Washoe Sheriff’s Office, Sun Valley man speak out on ‘Black vs. White Man with AR-15’ viral video

SUN VALLEY, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – A viral video has been sparking racial tensions towards law enforcement, and it involves a Washoe County Sheriff’s deputy and a Sun Valley man.
See KRNV video here: http://www.mynews4.com/mostpopular/story/Washoe-Sheriffs-Office-Sun-Valley-man-speak-out/HNOKkAtz8kis0_c9TwgGvA.cspx

It appears to show how black and white people are treated differently under legal open carry laws. However, the WCSO and the Sun Valley man say there’s more to the video.

The You Tube user, who never contacted the people involved in the Sun Valley video, says he put these two experiment videos together to highlight racial discrimination. It’s been viewed some 25 million times on different websites.

News 4 dug deeper. The first video, with the white man, was from Albany, Oregon. The second video was shot in Sun Valley, Nevada on August 27, 2013.

According to an incident report obtained by News 4, an unknown female witness flagged down the deputy in a parking lot, saying a white man was waving around an A-R type of weapon.

Bob Harmon, WCSO Public Information officer, says that’s the information the deputy had before the video starts recording.

“There was only one factor behind the way this deputy responded and that was the safety of the community,” Harmon says, “”It’s not about an open carry response, this was about a possible brandishing response, which is against the law. So, that is why the deputy acted the way he did.”

The report also shows that the man was kept in a secure position and given his weapon back in a safe position within 10 minutes.

News 4 tracked down the man in the video, Gabriel Nobles. He says the longer video on his You Tube page proves he did nothing wrong.

“I never brandished a weapon in my life. I’m a respectable gun owner,” he says.

Nobles, who identifies as Hispanic and Filipino, considers himself an open carry activist. He’s shot other video with local law enforcement to educate others on open carry law, he says it was not originally about race,

“I’m not looking to become the next hashtag and be shot dead. I’m not looking for to that,” he explains.

He says after being stopped illegally once, he wanted to shoot an educational video in Sun Valley and thought he’d get a talking to. Instead, he got a gun pointed at him. Now, as the new racial videos goes viral, he thinks his skin color did play a factor. He also questions the existence of the witness who reported him.

“Honestly, feel that the story is fabricated. All respect to police department, all they do for us, they keep us safe, yes they do, but police are known to lie,” he explains.

Harmon says it’s unfortunate the edited video is pushing a racial narrative, but maintains the deputy did the right thing under the circumstances,

“As far as this sheriff’s office is concerned, we’re proud of what we do, we’re proud of the way we interact with the community.”

Unrelated to the viral video, the student union at the University of Nevada is hosting a barbecue and symposium on race tomorrow night with local law enforcement agencies and faith-based groups. Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, UNR PD, Sparks PD, Nevada Highway Patrol, and the Washoe County School Police will join the event. It is meant to be an open dialog about how stereotypes and bias can impact community interactions with police.

A free pre-event BBQ on the third floor veranda of the Joe Crowley Building starting at 5:00 pm will start the event and will be hosted and funded by the ASUN until 5:45p.m. The BBQ is open to everyone in the community who wishes to attend.
After the BBQ, the symposium will start at 6:00pm and go until 9:00pm in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater where there will be free admission, free parking, and free daycare provided for those members of the community who wish to participate. This is the 2nd Symposium on Race held in the area since it was initially created by Dr. Norris Dupree with the Reno Police Department.

RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — This YouTube video(below) is causing quite a stir locally.

The uploader of the video says it depicts how races are treated differently by law enforcement when it comes to open carry law.

As always, there are multiple sides of the story that need to be told. Reporter Van Tieu has the full story — including the police report, interviews with law enforcement, and an interview with the Sun Valley man depicted in the video — tonight at 5 p.m.

$275,000 Lake Tahoe rescue boat to replace sunken Marine 9

cop boatINCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A larger and better-equipped boat will patrol the Incline Village portion of Lake Tahoe this year, officials said Wednesday.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office recently bought a 28-foot Titan T280 Pilot aluminum boat with twin 300-horsepower Mercury outboard motors.

The roughly $275,000 vessel “will be equipped with the most technologically advanced” radar, sonar and GPS systems to assist with search, rescue and lifesaving missions along with routine marine patrol functions, according to the sheriff’s office.

“I know how important this vessel is to the Incline Village community and to the thousands of people who visit Lake Tahoe each year,” said Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen. “I am also aware how effectively this community and the sheriff’s office work together, and I look forward to strengthening that partnership in the future.”

The boat, named Marine 9, will replace the 14-year-old vessel of the same name that sank while unmanned on Memorial Day 2014 during “extreme weather conditions,” according to WCSO.

While the exact cause of the incident remains unknown, WCSO Lt. Jeff Clark, commander of the Incline Village Substation, said the sheriff’s office’s insurance company determined the 24-foot Almar boat a “total loss.”

It sank one year after WCSO spent nearly $50,000 in federal drug forfeiture money to remove its inboard/outboard drive system and retrofit it with two high-tech Evinrude outboards.


