The family of a man who died after being put in a chokehold by a police officer will receive a $2.2 million settlement.
What We Know:
- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has agreed to pay a record $2.2 million to the family of a man who was chased, beaten, jolted by stun guns, then put in a chokehold and died while in their custody. The settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit is the largest in the history of LVMPD.
- Tashii Brown, 40, died on May 14, 2017 after a police officer put him in a chokehold outside The Venetian Hotel & Casino. LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera chased and punched Brown, before using his taser against him seven times, and then put him in an unauthorized chokehold for more than a minute.
- The police reports show that Brown approached two police officers, Lopera being one of them, and asked for help locating a drinking fountain. Lopera became suspicious because Brown was sweaty, tried to grab him and Brown ran off which started a chase. Lopera eventually caught up to Brown and started tasing him, claiming Brown was trying to carjack a vehicle. The entire incident was caught on the police officer’s bodycam.
- The department fired Lopera for violating their use of force policies and he became the first police officer since 1990 to face manslaughter charges. He was finally charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office after the coroner ruled that Brown died of asphyxiation from the chokehold. The medical examiners also determined Brown had an enlarged heart and methamphetamine in his bloodstream at the time. In August 2018, the charges against Lopera were dropped when a grand jury decided not to indict him after the police union presented evidence that claimed Brown’s death was the result of cardiac issues and drug use.
“While there are still other legal matters pending, this is an important step toward justice in this case,” LVMPD said in a statement. “Under LVMPD policy, neck restraints can only be used when deadly force would be authorized.”
- Since Brown’s death and following the killing of George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement, who also died after being placed in a chokehold for almost nine minutes, the LVMPD has changed its policy on a neck restraint technique and it is only allowed in life-threatening situations.
The police have said they would not have charged Tashii Brown with a crime if he would have survived. A separate lawsuit filed by Brown’s mother, Trinita Farmer, against Kenneth Lopera is still pending in federal court.