Metro releases body cam, surveillance video leading up to man’s death

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Metro Police released body camera video showing the moments leading up to Tashii Brown’s death.  Brown, who also goes by the name “Tashii Farmer,” died while in police custody Sunday night.

In the news conference Wednesday, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Brown first encountered police when he walked up to officer Kenneth Lopera and another officer at a coffee shop inside the Venetian Hotel. 

The officers said Brown was sweating, and he looked panicked as he told them people were chasing him. The officers tried to talk to him, but then Brown took off running, Metro said.

At the start of the body camera footage shown by Metro, you could see when Brown started to run away from officers.

The foot chase of Brown sent Officer Lopera through an employee-only area of the hotel and a stairwell before he eventually caught up to Brown outside of the hotel.

According to Metro Police, Officer Lopera said on the body camera footage that Brown was attempting to open the tailgate of an occupied truck driving in the area.  Brown then ran around to the driver’s side of the truck and attempted to open the door.

Officer Lopera said that he thought Brown was trying to carjack the driver, Metro said.

Officer Lopera grabbed his taser and yelled to Brown that he was going to tase him.  The officer tased him in the back, and Brown went to the ground. 

Officer Lopera ordered Brown to get onto his stomach, and during that time Officer Lopera tased him again.  In all Brown was tased seven times, Metro’s undersheriff said.

On the body cam video, Officer Lopera could be heard calling for help before some Venetian security guards came to his aid.

During the struggle on the ground, the video showed Brown attempting to pull the tasing prongs from his back. Officer Lopera started to strike Brown’s head and face with his hands while giving commands for Brown to get on his stomach.

Brown continued to struggle, so Officer Lopera said that he was going to apply the “rear-naked choke hold” to Brown.  According to Metro, Officer Lopera used an unapproved neck hold on Brown.

Undersheriff McMahill said Officer Lopera applied the neck restraint for over one minute, but he released it when additional officers arrived on scene to assist in handcuffing Brown.

As soon as officers realized Brown wasn’t breathing, they administered CPR chest compressions. 

Brown was taken to Sunrise Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:29 a.m.

During the news conference, Metro Police also said the officer hadn’t provided a criminal statement to Metro detectives investigating Brown’s death.

Officer Lopera, 31, has been with Metro for five years. He’s been placed on paid administrative leave.

Undersheriff McMahill said Brown, who had a lengthy criminal history which includes attempted murder, robbery, parole violation and DUI to name a few, wouldn’t have faced any applicable charges had he survived the encounter with the officer.

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