Public safe with Brooks in jail

For as long as expelled Assemblyman Steven Brooks sits in the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the public is safe.

He won’t be getting the help he needs (but apparently doesn’t want) for his serious mental issues. But then, no one outside the California jail is at risk from him, at least for a while.

Thursday mark ed Brooks’ third arrest since Jan. 19. Enough already.

I’ve long believed that Brooks relishes the media attention he receives and perhaps takes actions to achieve it, such as his thwarted gun purchase.

Television cameras capture his enjoyment. Much of the video aired over the past 10 weeks shows him smiling and basking in the limelight.

KSNV-TV, Channel 3, kept running the video of him walking through the Nevada Legislature, hat on his head, back to the camera, before he turned and smiled and took his hat off. It was a Frank Sinatra “My Way” kind of moment.

In contrast, the series of phone calls he has made to news people revealed him ranting and raving, showing a much different man, a man to be feared, who believes he is a victim of racism.

Fear is the reason the Democratic assemblyman who fell apart at the start of his second term in office is no longer an assemblyman.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne explained it Thursday to the members of the Assembly who didn’t have access to the in-depth report on Brooks’ behavior.

Although much was already known through the news media, there was more, enough so that Horne said he felt less comfortable about Brooks than he did when the investigation began.

One chilling moment occurred when Horne, D-Las Vegas, said that when Brooks tried to buy a gun, it was a rifle with a scope, night vision goggles and a bullet-proof vest.

Who needs a bullet-proof vest for hunting? Obviously, he was thinking about return fire.

Horne said the report, which has not been made public, “painted a picture of a man who is volatile, prone to angry outbursts and potentially dangerous.”

Brooks is averaging one arrest a month.

The first on Jan. 19 involved allegations of threats to Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Remember that? It was suspected he didn’t like his committee assignments and wanted her replaced.

Then on Feb. 10 he was arrested and charged in connection with a domestic dispute with his estranged wife and accused of trying to take a gun from a police officer.

Less than seven hours after he was expelled Thursday, Brooks proved Horne right.

While heading south on Interstate 15 near Barstow, Calif., Brooks called a tow truck driver for a flat tire.

The driver called police and said a motorist was trying to defraud him by not paying him and not providing any identification, according to the Barstow Police Department news release.

Brooks was talking to one police officer at the scene of the dispute when he turned and walked quickly to his SUV and fled in it despite the flat tire.

During the fast-moving police chase, according to the Victorville Daily Press, Brooks threw a gun and other metal objects out of his car. When his car was stopped with a spike strip, Brooks wouldn’t get out of the vehicle, the news release said. After he emerged, he wouldn’t comply with orders, so a police dog named “Buck” was used.

The police said that when Brooks fled back to his vehicle, Buck tried to subdue him and Brooks began hitting the dog with a wrench.

Now his third arrest involved charges of resisting police officers with force, willful harm to a public service dog, felony evading and throwing objects from vehicle with intent to do bodily harm.

It seems his opportunities to voluntarily seek psychological help are gone. Whether in California or Nevada, Brooks seems destined to be behind bars.

The tears shed by Kirkpatrick at expelling Brooks showed a tender heart mixed with stress.

But with Brooks’ actions graduating from threats to actual violence, the tears I dread would be the tears of someone who lost a loved one because of this sad but dangerous man who nobody has been able to help.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at or call her at (702) 383-0275.

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