RELATED: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza editorial — safety must be top priority on our water.


Funding for the new Marine 9 is offset by a $101,000 insurance payout from the old boat, Clark said.

The rest will be paid through drug forfeiture funds, a move approved by the Washoe County Commission at the recommendation last year of former Sheriff Mike Haley.

The boat is being custom built and is scheduled to arrive in Washoe County the second week of May 2015.

Allen is expected to host a community celebration to christen the vessel’s launch on Lake Tahoe. Details will be announced in early spring.


In addition to patrol duties, Marine 9 assists partner agencies on Lake Tahoe, including the Nevada Department of Wildlife, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and U.S. Coast Guard.

It’s one of three boats WCSO uses for patrols and search and rescue; the other two (Marines 10 and 20) are primarily used at Pyramid Lake.

After Marine 9 sank last May, Marine 10 moved to Lake Tahoe to replace it.

However, Marine 10 also sank in July 2014. The exact cause of that incident is under investigation, although officials previously said foul play isn’t suspected.

Marine 10’s damage wasn’t as extensive, Clark said, and Washoe County staff is finalizing repairs so it may return to Pyramid Lake or Lake Tahoe this spring.

A total cost estimate on repairs wasn’t known as of Wednesday.

Both boats were moored at a buoy privately owned by the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.

Considering two boats responsible for public safety sank in a span of two months, Clark said upgraded safety measures and an early warning system are being installed on the new Marine 9.

“We have not had that discussion yet with the Hyatt,” added Clark, when asked what WCSO plans to do to ensure the boat doesn’t sink again. “But now that it’s official that we are getting this boat, we will certainly be having that conversation to see if that buoy is still available.”

Further, the sheriff’s office remains “hopeful for some type of emergency services partnership to have a public safety pier,” Clark said.

“Whether that’s at Ski Beach or a private dock, we’re certainly open to suggestions,” Clark said.

While officials for years have floated the idea of a new pier in Incline Village for emergency boats, it’s doubtful anything will develop soon, considering ongoing issues with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s shorezone laws, which were vacated in 2010 after a legal challenge.

TRPA is operating under interim 1987 rules, which allow no new piers and set the guidelines for the repair, reconstruction, modification or extension of existing piers that do not cause additional boating capacity.

NHP honors Sheriff-elect for decades of service

Chuck Allen (ChuckAllenForSheriff.com)

Chuck Allen (ChuckAllenForSheriff.com)
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — The Nevada Highway Patrol held a retirement ceremony today for Chuck Allen after nearly three decades with the organization.

Allen was recently elected as the next Washoe County Sheriff and says it isn’t easy closing this chapter of his career.

“It makes you feel very proud and it’s kind of an emotional moment; I’ve watched so many people retire in this room many times over the last decade or so and you just never think it’s going to be you receiving recognition for your service; it’s a very proud and humble moment for me and my family,” says Sheriff-elect Allen.

Allen is set to be swarn in as Washoe County Sheriff on Monday.

Washoe Sheriff Named to Heroism Panel

Washoe Sheriff Named to Heroism Panel

The outgoing Washoe County sheriff will be serving on a federal board that nominates officers for a prestigious heroism award.

RENO, Nev. (AP) – The outgoing Washoe County sheriff will be serving on a federal board that nominates officers for a prestigious heroism award.

Sen. Harry Reid announced Thursday that Sheriff Mike Haley will serve on the Public Safety Officer Medal Of Valor Review Board.

The award was created in 2003 and honors police, firefighters and medical personnel for heroic acts. Haley will be part of the group that recommends award candidates to the U.S. Attorney General.

Haley has been Washoe County Sheriff since 2007, but opted out of a third term.

Former Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen will be taking over the role.

Sheriff Haley comments on arrest of Washoe Deputy

washoe sheriff badgeRENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — The following press release was issued after the arrest of a Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy:

Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley said that today’s arrest of Deputy Sheriff Stuart Balch, assigned to Detention, demonstrates that the systems in place at the Sheriff’s Office to detect and act upon allegations of wrongdoing by staff members are working effectively.

Sheriff Haley said that Detention Facility employees received notification of possible sexual contact between Balch and a female inmate in April of 2014.

Once this information became known, staff followed Sheriff’s Office protocol and immediately advised supervisors of the allegations. On the same day it learned of the allegations, the Sheriff’s Office asked for an outside agency, the Reno Police Department, to conduct an investigation. Balch was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of that investigation.

bad elko copsFollowing today’s arrest, Balch was suspended and placed on unpaid administrative leave while the necessary collective bargaining agreement steps are followed in order to discharge him.

“First and foremost, it is important for the community to understand that we immediately responded to a complaint on behalf of a victim,” said Sheriff Haley. “The system in place to facilitate that complaint worked. Once we became aware of the possibility of criminal behavior within our facility, we took the appropriate steps without hesitation.”

“We cannot control every action of an individual within our agency,” Sheriff Haley said. “But we can detect suspicious behavior and act in a responsible and lawful way to ensure that those who are responsible for suspicious behavior are held accountable.”

