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Ex-North Las Vegas policeman kneed cuffed suspect in face, report says

Updated September 18, 2020 - 8:21 am

A former North Las Vegas police officer charged with battery kneed a suspect in the face after the man was in handcuffs, breaking the man’s jaw, according to an arrest report.

Spencer Kinney, the former officer, was arrested Sept. 10 on a felony charge of battery with substantial bodily harm, a felony charge of oppression under color of office and one count of false report by a police officer, according to court records.

The North Las Vegas Police Department opened an internal investigation into Kinney’s conduct Aug. 25 after two other officers alerted their supervisor to potential excessive force during an arrest Kinney participated in April 24, according to the report detailing Kinney’s charges. Kinney resigned from the department June 24.

Police were initially called after a couple reported their son was high on methamphetamine and swinging a metal pole while walking toward them, according to the initial police report from Kinney.

Stun gun, foam bullets, K9 used

Kinney said officers used a stun gun on the man, shot him with foam bullets and eventually let a police K-9 dog bite him, but after being put in handcuffs, the man continued to resist and Kinney claims he had to press the man’s head into the cement, causing him to bleed.

Body-camera footage revealed Kinney’s report was accurate up until the arrest, at which point the man stopped resisting. Kinney’s report also neglected to mention him kneeing the man in the face, according to the investigation into Kinney’s conduct.

In videos reviewed by detectives and detailed in the criminal complaint, Kinney is heard asking the other officers, “Hey are you guys still recording?” before turning to the man in handcuffs and asking, “Hey, hey, how’s your face?”

In an interview with the victim, the man told investigators he was on a liquid diet for three months and on pain medication for two months because of the broken jaw.

“My general impression of my meeting with (the victim) was that he wasn’t happy, but understood all of the uses of force, except for the knee to the face, which he felt was very excessive and ‘mean,’ ” a detective said in the report detailing Kinney’s charges.

The other officers involved included Sgt. Michael Eggers, K-9 officer Sidney Lyons, and officers Chance Pfrimmer, Michael Walch, Robert Ramirez, David Brooks, Kaleb Friedman, Rogelio Salinas, Osvaldo Cerda-Guzman and Christopher Campbell.

Officers say excessive force used

Ramirez told police that after Kinney resigned he told Ramirez “he was sorry for putting him in that situation, that he had make a mistake, and that Ramirez should learn from him,” Ramirez told detectives.

Friedman said he didn’t feel any force was necessary after the man was in handcuffs but that he remembered the “thud” noise of Kinney’s knee hitting the man’s head.

“He finally told me that over the months since the incident he has thought about it, and talked to his squadmates about the incident and he determined for himself that ‘(the knee strike) was bull—- and that’s why we get a bad rap,’ ” Friedman told investigators.

Six of the officers said they felt Kinney used excessive force, and the other four said they didn’t see Kinney’s actions because of their positions during the arrest, according to the report.

“At least five other officers were in a position to use additional force to stop any resistance, none of which used force or saw any resistance requiring a use of force,” detectives concluded in the internal investigation.

Kinney was hired by the North Las Vegas police in 2017, and in 2020 his total pay and benefits equaled $112,201.48, according to public payroll data.

He was released after posting $18,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 18, according to court records.

ontact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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