Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers

Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Fired After Beating


On March 20, Metropolitan Police Officer Derek Colling got into an “altercation” with a videographer. After an eight month investigation he is now out of a job. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Colling was found to be in violation of several departmental policies, though the department didn’t specify which policies he had violated.

Mitchell Crooks was filming police from his front porch on the night of March 20 as they investigated a burglary across the street. Colling reportedly told him to stop. Crooks refused and was beaten, with his own video camera catching much of the altercation.

Crooks was arrested that night on charges of battery against an officer, trespassing, and resisting arrest. Those charges were later dropped. He is now in the process of filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against Colling.

Colling had been on paid suspension since April 1 of this year as the investigation went on for several months. Crooks said the waiting was “driving me crazy” and added “this is a little vindication” when discussing Colling’s termination.

Crooks’ attorney David Otto believes that Colling would have not been fired if it wasn’t for the video footage revealing the beating and believes that all officers should wear lapel cameras to increase accountability. In regards to the federal civil suit, Otto said, “Colling had only one malicious, illegitimate, illegal reason for questioning Mr. Crooks that night.” The suit names Colling, fellow officers, and the Metropolitan Police Department and seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

Interestingly, the public wasn’t the only group that was outraged at the footage went viral after the beating. Other officers came forward expressing disappointment in Colling’s actions.

Colling had been involved in two fatal shootings in his career as a Vegas cop. Both shootings were ruled justified, though one of the victim’s mothers says she is glad that Colling is off the streets.

Lapel cameras or police cameras worn on other parts of the uniform aren’t a bad idea. Other cities have experimented with such technology and found that both officers and the people they encounter are more likely to act civilly when they know they are being filmed. No one wants to be babysat at all times but this could be one situation where the benefits outweigh the inconveniences.

As of yet, such cameras are pretty rare. Though they would provide great evidence in a criminal case, potentially damning or vindicating an alleged suspect, they simply aren’t available.

If you are accused of committing a crime, video evidence could potentially help or hurt you significantly. The same can be said for other types of evidence too, however. Contact our offices today to discuss the evidence in your case and how it could affect the ultimate outcome.

 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 7:47 am and is filed under criminal laws. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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