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Las Vegas police agree to pay $100,000 to beaten videographer

The Metropolitan Police Department has agreed to pay $100,000 to a Las Vegas man who said he was beaten by an officer as he shot video from his driveway.

The payment would settle the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Mitchell Crooks, whose video of the confrontation with officer Derek Colling became an Internet hit.

The Police Department’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs will consider the settlement for approval at its Monday meeting.

Crooks filed his lawsuit in November, eight months after his run-in with Colling on a dark cul-de-sac in the southwest valley.

Crooks was videotaping police from his driveway the night of March 20 as officers investigated a burglary across the street near East Desert Inn Road and South Maryland Parkway. As Colling was driving away, he stopped his car, got out and approached Crooks.

He ordered Crooks to stop filming, and when Crooks refused, Colling beat him, according to the lawsuit.

Crooks was arrested for battery against an officer, trespassing and resisting arrest, but the charges were dropped.

An internal investigation concluded that Colling, a six-year veteran, violated several department policies. Police would not release the specific policy violations.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie fired Colling in December.

Neither Crooks nor Colling was a stranger to controversy.

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 refused to give it to prosecutors. He then was jailed on old warrants for drunken driving and petty theft. Civil rights advocates decried the jailing as retribution.

He has lived in Las Vegas since 2003 and worked as a freelance videographer.

Colling was involved in two fatal shootings 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 gasoline station.

In 2009, Colling shot and killed Tanner Chamberlain, a mentally ill 15-year-old who was holding a knife at his mother’s neck.

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

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@review journal.com or 702-383-0281.

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