LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The newest name in Nevada’s “Black Book” could signal a new direction for law enforcement — taking a hard line against sex trafficking and other criminal activity that is attracted to casinos.
Kendrick Laronte Weatherspoon of Las Vegas was added to the Black Book — officially, Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons — at Thursday’s Nevada Gaming Commission meeting. People who are listed in the Black Book are banned from casinos.
In discussion before the 5-0 vote, gaming officials questioned whether it would set a precedent and set up a situation where hundreds of criminals might be added in the future.
Capt. Fred Haas, who runs Metro’s vice and gang unit, said there are probably six others on his radar that he considers possible Black Book candidates.
James Taylor, chief of enforcement for the Gaming Control Board, said the Black Book has traditionally included “the worst of the worst.” He said a total of 71 people have ever been listed, and those were typically involved in cheating casinos or connected to organized crime. It has been several years since officials have put a new name in the Black Book.
Commission Chair Jennifer Togliatti, a former judge, asked for clarity on why Weatherspoon — and not someone else with a similar background — was proposed for the Black Book.
There have been about 400 sex trafficking cases over the past three years, and Togliatti expressed concern over where to draw the line.
“I’m not trying to go after the 300 or 400 a year that are doing this. What I’m trying to go after is those that are very sophisticated in how they do this,” Haas said. “I’m after the ones who are continual … year after year.”
Weatherspoon is certainly a “bad actor,” the board agreed.
“Nevada is no place for violence against women,” said Commissioner Ogonna Brown. “I think this is a prime candidate for exclusion.” She said the action would send a message.
His record includes incidents of sex trafficking, grand larceny and more.
Among Weatherspoon’s felony convictions presented by the Nevada District Attorney’s Office to the commission:
- Dec. 5, 1996: Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell
- Sept. 19, 2001: Possession of cocaine
- Dec. 2, 2002: Possession of controlled substance with intent to sell, ex-felon in possession of a firearm
- Feb. 17, 2022: Two counts of coercion (condition of probation: cannot go to the Strip corridor)
In addition to those convictions, the District Attorney’s Office also brought up charges of burglary, kidnapping, sex trafficking, battery by strangulation and sexual assault.
Often, cases are not prosecuted because victims refuse to testify because they are afraid.
In one incident, the District Attorney’s Office presented details contained in an investigator’s affidavit:
A woman told investigators she first met Weatherspoon at a Strip casino. He eventually convinced her to be a prostitute. When she changed her mind, he followed home, grabbed her by the throat, shoved her against the wall lifted her in the air. Then he punched her in the head several times. She blacked out, and when she woke up, he sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
“We’ve seen a lot of this violence with human trafficking, and it has exploded over the past couple of years,” Haas said. “What’s increased also is the amount of violence. The amount of violence that these people use to get these females to work in that environment over and over again. And if they don’t produce a certain amount of money or do a certain amount of thefts against on casinos, they’re beaten. Sometimes beyond recognition.”