Las Vegas Metro Police Release Body Cam Footage Of Fatal Shooting Of Mentally Disabled Man

Abel CorreaLas Vegas Metro Police have released the body cam footage showing two officers shooting and killing a mentally disabled man.  Twenty-four year old Abel Correa was at his mother’s house when she called police. Instead of helping Correa, who the officers personally knew, he was executed on the spot. Though the body cam footage doesn’t show it, police claim that he was armed with a wrench and a screwdriver.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill held a press conference in which he stated that Correa “was in dire need of mental health services” and that his officers “had seven prior contacts” with Correa.

When it comes to mental health issues in this country, we, the system, often fail people who need critical services and don’t get them.

However, Undersheriff McMahill states that Correa ‘lunged’ at one of the officers with the screwdriver and wrench, though that cannot be clearly seen in the video. Both officers, Officer Glen Taylor and Officer Eli Prunchak are on administrative leave.

If the LVMP knew beforehand that Correa had severe mental issues, why didn’t they take the appropriate measures to ensure his safety? Knowing they would encounter a mentally unstable man, officers could have been prepared to use non-lethal devices, such as taser guns, bean-bag guns, or a host of other measures. Instead, they shot and killed Correa in under two seconds of them opening the door.

Police have had a long history of beating, abusing, and killing mentally-disabled citizens (approximately 125 killed so far this year). Unfortunately, it usually starts when a loved-one calls police in an attempt to get the person help. However, police are poorly trained to handle mental health issues. In fact, their number one objective is to neutralize the person byusing any means necessary.

Press Conference held by the Undersheriff:

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Officer Down website created in wake of Metro officer deaths

Jessica Langgin struggled to keep up with the flood of community support in the weeks following the brutal, execution-style shootings of two Las Vegas police officers last summer.

An administrator of the Las Vegas Metro Police Officers Wives club on Facebook, Langgin coordinated donations and volunteers to make sure that the families of officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo had the full support of hundreds of law enforcement families connected to the group.

But she quickly realized there needed to be a better way for people to help. The wives of Metro officers were organizing “meal trains” — home-cooked food to be delivered to the families every day — and pointing concerned friends to one of the numerous fundraisers held throughout the valley. But the out­pouring of generosity from valley residents was more than the wives group could handle.

“Everybody was trying to find a way to help our Metro family,” wives group founder Deborah Costello, 33, said.

Langgin decided it was time to ditch old-fashioned fundraising means like car washes and restaurant events and create something that would allow people to contribute as much as they wanted at their convenience. She helped launch the Officer Down website in July.

In the year after the tragedy, Officer Down, found online at officerdown.us, has become a national nonprofit that exclusively features law enforcement crowdfunding campaigns. Langgin took over full control of the website in May after leading campaigns that have raised about $140,000 for officers and police departments across the country.

BACKING THE BADGE

Langgin, 44, said she has a long history with charity and providing support to police causes.

She was diagnosed with an advanced case of Hodgkins lymphoma 14 years ago. She was six months pregnant at the time. She and her husband, retired Metro Sgt. Mel Langgin, found support in the department’s Family Unity Network, which no longer exists.

“What they did for our family, by bringing people together in the department whom we’ve never met, and helping us with fundraisers, and helping us with meal trains, left an imprint on us,” she said. “It was really touching. It kind of refreshed and renewed my faith in humanity.”

“Cancer was a bitch,” she added. “But that kind of led me to a lot of thinking.”

Langgin battled cancer for two years, and when she recovered she started fundraising for cancer charities. As an active member of the Metro wives group, which now has more than 600 members, she prepared meals and collected gifts and toys for law enforcement families in need.

One year, when officers seemed to have low morale following a new policy that halted cost-of-living raises, the wives embarked on Operation Cookie Drop and delivered baked goods to officers on every shift during the week before Christmas.

“That was the beginning of an adventure for me. I just took it to a whole new level with this,” she said.

FILLING THE GAPS

One of the most important things Officer Down does is to provide support for officers who encounter tragedy off duty, Langgin said.

The Injured Police Officer Fund has an extensive fundraising machine, but if a cop is injured off duty they won’t receive assistance from that source.

Mel Langgin, a 24-year veteran of the force, said command stations used to pass around a collection plate in these situations, but Metro has grown so large that officers may not even know the cops at other stations.

And Langgin takes on any law enforcement cause. She said she does a little investigation to verify the events actually happened, but she doesn’t shy away from controversial campaigns.

