Las Vegas officer suspended in videotaped beating case


A Las Vegas police officer under investigation for a videotaped beating of a man has been suspended with pay pending completion of an internal investigation, police said Saturday.

The Metropolitan Police Department had earlier said officer Derek Colling, accused of beating video­grapher Mitchell Crooks, was still on duty during the investigation of the March 20 incident.

But a police official said Saturday that Colling was suspended with pay on April 1, two days after the Clark County district attorney's office dropped all charges against Crooks. When asked about the case last week, a department spokesman said nothing about the suspension.

On the night of March 20, Crooks, 36, was standing in his driveway in the 1700 block of Commanche Circle, near East Desert Inn Road and South Maryland Parkway, while videotaping police as they investigated a burglary report across the street. When Crooks refused to stop filming, Colling allegedly attacked him, with much of the altercation recorded by the camera.

Crooks' attorney, David Otto, on Thursday sent police a statement from Crooks, along with a demand for $500,000 to cover Crooks' medical care, pain and suffering. A planned lawsuit has not yet been filed.

On Saturday, District Attorney David Roger said no criminal case against Colling has been submitted to his office.

Colling has been involved in two fatal shootings in his 5½ years as a Las Vegas police officer. In 2006, he and four other officers shot Shawn Jacob Collins after the 43-year-old man pulled a gun at an east valley gas station.

In 2009, he confronted mentally ill 15-year-old Tanner Chamberlain, who was holding a knife in front of his mother and waving it in the direction of officers. Colling shot him in the head.

Both shootings were ruled justified by Clark County coroner's juries.

Crooks made headlines in 2002 when he videotaped two Inglewood, Calif., police officers beating a 16-year-old boy.

Crooks first tried to sell that tape and then refused to give it to prosecutors. He then was jailed on old warrants from unrelated drunken driving and petty theft charges. Civil rights advocates decried it as retribution. Since 2003, he has lived in Las Vegas, where he shoots video for nightclubs.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

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