Henderson officials respond to store worker’s suit against police — VIDEO

Henderson officials have responded to a lawsuit against the Police Department that alleges officers punched, kicked and jolted a sporting goods store manager with a stun gun, mistaking him for a shoplifting suspect.

Retired Nevada Department of Wildlife game warden James Herndon, who now works at Sportsman’s Warehouse, filed a federal civil rights complaint earlier this month against the department, five officers and a sergeant.

“The City of Henderson is aware of this incident and is confident that the Henderson Police officers acted appropriately in apprehending an armed criminal suspect who was running through a store occupied by customers and employees,” a spokeswoman for the city wrote in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Herndon inserted himself into this extremely dangerous situation by attempting to join in the capture of the armed suspect. Mr. Herndon’s actions added confusion to an already volatile situation and unnecessarily endangered officers, members of the public and himself.”

While being pummeled with fists, boots and the butt of a rifle on Jan. 14, 2018, Herndon, 55, tried to tell police he was not the suspect, according to his lawsuit.

“Something smacked me in the head, and I saw a bright white light. It just knocked me silly,” Herndon recalled in an interview with the newspaper. He said he was hit in the face. “Then I started screaming, ‘The bad guy’s on the bottom. The bad guy’s on the bottom.’”

Herndon suffered a bloody nose, bruised face and body, fractured orbital bones, a concussion, blurry vision, difficulty focusing on distant objects, unusual sensation in the teeth and palate, possible nerve damage, headaches and cognitive difficulty, according to court papers. He said he still suffers from daily headaches, light sensitivity and permanent nerve damage.

The shoplifter was identified in police reports as Justin Franks, a 30-year-old convicted felon who had been seen on a closed-circuit surveillance video carrying a handgun and trying to steal ammunition.

Those reports also detail accounts from each of the officers and the sergeant who responded to the shoplifting call.

Sgt. Michael Gillis described entering the store while Franks was trying to flee. Clothing and other merchandise was flung throughout the aisles until Franks bumped into a mannequin, according to the reports. Gillis wrote that he heard the words “Drop the gun!” and “He’s got a gun!” He said he feared for those inside the store, along with his fellow officers.

“All this was happening in a matter of seconds,” Gillis wrote. “It was intense and rapidly evolving from the initial witness call to attempt contact with the suspect and now a fight for life and survival with a male and two handguns.”

Then he grabbed his M4 rifle, assured that the safety had been turned on, and slammed it into the back of Herndon’s head and upper rear torso, Gillis’ report stated.

Herndon “flinched but never gave up his grasp with his arms under his body,” so Gillis jammed his knee into the employee’s torso. Gillis pulled out his stun gun and jammed it into Herndon’s torso, before Herndon shouted, “I’m with you guys” and rolled onto his back.

“It was at this moment that, for the first time, I noticed that there was a second white male underneath the first,” Gillis wrote. “This was confusing and the first male, whom I had struck, shouted that he was the store manager.”

Gillis’ report also referenced an incident a month earlier when another employee grabbed a shoplifting suspect and helped officers take him into custody.

“This appears to be a habitual problem with Sportsman’s Warehouse employees interfering with HPD tactics and putting themselves in harm’s way,” Gillis wrote.

Franks had been spotted by the Marks Street store’s loss prevention manager trying to steal several boxes of ammunition as a wallet and handgun fell out of his waistband.

Herndon said he greeted two officers as they entered the store before he walked toward the front of the building.

As Franks ran, he fell and wound up “not far from me, but at that point I didn’t see any police behind me,” Herndon said, knowing at the time that the suspect was armed. “So I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let him get up.”

Officers Luke Good, Daniel Russo, Alex Nelson, Daniel Nerbonne and Eduardo Vega arrived ahead of Gillis. In their reports, they justified their use of force by referencing that the shoplifting suspect had been seen with a weapon and had run from police.

Nelson struck Herndon with fists before Vega ran up and kicked Herndon in the head and rammed a knee into his back.

