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As I have often written, being a police officer is, at best, stressful and difficult.  Police officers are expected to make split second, life and death decisions, and are expected to be right 100% of the time.  It is somewhat miraculous how often they are right.  Young officers, learning in an honest agency, have an enormous advantage, but even then, the much-talked about “blue wall of silence” is involved.  In honest agencies, it is not nearly the bad thing one might think.

Ethical, professional officers don’t accept unlawful or abusive behavior in their ranks, but they know they walk around with a target on their backs.  The danger is less from criminals than from their own supervisors and administrators, and the politicians that can hire and fire them all.  Because the public doesn’t know the law, and cannot understand the realities of policing, officers tend to be protective of each other, in large part to help ensure none of them are victims of changing political winds, and to be sure they’re not treated unfairly.

In such agencies, unethical and dangerous officers are known to all.  If their offenses are serious enough, officers are more than willing to tell the truth about them, but seldom have to because their supervisors  are also ethical, experienced cops and will deal, quickly and appropriately, with such people, particularly if they actually harm a citizen or break the law in any significant way.  Generally, however, officers are reluctant to talk about these things.  The very nature of police work involves a great deal of secrecy.  Instead, they will quietly do their best to avoid working with such officers, and when they have no choice, do their best to rein them in when necessary.

Imagine now, gentle readers, young officers learning in an unethical agency, an agency that does not have a self-sacrificing ethic—officers see no need to take injury to protect the innocent; they shoot first and ask questions never–and that routinely covers up violations of rules and procedures and even crimes, including murder.  In such agencies the blue wall of silence is enforced by the worst among them.  Brutal, stupid, criminal officers set the tone and enforce silence, to which corrupt supervisors and administrators, far more concerned with their power and politics, turn a blind eye

Honest officers seeing dishonest behavior in their fellow officers dare not report it.  They can’t trust many of their supervisors, and surely not their administrators, and their fellow corrupt cops can arrange for them to be hurt, even killed.  If they wish to feed their families, they have little choice.  Most of them, knowing little else, think it’s that way in every law enforcement agency. Some, that might have been ethical officers, become infected with corruption.  Others join the force because of its terrible reputation and thrive there, free to give their worst impulses free reign.

That’s why License To Kill: The Murder Of Erik Scott,and other books like it, are so important.  If properly researched and properly written, they expose corruption, perhaps even force some changes for the better, and encourage good officers to remain good. Maybe there are people out there that understand.  Maybe good cops aren’t alone and unappreciated.

It’s vitally important that the public be able to trust their police.  Good cops know that bad will is cumulative.  Most of the public sees only the blue suit, not the person wearing it. The bad behavior of one cop is projected on all.  It is only their trust in the police, in equal justice for all, in the rule of law, which convinces Americans that obeying the law most of the time is the smart thing to do.  The only contact most have with the police is a traffic violation or to report a crime. Those brief contacts may convince them the police are fair and reasonable, or arrogant and badge heavy. The blue line between law and order and anarchy is thin, and these days, is being stretched thinner.

Erik Scott was a West Point graduate.

Therefore I thank Professor Jacobson and Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection, for picking up the story:  

Erik Scott’s murder and subsequent cover-up are an unbelievably horrifying story and one you probably haven’t heard. Scott was murdered in a Costco parking lot by Las Vegas Metro cops. Scott’s senseless murder and surrounding events are blood boiling. It’s an unfortunate example of government corruption, of the perversion of the justice system that has afflicted far too many locals, and of bureaucrats who will do whatever is necessary to cover and conceal the deplorable acts of their employees.

Thankfully, Legal Insurrection reader Mike McDaniel picked up the story and followed it in earnest. McDaniel is a former police officer who served as a patrolman, crime scene photographer, detective, shift supervisor, division commander, SWAT officer, field training officer and firearm instructor. He is an Air Force veteran, having helped fight the Cold War, and a European and Japanese fencer. He’s written and published a book called License To Kill: The Murder Of Erik Scott which discusses Scott’s case in great detail. His book can be purchased here.

By all means, take the link and read the entirety of Kaye’s article, featuring an interview of the author of this scruffy little blog.  If LI is not on your daily “to read” list, it should be.

One of Las Vegas Metro’s common tactics is to use their own PR people, some officers and various fellow travelers, to try to prop up the narrative.  Such people have added comments to various blog posts by Bill Scott, Erik’s father, to his many interviews, and at every other opportunity. They tried to do it at SMM too, but quickly learned it’s rather difficult to argue with fact, not that they didn’t give it the old Metro try.

The same is true of Kaye’s Legal Insurrection article. Keep in mind, I don’t know the identities of the authors of these comments.  Their narratives are, however, identical to many I’ve seen in the last eight years. They try to claim that the utterly false Metro narrative is unassailable gospel.  I’ll shortly correct the record they try so hard to obscure.

“Mac45” is almost entirely wrong, and when he is not, he is misleading.

1) No customer complained about Scott.  It was a Costco security guard.

2) A lower ranking manger spoke with Scott, and helped him remove several water bottles from the package to ensure they would fit in a carrier.  He intended to buy both.  There is nothing unusual about this.  Millions of customers in stores across the nation do it, and businesses expect it.  There was no argument, and they parted amicably.  Scott did not tear things apart or throw things about.  Actual witnesses did not testify to that, and Metro’s own evidence photos reveal it to be a lie.

3) The store manager, Vince Lopez, did briefly speak with Scott, but they too parted amicably.  No store employee asked Scott to leave.  Metro’s report, and the Coroner’s inquest transcripts prove it.

4) The manager did not call the police.  The security guard, without permission and against store policy, did.  He, and the call taker, who was never interviewed or called to testify, turned a man and his fiancé calmly shopping into a raving, drug-crazed maniac who was a Green Beret.  Scott, a West Point graduate and decorated armor officer, never was, and never said so.  Officers somehow got the idea Scott was destroying the store and waving guns around.  The security guard stayed on his phone throughout the incident and followed them around, occasionally reporting they were doing nothing wrong, but this somehow caused a frenzied police response that quickly blew up into some 60 officers and even a helicopter.  All this for a type of incident routinely handled by one or two officers, daily, across the nation.

5) Scott never drew his handgun.  It was found by EMTs, still holstered at his waist, in the ambulance taking his dead body to the hospital, and rushed back to Costco where it was planted.  When the store was evacuated on the order of a Police Lt. who was nowhere near and had no idea what was going on, Scott and his fiancé left their cart and calmly followed everyone out.

Former Metro cop William Mosher proudly testifying about killing Erik Scott at the Coroner’s Inquest.

William Mosher, grossly overweight, sweating heavily and wearing his shades, didn’t see Scott as any kind of threat as he walked right past him, but when the security guard, in a panic, pointed him out, Mosher grabbed his shoulder.  As Scott turned, he found Mosher, about 6’ away, pointing his handgun at his chest. Mosher screamed three contradictory commands, and in the middle of a screaming crowd of shoppers, shot Scott twice, all within 2 seconds.  Two additional brave Metro officers rushed up and shot Scott, as he lay, dying, face down on the pavement, 5 times in the back.  One wonders why this was necessary as the narrative is Scott dropped his handgun when he was shot, before he hit the pavement.  Metro never established a time line.  We know this time with certainly because Mosher’s yelling and shots were incidentally recorded through the security guard’s open phone line.  Scott never had a chance to do anything.

Even the security guard, in his initial taped interview, said Scott never drew his gun, but he changed that 180° by the time his Inquest testimony rolled around.

“JCC” continued the Metro narrative:

1) The video is only 9 minutes long; it can’t contain everything.  Even the book cannot possibly include every Metro lie—it would be too long and expensive to be saleable.

2) Scott was taking pain medications because of a severe spinal injury he suffered parachuting in the Army.  His extraordinary physical condition was able to keep his spine aligned until he suffered two traffic accidents, which were not his fault. Even with the medications, and dealing with constant, unimaginable pain, he functioned normally and effectively in a highly technical occupation.  His physicians, forced to testify against their will at the Inquest, refused to say Scott was impaired, quite the opposite, to the anger of the corrupt prosecutors, who treated them—their own hand-picked witnesses–with hostility.  In fact, one prosecutor tried to claim Scott was somehow negligent when he asked a doctor why Scott missed a July 12 appointment.  The doctor calmly pointed out Metro killed him on July 10, which left the prosecutor red-faced and sputtering.

3) No one ever asked Scott to leave, and the only Costco security guard involved never spoke with him.

4) Scott was not carrying two guns; he never did.  The book explains the two-gun narrative and Metro’s illegal search of his home—which was two miles away, and had nothing at all to do with his death–some seven hours after his death, to find and steal a small pistol they claimed he had been carrying.  They had to come up with some story about how the gun he pulled on Mosher and dropped when shot, could have been found in the ambulance.

5) The two lawsuits ended, not for a lack of evidence.  Virtually every lawyer in Las Vegas wanted the case, seeing it as a slam dunk. The book explains the real story. The lawyers in one of the suits, when the judge dismissed it for no lawful reason, said “I don’t think it’s possible to get justice in this town.”

6) There was indeed a conspiracy, but not the kind one might imagine.  By 2010, Metro was killing so many people, the generic narrative was always ready. Everyone knew what they had to say and do, and high ranking Matro fixers added whatever details were necessary to further the cover up.  It just was not necessary, for the most part, to gather everyone in a room to get their stories straight.  They knew what was required of them, and the consequences for honesty.

