Valley residents were bombarded this weekend with a series of automated “robocalls” blasting Clark County District Attorney David Roger and Sheriff Doug Gillespie for the investigation into the death of Erik Scott, who was shot by Las Vegas police in front of a Costco store last month.
The recorded messages claim to be from “the friends of Erik Scott,” but friends of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate denied any involvement.
“I hate those robocalls,” said Mike Pusateri, who has been involved in an unprecedented media blitz recently, which has included spending heavily on billboards urging police to release any video recordings of the July 10 shooting.
Pusateri said he has received one of the phone calls on his home phone. But he called them “frustrating” and said he and the friends and family of Scott do not want to get into a political debate over the issue.
“It’s just something we would never do,” he said.
The calls are certainly political. They accuse Roger of “dragging his feet investigating the shooting of Erik Scott” and demand that he and Gillespie resign if they “cannot do their duty” by releasing surveillance video of the incident or the recording of a 911 call made by store security.
The dramatic male voice in the recording asks, “What are they waiting for, Election Day?”
Gillespie has said he will release the 911 tapes after the coroner’s inquest, which has not been scheduled. He has said that surveillance video might not exist and that the store’s hard drives are in California for examination.
An inquest into the shooting, initially scheduled for Sept. 3, has been postponed indefinitely to allow more time for investigation and analysis, authorities have said.
The district attorney’s office does not investigate shootings by Metropolitan Police Department officers; detectives within the department’s homicide section assume that role. The district attorney’s office has final say on whether to prosecute an officer involved in a shooting.
Roger said he had not heard the calls and had no knowledge of them. His opponent in the November election, attorney Don Chairez, denied responsibility for the calls and called them “distasteful.” Gillespie’s opponent, officer Laurie Bisch, also denied involvement.
A spokeswoman for Scott’s family said they have received angry calls and e-mails from people who received the calls and blamed the dead man’s friends. Lisa Mayo-DeRiso said those people were upset that the robocalls reached them on their unlisted phones.
She added that the calls might be damaging toward the family’s campaign to find out what happened in the shooting.
“I think anytime you make people mad or upset, it’s not helpful for your cause,” she said.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.