“I determined I needed to take immediate actions to get the suspect into custody,” Russo wrote of his encounter with Herndon, which occurred before the sergeant used his stun gun. “Therefore I used overwhelming force by delivering two closed fist strikes to the front of the suspect’s head which appeared to be effective.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

Local
Working cats at St. John the Baptist Church
Parish councilmember John Koutsulis talks about the two cats St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church have adopted as part of a working cats program.
Lee Canyon snow makes skiers smile
Skiers and snow boarders took advantage of the Presidents Day holiday and the recent snowfall at Lee Canyon, outside of Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston gets fresh blanket of snow
A winter storm drops nearly four inches of fresh snow on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in the Las Vegas Valley
Snow accumulated in the Las Vegas Valley for the first time in more than a decade, with snow falling mostly in the western, northwestern and southern areas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal) @bizutesfaye
Snow at US 95 and Lee Canyon Road
Passers-by pulled off Lee Canyon Road northwest of Las Vegas Monday to play in the fresh snow. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Road truck on an empty I-15
Snow and ice contributed to the closure of Interstate 15 near Primm. Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal
I-15 traffic diverted at St. Rose Parkway
The Nevada Highway Patrol has closed Interstate 15 in both directions between south Las Vegas and the California state line due to icy road conditions, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ice on roadway shuts down I-15 south of Las Vegas
An overnight snowstorm left an icy roadway, causing the Nevada Highway Patrol to shut down Interstate 15 south of Las Vegas to the California state line. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 closed at St. Rose Parkway
Ice on Interstate 15 caused the Nevada Highway Patrol to close the highway from St. Rose Parkway in south Las Vegas to the California state line on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driving a snowy Sunday night in Summerlin
Several inches of snow have fallen in Summerlin on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. This shows street conditions between Charleston and Far Hills in Summerlin. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Winter wonderland at Summerlin park
A snowstorm hit Fox Hill Park in Summerlin on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
February snowstorm in western Las Vegas
A snowstorm hit Summerlin and parts of western Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in Summerlin
Snow near Far Hills and Fox Hill Drive.
Valentine's Day Brings Wet Weather To Las Vegas
Parts of the Las Vegas Valley received more than an inch of rain by 1 p.m. Thursday, triggering numerous vehicle accidents, sparking flooding and prompting at least two swift-water rescues in flood channels. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Artist sends love from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Artist Chris O'Rourke has a giant heart mounted in the back of pickup positioned for photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip on Valentine's Day 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't dampen weddings on Valentine's Day
Charolette Richards, owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel who has been performing weddings for 60 years, started Valentine’s Day 2019 by performing a wdding for Las Vegas couple David and Elaine Cook at the chapel’s Tunnel of Love drive-thru. Richards has over 100 weddings booked for Valentine’s Day. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Swift-water rescue in Las Vegas
The Clark County Fire Department rescued one person from the flooded Durango Wash in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy and soggy on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day across the Las Vegas Valley will be soggy and wet. A flood advisory has been issued for Clark County. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Early morning rainfall in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas valley was hit with rainfall early Thursday morning. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Learning how to create your own comic book
Jean Munson talks about the class she teaches at the Maximum Comics in Henderson on creating and publishing your own comic book.
Top Ladies of Distinction unveils second Las Vegas chapter
Officers Clair Hart and Rose Coker discuss the service organization’s work and mission.
The Animal Foundation Opens New Wing
On Tuesday, The Animal Foundation opened the doors to its new Engelstad Foundation Adoption center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas firefighter skates from ice to fire
Darcy Loewen, a former pro hockey player, finds a new career as a North Las Vegas firefighter. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carnival AirShip floats over Las Vegas
Carnival Cruise flew a blimp over the LAs Vegas Valley on Thursday in a promotion for its new Carnival Panorama ship. (Mat luschek/Review-Journal)
Pedestrian dies after crash at Decatur and Alta
Las Vegas police investigate a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian at Decatur Boulevard and Alta Driver about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars Cosplayers Visit Sick Kids At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Members of Coruscant Base, a Star Wars cosplay group, visit kids at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Hail and wet snow in Las Vegas
The western edges of Las Vegas saw some hail and wet snow on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer Jim Rhodes lists his mansion for $30 million
Jim Rhodes, a developer, has listed his mansion in Spanish Hills community for $30 million. The mansion is situated on 2 acres of land and features 19,345 square feet of living space. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Court ruling brings hope to local Vietnam veteran
Blue Water Navy Veteran Michael Yates talks about possible medical benefits he could receive after a federal court ruling this week. Yates claims he was exposed to Agent Orange and attributes that to his health problems, which include cancer.
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Crime
Suspect Breaks into Made In Argentina restaurant
