On Monday, a white police officer was placed on unpaid leave, arrested, and charged with involuntary manslaughter after choking an unarmed black man to death in Las Vegas.
According to Reuters, the Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of 40-year-old Tashii Brown (who also used his mother’s surname #TashiiFarmer) as a homicide due to asphyxiation, just before officials arrested and charged Officer Kenneth Lopera for holding Farmer in a chokehold for over a minute. The autopsy report also revealed Brown had an enlarged heart and had been high on methamphetamine.
In the incident, which occurred on May 14th, Brown approached the officer in the Venetian Hotel with concerns that someone may have been chasing him. After the initial interaction, Brown, who seemed shaken up and nervous, ran into a restricted area, prompting Lopera to pursue him.
Moments later, the officer caught up to Brown and attempted to arrest him. In the surveillance and body-cam footage, Brown is shown laying on his back with his arms up as Lopera shoots his stun gun. Brown cried, “Please! Please!” in the video, just as the officers continued to restrain him. Lopera then punches Brown in the head and neck, just before putting him in a chokehold until he stopped breathing.
Brown was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to police, Lopera thought Brown was trying to steal a truck, which led to his arrest, but upon further investigation, police revealed Brown wouldn’t have been in any trouble had he lived.
Following Lopera’s arrest, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association paid $6,000 for his release, as the president of the union revealed that organization will be “representing the officer to the fullest extent that we can.”