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Henderson to pay Review-Journal $20K in legal battle over police video

The city of Henderson has agreed to pay the Las Vegas Review-Journal $20,000 in legal fees after a judge ruled that the newspaper does not have to take down or alter its video of Henderson corrections officers apparently failing to respond properly to events at the jail.

The video was published online as part of the newspaper’s investigation into excessive overtime and mistakes at the city jail. Henderson joined the lawsuit that was originally filed against the Review-Journal by the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers. The union claimed the newspaper violated the officers’ privacy by showing their faces.

“The city of Henderson shouldn’t have joined this lawsuit in the first place,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said. “City taxpayers are paying for a portion of the Review-Journal’s legal fees in this case because their government prefers to attack press rights and limit public scrutiny rather than follow the letter of the law.”

NAPSO and Henderson claimed in court that the Review-Journal broke a state law that says images of officers in the possession of a law enforcement agency are confidential. The Review-Journal’s chief legal officer, Benjamin Lipman, said the statute only forbids law enforcement agencies from publishing the photos — not media outlets.

Henderson officials did not return a request for comment for this story. The settlement comes after the Review-Journal filed an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, which stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation.” The motion claims the lawsuit was an attempt to chill the newspaper’s First Amendment rights.

NAPSO has maintained that it is only asking the Review-Journal to blur officers’ faces — and that its lawsuit is not an infringement on the newspaper’s constitutional rights. The union has argued that keeping the video up without blurring officers’ faces puts their safety at risk, but it could not provide evidence of that either in court or in phone interviews with the Review-Journal.

Henderson city officials sent the Review-Journal redacted video to use after the story ran, but the newspaper declined to alter or replace its published work as the video was important to exposing potential wrongdoing by taxpayer-paid officials.

In October, District Judge Mark Denton ruled that the newspaper does not have to take down or alter its video.

The union’s attorney, William Schuller, said it is the city’s prerogative to settle with the Review-Journal, and there is no settlement between NAPSO and the newspaper.

“We look forward to the hearing on the special motion to dismiss, which we believe the court will deny,” he said.

The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on X. Erickson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.

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