Las Vegas police reach $2.2M settlement in chokehold death

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The family of a man who was punched, hit with stun gun jolts and put in a neck restraint by a police officer outside a Las Vegas casino in 2017 has reached a tentative $2.2 million settlement with police.

Boris Treyzon, an attorney for the family of Tashii Brown, said the agreement settles a lawsuit filed on behalf of Brown’s children that accused Las Vegas police of excessive force and gross negligence in the 40-year-old’s death.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that “an amicable resolution” was reached but the settlement will go before the department’s Fiscal Affairs Committee for approval.

The department confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journalthat the proposed settlement would be the largest in the department’s history.

The department said it could not comment further until the committee takes action.

Kenneth Lopera, the officer who used the unapproved chokehold on Brown, was fired after the department said he violated use-of-force policies. Lopera then became the first Las Vegas police officer to face a manslaughter charge since 1990 in a city where police shootings and uses of force drew reform recommendations in 2012 from the U.S. Justice Department.

The charge against Lopera came after the Clark County coroner ruled that Brown was asphyxiated as a result of the police neck restraint. Medical examiners also noted that Brown had an enlarged heart and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

In 2018, all criminal charges against Lopera, also including oppression under color of office, were dropped after legal representatives from his police union presented evidence to a criminal grand jury that Brown’s death was due to his heart ailment and drug use. The grand jury refused to indict.

The settlement in the case with Brown’s children releases the police department and Lopera from the lawsuit. A message left Friday with Lopera’s attorney was not returned.

A separate lawsuit filed by Brown’s mother, Trinita Farmer, is pending in federal court.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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