Metropolitan Police Department officer Kenneth Lopera was formally charged Monday in the death of Tashii Brown, the unarmed Las Vegas man who died last month after being shocked with a Taser and put in a neck hold while being arrested.
The Clark County district attorney’s office filed a criminal complaint charging Lopera with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under color of office.
Brown died early May 14 after approaching two police officers at The Venetian. He said he thought he was being followed. The officers followed him as he exited through an employee-only area and approached a car in the valet parking area.
Surveillance footage shows that Lopera stunned Brown seven times, placed him in a neck hold for a little more than a minute and punched him in the face during the arrest.
Had Brown lived, he would not have faced any criminal charges, Metro has said.
The Clark County coroner’s office said Brown died from asphyxiation due to police restraint. Metro officials have said the neck hold used by Lopera, which he described as a “rear naked choke,” violated department procedures, as it varied from the authorized hold known as the lateral vascular neck restraint.
“A lot of research, thought and deliberation went into the decision to charge this on-duty officer with a crime,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in announcing the formal charges. “We recognize that the job of a police officer is challenging, and they face a variety of situations that most of us cannot even imagine. Nevertheless, police officers are not immune from prosecution when their conduct crosses the line and becomes criminal.”
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the length of time Brown was placed in a neck hold.
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