Las Vegas police criticized a resident’s decision to livestream a deadly standoff Saturday between an armed man and police, saying that it could have endangered lives.
“What did not help the situation was that the incident was put on Facebook Live, which only served to inflame an already intense situation,” Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank said at a Tuesday news conference on the shooting. “Obviously, we cannot stop someone from doing this, but we ask the community to think about what is more important: displaying an intense situation on social media or being socially responsible?”
Hank discussed details about the deadly shooting of 18-year-old Roosevelt Brown, who was shot by police Saturday morning following a standoff in a neighborhood north of downtown Las Vegas. Brown ultimately raised a gun toward Metropolitan Police Department officers about 7:20 a.m., when Metro SWAT sniper John Collingwood, 35, shot him once.
A neighbor at a nearby apartment complex broadcast a large portion of the standoff on Facebook, a decision that put the neighbor’s life in danger as police dealt with an armed man, Hank cautioned.
“That’s concerning, and oftentimes that can exacerbate a situation where now they are (placing) themselves in jeopardy trying to get a certain image or a video,” Hank said.
The video, which has since been removed from Facebook, captured Brown walking around a neighborhood and occasionally pointing a gun, which police later determined was unloaded, at his own head. The stream lasted for more than an hour and didn’t capture the shooting because of a camera malfunction, the person recording said at the time.
When reached by phone for comment, the person who streamed the standoff, a man named D Nova Miller said, “I don’t feel like it was wrong.” He declined further comment.
The livestream was the second time this weekend that video of Metro’s interactions with a man they shot surfaced before police released information on the shooting. On Friday, valley news organizations acquired an anonymous video showing officers follow and shoot a man accused of stabbing two women minutes earlier.
That video was posted online early in the afternoon and gave officers a chance to view video of the shooting, Metro Capt. Jamie Prosser told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the Tuesday briefing.
However, she said, getting close to the officers and filming endangered the lives of the officers and the person filming.
“Please keep that in mind,” Prosser said.
Deputy Chief Chris Jones added that he understands the public is curious and has good intentions when wanting to get close to record police activity. But doing so introduces another issue for officers already dealing with a person causing a threat, said Jones, asking the public to shy away from inserting themselves into the equation of a high-pressure police situation.