Family continues campaign


On Saturday afternoon, as professional surfers shredded the waves in front of thousands of onlookers in Huntington Beach, Calif., a small plane towed a message above their heads.

"Vegas police cover up?" the banner read. "R.I.P. ErikBScott.com."

The banner, paid for by $2,000 in donations to Scott's family, prompted news segments on two Los Angeles television stations and a mention in the Orange County Register over the weekend.

It was the latest in a public relations effort unprecedented in Las Vegas in recent years. For family and friends of Scott, who was gunned down by police in front of a Summerlin Costco store July 10, the goal is to keep the shooting in the spotlight at least until the coroner's inquest into his death. The inquest was scheduled for September but now has been delayed indefinitely.

"We want to get to the bottom of it and really understand what happened that day," said Scott's brother, Kevin Scott. "Nobody will give us any answers."

The banner flew for more than three hours Saturday over the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, where Kevin Scott currently lives and where Erik Scott spent two years in the late 1990s. Kevin Scott said he was seeking a media spotlight on the issue in Southern California, where his brother still has friends.

In Las Vegas, the family has spent thousands of dollars on billboard advertisements across the valley urging, "Let the Truth be Known!" More billboards are planned, and the family is hosting a candlelight vigil for Scott today at 9 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of the Summerlin Costco store.

"If it dies down even one single bit, it'll die down like every other inquest that's happened," said Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, a spokeswoman for the family.

To date, about $10,000 has been raised to pay for the advertisements, Kevin Scott said. He doesn't expect the banner to fly over valley skies, however.

His 38-year-old brother was shot outside the store near Charleston Boulevard and the Las Vegas Beltway after store employees called police claiming he had a gun and was acting erratically. Three Las Vegas police officers shot the U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate after they said he pulled out a gun and pointed it at them. Witnesses have given conflicting accounts of whether he had a gun or pulled it out.

The dispute could be settled by the store's surveillance video, but Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has said it's doubtful the video exists. Hard drives have been sent to California for examination.

Kevin Scott said he deliberately posed the question in the banner of a possible police cover-up.

"The main thing is the Costco surveillance video ... did not work properly on the one day my brother was murdered?" he said. "That doesn't make sense to me."

Attorney Ross Goodman, who is representing the family, does not believe the department's handling of the officer-involved shooting has been a cover-up. But he did urge Gillespie to release the video if it exists. If the tapes do not exist, he said, the sheriff should turn Costco's hard drives over to the family so they can have an expert analyze them.

Gillespie has said he will release any video and the 911 recordings after the inquest. He has urged patience while the department investigates the shooting.

The family is looking for institutional changes in Las Vegas.

"If any good can come out of this, I would hope that there would be some changes within the system, whether that's more training or changes to the inquest process," Kevin Scott said.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at lmower@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

 

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