She’s hosted campaigns as benign as bulletproof vests for police dogs and as scandalous as legal defense funds for cops who find themselves in hot water.

“There’s a great need for it nationally,” she said. “There’s nothing to help those people.”

Costello said she’s happy to be one of the most vocal supporters of Langgin and Officer Down. She helps promote campaigns and points Langgin to tragedies involving police officers so she can help.

“A lot of people, even in Vegas, don’t know her,” she said. “But what she does is really good and helpful.”

Langgin has considered making another site for firefighters, or expanding it to all first responders, but for now her main concern is positioning the site to help as many people as possible.

“It’s just my niche,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m making a change.”

Former lawyer Raymond James “Jim” Duensing shot by Las Vegas Metro officer gets probation

A former attorney who ran an unsuccessful bid for Clark County District Attorney was sentenced Thursday to five years probation on three felony charges stemming from a roadside confrontation with Las Vegas police.

Raymond James “Jim” Duensing, 38, was convicted in November on charges of resisting a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with an Oct. 2009 traffic stop in the northwest valley. An officer shot Duensing three times when he tried to run.

The Pahrump attorney ran an unsuccessful bid on the Libertarian ticket this year to become Clark County’s top prosecutor and head the office that pursued the criminal case against him. He was the only opponent to incumbent Steve Wolfson, who was elected with 72 percent of the vote.

At the sentencing Thursday, Duensing called himself a “pillar of the community,” who has long been a civic activist. He was returning home to Las Vegas from a political rally in northern Nevada the afternoon he was stopped by Metro motorcycle officer David Gilbert on a traffic violation.

“I’ve maintained my innocence from day one,” Duensing said of the encounter, though he admitted to running from the officer after being hit with the Taser stun gun.

At the encounter along Cheyenne Avenue near Jones Boulevard five years ago, Gilbert asked Duensing at least three times to turn around before the officer grabbed his stun gun. Duensing had outstanding traffic warrants, and Gilbert wanted to arrest him.

“His conduct was entirely inappropriate, especially for someone who is a lawyer,” prosecutor Elizabeth Mercer told District Judge Michelle Leavitt. “He should have known that when he interacted with the officer it was not appropriate for him to draw a weapon in any way, shape or form.”

Mercer, who had asked the judge for a sentence of two to five years in prison, argued that Duensing lied on the witness stand about where he was hit with the Taser stun gun. Duensing said he still has the same scars, and pointed out that he was not prosecuted for perjury.

At trial, Duensing testified that the officer never told him why he was being arrested.

“I have not gone a single day since that afternoon without significant pain from those injuries,” Duensing told the judge. “I don’t expect those wounds will ever heal.”

Because of the conviction, Duensing also lost his license to practice law and a license to conduct firearms training.

Gilbert testified that he shot Duensing as he reached for a handgun. Defense lawyer Tom Pitaro argued that Gilbert could not have seen the gun because it was in the buttoned-up cargo pocket of Duensing’s pants. A knife in his right hip pocket was not found by police until after he was shot.

Along with probation, Leavitt also ordered Duensing to undergo a mental health evaluation, remain on house arrest, not consume drugs or alcohol and refrain from any contact with Gilbert.

Gilbert told the judge Duensing and his friends have threatened the officer since the shooting.

“For five years, myself, my wife, my family and my friends have had to endure the defendant’s delusional account of what transpired,” Gilbert said. “The defendant and his ilk are disturbing to me.”

Questioning Gilbert during the sentencing hearing, Pitaro said the officer targeted minorities and had shot an unarmed man before shooting Duensing.

In court documents, Pitaro wrote that when asked during the traffic stop, Duensing gave Gilbert his address in Spanish.

Pitaro also pointed to a forum post from someone who identified himself as David Gilbert, a 12-year Metro officer, on a blog called Veterans for Secure Borders. There is no time stamp on the post.

Prosecutors objected.

“You’re opinion is well known to me,” the judge told Pitaro.

“I want his opinion well known,” Pitaro said. “That his opinion is that he’s a racist.”

The author of the post states that 55 percent to 65 percent of the calls police receive involve illegal aliens. He writes that “the borders are there for a reason. To keep an eye on who is coming and going. To keep disease out.”

The post continues: “As a cop, I almost always get the standard reply to my request for ‘drivers license, registration and insurance please’ of any hispanic (sic) person… ‘Uh, me no speak english (sic), you get some one who does; I no talk to you till spanish (sic) here.’”

Gilbert refused to comment when asked, outside of court, about the blog post.