Officer struck defenseless suspect with knee to the face, NLV investigation finds

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A criminal complaint filed against former North Las Vegas Police officer Spencer Chase Kinney details an arrest that ends with the suspect being kneed in the face as two officers held him.

The suspect, unnamed in the court document, had his jaw broken in two places, likely the result of Kinney’s knee striking him, statements in the complaint indicate.

Kinney’s fellow officers interviewed in an internal investigation agreed that the action was unnecessary. The suspect — who had acted aggressively toward officers and a police dog used to detain him — was defenseless at the time, having been subdued. The suspect wasn’t resisting when he was struck, snapping his head back.

“I’m broken. I’m broken,” the suspect said, according one officer who made statements to detective Steven Wiese, the officer investigating Kinney’s actions.

Six officers interviewed during Wiese’s investigation confirmed that Kinney struck the suspect with his knee. Several officers recounted Kinney’s taunts toward the suspect afterward.

The April 24 arrest occurred in the front yard of the suspect’s parents after they called police and said they were afraid their son would hurt them. They described him as a methamphetamine user and told police he was threatening them with a metal bar, according to the criminal complaint.

Although the suspect and his parents are not identified, a section of the police report quoted in the complaint indicate the suspect was a Hispanic male.

Kinney is white.

When police arrived, he refused to obey commands and urged them to let the K9 unit attack as he swung a 2-foot piece of rebar.

Officers fired a non-lethal foam bullet and used a Taser, but the suspect continued to refuse commands. The police dog and officers eventually subdued him.

With an officer holding each arm, Kinney approached him from the front. Although bodycam video does not capture the moment of contact, it does show the suspect’s head snap back, according to Wiese’s affidavit. Several officers confirmed that Kinney struck the suspect with his knee, and even showed one officer redness on his knee afterward.

Kinney resigned from the North Las Vegas Police Department before the investigation was completed.

Kinney faces charges of battery with substantial bodily harm, oppression under the color of office and filing a false report.

In his incident report, Kinney said the suspect hit his head on the ground.

Kinney also asked another officer after delivering the blow if the bodycam was still recording.

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