LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is in a jail cell. Soon, he will learn his sentence for murdering George Floyd.
He is one of the few officers nationwide to be convicted for actions on the job.
But just a few years ago, Metro Police had its own case of inappropriate action leading to death.
May 14, 2017.
Tashii Farmer, also known as Tashii Brown, is chased through the Venetian, tasered seven times and ultimately, according to the coroner’s report, choked to death by Metro Police Officer Kenneth Lopera.
Soon afterwards, Lopera resigned and was charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of law.
“When the conduct crosses the line, they have to be held accountable,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
But ultimately, Lopera was never prosecuted.
A grand jury turned down the case and the district attorney did nothing more.
“He felt relief and happy and appreciative of the Grand Jury,” said Steve Grammas of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.
Still, Metro acknowledged Lopera’s actions were wrong.
Last summer, the department settled with Farmer’s children and estate for $2.2 million, the largest in its history.
“Tashii Farmer mattered to a lot of people,” said attorney Andre Lagomarsino.
Lagomarsino’s client didn’t see one cent.
He represents Farmer’s mother, Trinita, who was not part of that settlement. Lagomarsino says she is still traumatized from losing her son.
Her lawsuit against Metro and Lopera remains unsettled.
“Metro has taken a very hard line on the case,” Lagomarsino said.
Lagomarsino says his ongoing civil case has revealed new details into Farmer’s death. That includes a newly-revealed 2019 deposition from Lopera’s partner.
It shows even she was shocked by what he did.
“Officer Lif saw no threat, saw no reason to detain Tashii Farmer,” Lagomarsino said.
Right now, Trinita Farmer’s case is in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lopera’s attorney wants it dismissed, citing qualified immunity.
Calls to Kenneth Lopera’s attorney and the district attorney’s office were not returned. Metro Police says it cannot comment on pending litigation.