The Henderson police sergeant caught on video repeatedly kicking a man in the head during a traffic stop in 2010 will not be charged criminally for his actions, newly appointed Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Monday.
Wolfson said that although he and other attorneys in his office seriously considered charging Henderson police Sgt. Brett Seekatz, who is at the center of the controversial video, too much time has passed since the incident was recorded Oct. 29, 2010.
"It’s a troubling video to watch," Wolfson said. "I’m troubled by the conduct that was displayed in the video. … I don’t think it’s in the community’s best interest to file a charge because it’s so long after the incident."
The video, which was made public earlier this month, played a major role in Henderson and the state’s settlement for $292,500 with the family of the man who was kicked .
Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers announced her retirement effective March 1, less than two weeks after the video was made public.
Wolfson, a former Las Vegas City Council member, was sworn in as the new district attorney Feb. 21 .
The video shows Nevada Highway Patrol and Henderson officers mistaking a man suffering a diabetic episode for a drunken driver during a traffic stop at Lake Mead Parkway and Boulder Highway in Henderson.
Wolfson said that because the man at the center of the controversy was an officer of the law, he gave pressing charges more serious consideration than if the video had captured a civilian beating another civilian.
Wolfson said, hypothetically, if he were district attorney and learned of the incident in a timely manner, he might have pursued charges.
Wolfson reiterated that the passage of time was the "major consideration" that factored into his decision.
He said actual statutes of limitations didn’t play such a big role, noting that different laws have different statutes of limitations.
"The issue isn’t could I, it’s should I," Wolfson said.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said Wolfson’s logic is "puzzling."
"If someone has committed a crime under the color of law and the statute of limitations has not passed, I’m not sure ‘not in the community’s interest has any meaning whatsoever,’ " Lichtenstein said.
"That particular rationale is frankly a bit irrational."
The video captured Henderson officers and Highway Patrol troopers pulling Adam Greene out of his vehicle. While on the ground, Greene was restrained by several officers.
At one point, Seekatz enters the frame and kicks Greene five times in the head. Another officer is seen kneeing Green four times in the midsection.
"Stop resisting, mother (expletive)!" an officer is heard yelling.
A Nevada Highway Patrol camera video captured the beating. Highway Patrol troopers participated in the stop but did not participate in the beating.
Seekatz was disciplined by his department, but the details have not been disclosed. He retained the rank of sergeant.
During the early morning traffic stop, Greene was driving to work about 4 a.m. when his blood sugar suddenly dropped and he became disoriented.
His first memory of the night was standing outside a police car in handcuffs, the 38-year-old told the Review-Journal earlier this month.
Moments after Greene was secured, the officers noticed insulin in his pocket and quickly realized he was a diabetic.
Green suffered broken ribs and bruises in the attack.
Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said the district attorney’s office has the right to review the actions of the department’s officers.
"It’s within the district attorney’s authority to review any incident," Paul said Monday night. "We would always cooperate with any request from the district attorney’s office regarding any investigation or incident."
Wolfson said that under his tenure, police will be held to a high standard and their actions will be closely watched.
"I hope that police officers out in the field recognize that this conduct is troubling," Wolfson said. "It’s troubling to the community. It’s troubling to prosecutors. … Their (police) conduct will be scrutinized in the future."