“That being said, it isn’t any less difficult for me to have to report to the public that a member of my staff has been arrested on these types of allegations.”

“The alleged actions of this individual do not reflect the principles of the hard working men and women of this agency. We cannot condone this type of behavior and will do all we can to continue to assist with the investigation and ensure proper justice is served.”

RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — A Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy has been arrested on charges of ‘Voluntary Sexual Contact with a Prisoner’ according a press release issued by the Reno Police Department.

In April of 2014, Reno Police Department Sex Crimes Detectives were contacted by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in reference to possible inappropriate contact of a female inmate by a male Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy. RPD says following the investigation, Detectives determined that there was sufficient evidence of unlawful sexual contact between a female inmate by 28-year-old Stuart Balch — a Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to Detention.

After Reno Police Detectives compiled all the details, statements and evidence the case was submitted to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for review. Officials said the Washoe County DA’s Office issued a warrant for the Washoe County Deputy, who voluntarily turned himself into the Washoe County Detention Facility this afternoon.

Balch was arrested for one count of Voluntary Sexual Contact with a Prisoner.

Those with information regarding this incident are being asked to contact the Reno Police Department Sex Crimes Division at (775) 657-4601, or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900, Secretwitness.com, or text the tip to 847411 (TIP 411) keyword – SW.

RPD Case # 14-7312

On Your Side: Ethics complaint filed against Tim Kuzanekin Washoe Co. Sheriff’s race

washoe sheriff badgeRENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — With less than two weeks to go before the election, there are new developments in the Washoe County Sheriff’s race between Chuck Allen and Tim Kuzanek.

News 4 has obtained a copy of an ethics complaint has been filed against Kuzanek. The complaint was filed on August 5 by a man named John Litz. It lists several allegations, including accusing Kuzanek of using government time or property, including his badge and uniform, for personal benefit.

See video here: http://www.mynews4.com/news/local/story/On-Your-Side-Ethics-complaint-filed-in-Washoe-Co/Ss3t3rKHpECBGqMAo7eKAA.cspx

The question is can you use your badge to campaign? That will be up to the Nevada Ethics Commission. According to Nevada Ethics Commission Acting Director Yvonne Navarrez Goodson, it depends whether you are on or off duty, but in general, they do not want candidates using their current position to benefit their campaigns.

News 4 contacted Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek about the complaint. He referred us to his attorney, who said Kuzanek does not feel this complaint is valid, but the Kuzanek camp will not comment any further, because ethics complaints are supposed to be kept confidential.

Washoe County Sheriff shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

RPD shooitingReno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) — The family of Kenny Stafford is speaking out after he was shot and killed by police after walking through a neighborhood with a gun on July 11, 2013.

See full story and video here: http://www.mynews4.com/news/local/story/Victims-family-speaks-out-about-officer-involved/wBovaT9qY0CRaXD39XoCcA.cspx

Officials with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office have not yet released the name of the armed man who was shot and killed by officers on Thursday, however the victim’s family reached out to News 4 to tell their story.

Kenny Stafford, 27, was an active military member who grew up in the Reno area. Stafford was stationed in Washington State, but he was in town to visit family and friends and attend a memorial for a young man he considered a brother. That young man was Ryan Connelly. Connelly, 17, was shot and killed on July 7, 2012 while walking home from the store, his murder is still unsolved. Continue reading

Washoe County pays $75,000 in excessive Sheriff force case against a Tahoe paddleboarder

washoe sheriff badgeWashoe County paid a $75,000 settlement Thursday in an excessive force case involving a college student who was forced to the ground at Incline Village after not wearing a life vest while on a stand up paddleboard at Lake Tahoe, the law office of Terri Keyser-Cooper said.SUP

Lauren Kettell, 19, alleged Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Coss yelled at her to not paddle in the lake without a life vest. Coss allegedly demanded she get in his boat, but Kettell requested they talk on her grandparent’s beach.

Once arriving on the beach, Kettell waited for Coss. The deputy then ran at her, grabbed her, and threw her to the ground, the law office said.

Kettell remained on the ground for 10 minutes with Coss’ knee in her back.

cashKettell was taken to the hospital before going to Washoe County Detention Center. She was bruised for weeks, with her arm in a sling, and was given a prescription for painkillers, her lawyer said.

Coss was represented by David Creekman of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office. Creekman did not return phone calls and a voicemail in time for the posting of this story.

“It was totally unfair,” Kettell said in a statement. “I was doing exactly what he told me to do, going to get my life vest at my grandparent’s house. If he wanted to give me a ticket, that was fine, he didn’t have to beat me up, jump on top of me, and nearly wrench my arm off.”

Keyser-Cooper added: “It was a massive over-reaction by this officer, she weighed 115 pounds and was in a swimsuit, he weighed 190 pounds — all he had to do was talk to her.”

Kettell, a student at the University of San Francisco, was at Lake Tahoe visiting her grandparent’s for the Fourth of July celebration in 2011 when the incident occurred.
Coss admitted no liability, the law office’s press release said.