LAS VEGAS — The Clark County District Attorney’s Office says Las Vegas-area police acted reasonably and lawfully in two officer-involved suspect deaths in 2010.
The reviews released Thursday are the first among 18 officer-involved death cases that are on hold after legal challenges halted a review process called a coroner’s inquest. The last inquest took place in September 2010.
“The inability of the current inquest process to bring these matters to hearing in a timely manner has prevented the public from learning the facts related to these events,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a statement. “With the reviews being conducted by my office, the public will no longer be kept waiting indefinitely to learn what happened during these police encounters.”
The reviews are not meant to replace the coroner’s inquests, which are expected to resume on the 18 backlogged cases on May 3.
Wolfson’s first review involved Eduardo Lopez-Hernandez, who died of cardiac arrest Aug. 25, 2010, after fighting with troopers and Henderson police officers who tried to stop him from running into traffic on U.S. 95 and fighting with other citizens.
A Taser was deployed 19 times in the encounter, although a doctor cited in the report says it did not cause the death.
The second involves the Nov. 15, 2010, death of Anthony James Brenes, who police shot after bean bag rounds and a Taser failed to stop him from advancing at them with a large stick. Officers were initially responding to reports of Brenes getting in a fight with his girlfriend in a convenience store parking lot.
“In both instances the police were confronted with aggressive suspects who ignored clear commands from the officers and resisted efforts to resolve the incidents quickly and without the use of force,” Wolfson said. “The police officers were dealing with people who clearly threatened public safety. Unfortunately, both situations ended tragically.”