Metro To Pay $2.2M In Custody Death Case

Settlement Is The Largest In Department History

Associated Press
July 28, 2020 - 5:47 am

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police in Las Vegas on Monday finalized a record $2.2 million settlement for the family of a man who died after being chased, punched, hit with stun gun jolts and put in a neck restraint by a police officer outside a Las Vegas casino in 2017.

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statement said officials hoped the payment to settle the excessive force and negligence lawsuit would bring “closure” to the children of 40-year-old Tashii Farmer Brown.

“While there are still other legal matters pending, this is an important step toward justice in this case,” the department said.

The settlement of the case filed in federal court was outlined July 17 pending approval by the police Fiscal Affairs Committee, and officials acknowledged it was the largest in department history. 

Metro Police released this statement following the settlement:

                      "The death of Tashi Farmer in 2017 was a tragic event. This mutually agreed upon settlement between the LVMPD and the children of Mr. Farmer and his estate, will hopefully bring some measure of closure. The LVMPD has always held the position that the death of Mr. Farmer rose to the criminal level. This is why in June of 2017 the department arrested the involved officer for involuntary manslaughter and oppression under color of office and filed criminal charges with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. After this event, restrictions were put on the use of neck restraints and training was reinforced on the duty to intervene. Under LVMPD policy, neck restraints can only be used when deadly force would be authorized. While there are still other legal matters pending, this is an important step toward justice in this case.

                       LVMPD apologizes to the family of Tashi Farmer and the Las Vegas community. This incident does not represent the policies or values of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

                       Kenneth Lopera resigned from the LVMPD and is no longer a police officer."

Lopera became the first Las Vegas police officer since 1990 to face a manslaughter charge in the city where police shootings and uses of force drew reform recommendations in 2012 from the U.S. Justice Department.

Charges against Lopera, including oppression under color of office, came after the Clark County coroner ruled that Brown was asphyxiated as a result of the police neck restraint. Medical examiners noted also that Brown had an enlarged heart and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

In 2018, criminal charges against Lopera were dropped after police union legal representatives presented evidence to a criminal grand jury that Brown’s death was due to his heart ailment and drug use. The grand jury refused to indict.

A separate lawsuit filed by Brown’s mother, Trinita Farmer, is pending in federal court.