Friday, April 6, 2012
The Right Decision
Kudos to the new district Attorney in Clark County, Steve Wolfson for making the very tough decision in not charging Henderson police officer Brett Seekatz when he was caught on film kicking a suspect who was fighting police officers during a traffic stop.
From the Las Vegas Sun: District Attorney Steve Wolfson has issued a final answer and has once again decided not to bring charges against Henderson Police Sgt. Brett Seekatz, who was caught on video kicking Adam Greene in the head five times while Greene was being restrained by other officers.
Wolfson, who misspells Greene's name throughout his signed decision, said previously he wouldn't bring charges because it wasn't "in the best interests of the community," and then because the statute of limitations had lapsed on misdemeanor battery.
He also said previously that he didn't think he could prove a case in front a Clark County jury; juries have previously been reluctant to convict police officers, including in cases in which Wolfson was the defense lawyer in the time when he was in private practice.
In the decision posted on the D.A.'s Web site, Wolfson acknowledges the video is "offensive" to watch. (Greene, the man kicked in the head, was suffering a diabetic episode and had not been driving intoxicated as police believed. The city of Henderson paid Greene and his family more than $250,000 in a settlement.)
Wolfson then notes the wide latitude given to police to use force to restrain suspects. He writes that he came upon other allegations of misuse of force by Seekatz, who was disciplined by Henderson Police in the Greene case but did not lose his job or his rank. None of those allegations were substantiated by Henderson Police, Wolfson notes.
Wolfson took the new findings, however, and assembled a legal team to make a final decision.
Henderson Police allow and even train in the use of kicking to restrain suspects, which would have made prosecution even more difficult, Wolfson says.
The decision states unequivocally, "None of the officers acted maliciously," another factor in Wolfson's move not to prosecute.
If you watch the video, you will see that the suspect was struggling before and after he was kicked by the Henderson police officer, so he was not kicked that hard.
Further, people say that the cop involved kicked a person in diabetic shock. First, the cops did not know he was a diabetic and second, why was this driver on the road with a license? If the driver has such bad diabetes that he can go into diabetic shock, he should not even have a driver's license. Hopefully, this driver is off the street and will be for some time.
DA Wolfson has been getting a lot crap from the mostly liberal crowd of the Las Vegas Valley, along with the media who have spun this story out of control. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Channel 13. Many of the media outlets have been consulting the ACLU on this matter and of course you know what those bozos will say, They do not like the cops and they have been calling for charges against the cop. Of course, the media never bothered to contact a police union for their opinion.
So, congratulations to DA Wolfson for making the hard decision in not charging Seekatz. He could have made the easy call and charged the cop and put the pressure on the jury to convict the cop and let the jury take the blame for an acquittal. But he didn't and shows that Wolfson has some guts.