The medical examiner testified honestly, but did make a few significant mistakes.  The local press, which published a significant series that proved Metro is absolutely not to be trusted, blindly accepted the Metro narrative in the Scott case.  I can’t be certain, but it’s not unreasonable to imagine they knew just how far they were allowed to go as well.  I tried to contact them many times over the years. They never responded.

People inside did leak.  A number of Metro officers told us the vanished video did exist, it had been viewed by Metro brass and Costco brass, and that most Metro officers knew it was a bad shoot.

Final Thoughts:

JCC obviously knows little about the publishing industry.  It took us nearly two years to find a publisher. This book is not the result of vanity publishing, where one can publish anything if they are willing to pay the publisher all publication costs up front.  Our publisher took the book because they believe it tells an important story, and think they will one day realize a reasonable profit.  Such is the case with my co-author and me.  We hope to one day make a profit beyond the costs we have incurred, and will incur, to publicize the book.  Our publisher is not a major house able to spend millions to push the book in every venue, but we are no less grateful to them.  In any case, I do have an interest in the book doing well, but I never expected it to be a best seller—the wrong subject for the times in some ways–and I am not quitting my day job anytime soon.  I’d be delighted if the book eventually sells as many copies as I see in weekly traffic on this scruffy little blog.

How then, can one be reasonably assured that “Mac 45” and “JCC” are wrong and I am right?

It took me about five years to finally gather all of the evidence—everything that exists—to begin the research necessary to write the book. That material includes the complete Metro report, including all witness statements, written and recorded, and all photographs.  It includes the complete Inquest transcripts.  It includes the depositions taken before the civil suits were ended, and a number of witness interviews done by a private investigator.  Metro has never seen these interviews.

Were it not for the suits, the Scott family would never have seen the complete Metro report.  They got it though discovery.  There are many remarkable things about that report, including the fact none of the officers involved in any way wrote a supplementary report about their actions and observations.  No time line of the case was ever constructed, or if it was, it never made it into the official record, which is not surprising, because if it had it would completely undermine the Metro narrative.

It was only because of my extensive police experience that I was able to read and make all the necessary connections between the Metro report and all of the other documents.  A layman would be very unlikely to be able to do that, and to my knowledge, the Las Vegas media never so much as tried to obtain all of that information.

One quick example of the “conspiracy.”  Prosecutors have an ethical, lawful duty not to allow any witness to lie under oath.  All prosecutors are bound to see, first and foremost, that justice is done.  The initial statements of the security guard, the officers involved, and others, drastically changed by the time the inquest was convened, yet the prosecutors, who had to know that—surely they read that material?–were incompetent, or knowing their place, allowed them to commit perjury.  When two highly credible witnesses who actually looked for a gun by Scott’s body, and saw none, testified the prosecutors savaged them.  They obviously didn’t know their place in the narrative.

One of the things that surprised me when I was able to review Metro’s entire case was they had no case.  It was full of so many omissions, errors, and outright lies, no professional prosecutor should have accepted it.  It seems obvious that by July of 2010, Metro was so arrogant, so used to having to face no real challenges, they didn’t even bother to construct complete reports, thinking their deceptive narratives enough.  And so they usually were, until they killed the son of the wrong family.

Legal Insurrection, I presume, published their article because they found me, and License To Kill, credible and of interest to their readers.  They apparently did not find it “tripe based on a for-profit enterprise which stands to gain from such wild conspiracy theories.”

One may, of course, find out for themselves who is speaking the truth.  The book is based, almost entirely, on the materials I have mentioned.  Metro’s own report, through its sparse content and many omissions and lies, damns them.  The testimony of its officers, the inquest witnesses, and the witnesses Metro refused to interview and chased from the Costco, damn them.  Every material fact in the book is end noted and all sources provided.  No one need take my word for it.  Whenever speculation is used, it is clearly noted as such.

Metro’s apologists parrot the Metro narrative because it is a virtual certainty they have never seen the actual report of nearly 2000 pages, have never read the Inquest transcripts, the depositions, and they have surely never seen the statements of the witnesses Metro chased away.  Those that want to know the truth—it is nothing at all like the Metro narrative—need only buy the book.

It may be found, direct from the publisher, hereor at Amazon.   As to my capitalistic bias, if you buy it from the publisher—good people who ship promptly—my co-author and I make a tiny bit more, and I’m not kidding about the tiny bit.  My profits thus far wouldn’t cover a dinner in a nice restaurant.  No one should go into writing thinking they’ll become wealthy, or even be capable of supporting themselves, but every little bit helps when you’re just trying to break even.  The book, in glorious paperback—the size of a hard cover book and easy to read—is $17.99 at either source, and Amazon has a Kindle version for $4.99.  Everyone that has reviewed the book to date has given it 100% on Amazon, and you’ll be impressed by their knowledge and backgrounds.  It will make a good, if sobering, Christmas gift.

As always, thanks for visiting this scruffy little blog, and I leave it to you, gentle readers, to assess my credibility.