the following statement in response to the district attorney’s decision.
“I doubt anyone in the community is surprised to see that District Attorney Wolfson declined to hold the officers who killed Jorge Gomez accountable. Our attorneys are going to analyze his office’s findings very carefully, but it’s been clear for years that our current procedure for police accountability is a sham process in which police investigate themselves and DA Wolfson’s office simply signs off on that investigation. There are clear conflicts of interest in such investigations. By failing time and time again to seek meaningful accountability for police officers who use excessive force, the District Attorney’s office is sending a message that protecting law enforcement is more important than protecting our community.”Athar Hasseebullah