Pablo Rodriguez, owner of the Made in Argentina restaurant on Valley View Blvd, describes the scene of the burglary that took place at his business on Sunday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle hit on US 95 in Las Vegas
Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Adam Whitmarsh was on a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 95, north of Ann Road, about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb 16, 2019, when a Honda CRV struck the back of the patrol car, causing the car to crash into the stopped vehicle. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
NYE Homicide suspects (1 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
NYE Homicide suspects (2 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police look for masked armed robbery suspect
Las Vegas police are looking for a masked man suspected of an armed robbery Feb. 14 in the west valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police officer found guilty of sexually abusing a child
Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was found guilty Wednesday of 28 counts, including sexual assault, lewdness with a child, child abuse and kidnapping.
Police, friends gather to bring attention to Celia Luna-Delgado's homicide case
Las Vegas police and loved ones of Celia Luna-Delgado, a homicide victim, gathered in an attempt to bring attention to the case. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nye County couple face 43 counts of allowing child abuse or neglect
The attorney for Marcel and Patricia Chappuis, operators of a private boarding school at the center of an ongoing abuse investigation, accused the Nye County Sheriff’s Office of harrassing and targeting the couple following a bail hearing Thursday morning.
Home security camera captures man stealing packages
Packages were stolen from outside a Las Vegas home on Feb. 7 and one of them contained chemotherapy drugs for a young cancer patient. (neighbors.ring.com)
North Las Vegas Police Release Info About 1986 Cold Case
North Las Vegas police released new details of a 1986 case involving 3-year-old Francillon Pierre. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
The creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team.
Several organizations and law enforcement agencies came together to announce the creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Addresses January 17th OIS (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman address members of the press regarding the officer involved shooting that took place on. January 31, 2019, in the vicinity of I-215 and Alta. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot, and is in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police address officer-involved shooting on Jan. 31 (Full)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman gave details on the officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 31, 2019, in Summerlin. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot and was in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Child Abuse Investigation At Northwest Academy
An investigation is currently underway by the Nye County Sheriff's Office at Northwest Academy for child abuse.
Lockdown ends at 2 Summerlin schools after Las Vegas police shooting
A man wanted on “violent felonies” was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot by Las Vegas police Thursday morning during a standoff in a west valley neighborhood.
Krystal Whipple Appears In Court For The First Time
Krystal Whipple, who is charged in the death of a nail salon manager, appeared Thursday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini, who scheduled a status hearing for April 1.
Metropd Addresses Ois From Jan 27 2019 (Short)
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police addresses officer-involved shooting
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Addresses Recent Ois (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department addresses recent officer involved shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
OIS press briefing Badura Avenue
Las Vegas police investigated an officer-involved shooting in the south valley, the department announced Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media briefing on Antwon Perkins arrest
LVMPD sex crimes bureau Lt .David Valenta speaks to the media about the arrest of Antwon Perkins, the suspect in Thursday’s abduction and assault of a Cadwallader Middle School student who was walking to school. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County Sheriff’s Office testing weapon mounted cameras
On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 the Nye County Sheriff’s Office announced the testing and evaluation of Weapon-Mounted Cameras (WMCs) from Viridian Weapon technologies at the Las Vegas Shot Show.
North Las Vegas OIS (Jan. 21)
North Las Vegas police provide information on an officer-involved shooting Monday night near Lake Mead and Fifth. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police Update on Fremont Street Shooting
Lt. Ray Spencer gives an update regarding a homicide investigation that occurred in front of a bus stop near Fremont Street and Casino Center, involving a security officer and another male.
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Alleged Las Vegas casino con man, who was on the run, appears in court
Mark Georgantas -- who entered a plea deal on a charge of stealing from people he met at Las Vegas casinos, but failed to show up for sentencing -- appearing in court after being captured in Utah. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Memorial service for Kwavon’tia Thomas
Timika Thomas sings during a memorial service for her son, Kwavon’tia Gregory Thomas, at Unity Baptist Church in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Kwavon’tia was shot and killed on Christmas Eve. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVMPD Looking For Blue Bucket Bandit - VIDEO
On December 31, 2018 detectives with the LVMPD Northwest Area Command Patrol Investigations Section received a report of the theft of a surveillance camera from the front porch of a residence located in the area of West Lake Mead Boulevard and North Rampart Boulevard. The victim in this case became aware of other residents in the neighborhood who had been the victim of similar crimes.
16-year-old boy fatally shot in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas police were investigating the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, marking the department’s first homicide investigation this year. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing