Tashii Farmer Brown Hearing – February 4, 2021, 12 noon Eastern

Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Tashii Farmer Brown

SPEAKERS

  • Rapporteur Marjorie Cohn
  • Commissioner Sir Clare Roberts
  • Commissioner Prof. Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France
  • Mr. Andre M. Lagomarsino, attorney for the family

Marjorie Cohn  00:01

[Welcome to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People] of African descent in the United States. These hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of unjustified killings and maimings of Black individuals, by police officers in the United States before an international panel of human rights experts. We now begin the hearing in the case of Tashii Farmer. My name is Marjorie Cohn and I am the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing are commissioners Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France of France and commissioner Sir Clare Roberts of Antigua and Barbuda. The witness in the hearing is Andre Lagomarsino. There will be 50 minutes for this hearing. The witnesses will testify, followed by a period of questions from the commissioners. I will call time at the 30 minute mark and the 45 minute mark, please excuse my interruptions, Commissioners Fanon-Mendes-France and Roberts I now present to you the first witness, Andre Lagomarsino. Andre Lagomarsino, please confirm your name.

Andre Lagomarsino  01:11

My name is Andre Lagomarsino.

Marjorie Cohn  01:15

Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Andre Lagomarsino  01:22

I do.

Marjorie Cohn  01:22

Yes, you may begin.

Andre Lagomarsino  01:27

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you may be. My name is Andre Lagomarsino. I’m an attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. I’ve been a practicing attorney for 22 years and handle civil rights matters here in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve handled approximately 20 cases against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Four noteworthy cases include the case of Trevon Cole, an unarmed black man who was emptying marijuana when he was killed by Brian Yanz with an AR 15. Trevon Cole was dumping a bag of marijuana into a toilet, he was unarmed when detective Yanz killed him in 2010. I handled the case of Stanley Gibson and represented his mother. Stanley was an African American man, United States veteran who was pinned in his car when he was killed by Jesus Arevalo who shot him with an AR 15. Stanley was also unarmed. In the case today, I represent the mother of Tashii Farmer. Tashii Farmer was unarmed when he was tased, beaten and choked to death by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Kenneth Lopera.

Today I have some prepared remarks that I’d like to read, as well as some video that I’d like to show. The video will be a six minute video showing the actual incident followed by later in the presentation on one minute video describing some of the national news coverage that this case received. before I proceed, does anybody have any questions? Thank you. Tashii Farmer was just 40 years old when he was choked to death by former Las Vegas police officer Kenneth Lopera. At the same time that three other Las Vegas police officers, Crumrine, Tran and Flores, held Tashii down. The Clark County Coroner gave an opinion that Tashii died as a result of police restraint procedures, and a nationally renowned medical expert William Smock, That’s S M O C K, concurred that the cause of Tashii’s death was by a speciation. Tashii was unarmed and according to every witness in this case, did nothing to harm anyone before being killed. Officer Lopera the officer that killed Tashii, claims that he used a department authorized procedure called a lateral vascular neck restraint, which we will call an LVNR today against Tashii. Lopera used the LVNR on Tashi. Even after Tashii became unconscious. He used the chokehold for about a minute and 12 seconds and that is demonstrated by the video. The LVNR is a neck restraint, so called, where the officer squeezes the sides of the subjects neck with his encircling arm in an effort to make the subject pass out Cutting off blood and therefore oxygen to the brain. Crumrine, Flores and Tran believed Lopera was utilizing an LVNR to restrain Tashii as well. This is important because all the officers were trained that the LVNR can be deadly if it is applied to a subject after he becomes unconscious. It is part of the training. Even the police departments own subject matter experts testified in the case that I handled that. If the subject of the restraint becomes unconscious, they should be immediately released. Yet the three other officers assisted Lopera to choke Tashii well after it was obvious that Tashii was unconscious. The police department in Las Vegas has had existing problems with numerous improper applications of the LVNR. Other individuals have died, while in a neck restraint administered by Las Vegas police officers.

Las Vegas police provides only one half of the recommended annual training for the restraint. In other words, this restraint is trained across the country. Many different police departments ban this restraint but those that do require for that excuse me, but those that allow the restraint require for an hours of annual training for the restrain. The police department here only provides two hours intentionally. When Tashii Farmer was killed, the police department allowed this deadly force option to be utilized against subjects who presented no threat to officers or others in low level for situations. Since the death of Tashii Farmer, and because of the death of Tashii Farmer. The police department has changed the policy to allow it only when there’s a threat of substantial bodily harm to the officers, but it’s too late for Tashii and Trinita Farmer Tashi’s mother, who I represent. Our civil case here was involving Trinita Farmer’s relationship with her son. Trinita Farmer was very close with her son Tashii and lived with him at the time of his death. She brought a lawsuit under 42 USC section us code 1983 based on the 14th amendment for deprivation of her substantive due process right to a family relationship with Tashi. The ninth circuit where Nevada is located recognizes that parents of an adult child possess a constitutional claim as to police mistreatment of that child. She sued officer Lopera, she sued the other three officers, Crumrine, Tran and Flores for their failure to intervene, and she sued the police department. The case is currently pending.

However, the defendants have brought numerous motions to dismiss the case and the judge currently in the case has dismissed the claims against the three in non-intervening, the three non intervening officers under the doctrine of qualified immunity. The case proceeds against the police department for their failure to train and against officer Lopera. In the lawsuit, the following facts were uncovered. Lopera’s conduct included using a taser on Tashii seven times. After tasing Tashi, Lopera punched Tashii in the head, a total of 10 to 12 times. Lopera then choked Tashii to death for one minute and 10 to 12 seconds. The testimony revealed that the officers who did not intervene admit that they could have physically intervened to stop Lopera from choking Tasha to death, but they chose not to do so. There was ample time for them to deliberate, 48 seconds of watching an unconscious Tashii in a deadly chokehold, and yet they did nothing other than tell Lopera to release, but took no physical action to do so even though they were trained. They had a responsibility to act physically if Lopera refused commands which he did. As to the Las Vegas Police Department’s policies, the department had a policy in place at the time of Tashii Farmer’s killing that allowed for the deadly LVNR to be used in low level for situations where neither the officer nor anyone else was presented with the threat of injury. Second, the police department admittedly undertrained its officers, as mentioned before four hours of annual training are required but the police department provided only two hours manual training. Third, and just as importantly, we contend the police department did not adequately punish officers who excessively used chokeholds or other uses of force.

And fourth, the police department was aware that the chokehold was an ineffective use of force, including as the cause of prior injuries of deaths, but was deliberately indifferent. Now before I put the specific details of this case on the record, I think it’s important for the commission to watch a six minute video that shows what happened on the night that Tashii was killed by the police officers. The video is comprised of two types of footage. First is going to be casino surveillance footage. This incident happened started inside of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and finished outside in the driveway. So there is casino surveillance footage, but there is also body camera footage that was from a camera worn by Lopera. I’m gonna have your indulgence for just one moment. I’ll share the screen here. Okay. All right now this is inside the Venetian casino. Those are the two police officers walking into the food court. they encounter Tashii Farmer, also known as Tashii Brown, inside the food court. He told the officers he felt like he was being followed. So they started to talk with him. The interaction lasted about 45 seconds. As I’ll describe later, the other officer who was involved officer Lif, who did not participate in the use of force testified that Tashii Farmer had done nothing wrong and did not appear suspicious.

This is officer Lif to the right of officer Lopera and you’ll see officer Lopera will shortly hand his coffee over to officer Lif. This is Tashii Farmer. Now in the body camera footage, the first 30 seconds of the footage is without sound. Then after 30 seconds, there is sound.

Officer Lopera was chasing Tashii Farmer down a hallway in an exit hallway and he fell in some water. That is Lopera calling out for his partner, Officer Lif. This is where he approaches Tashii Farmer. [Video audio in the background.]

On May 14 2017 Tashii Farmer entered the Venetian hotel on the moving walkway from outside the building on Las Vegas Boulevard. Tashii walked past numerous other people held the door open for another man who was carrying luggage, and kept to himself. As he continued to walk through the property, Tashii never made physical contact or verbal contact with anyone else except for having held the door open for the gentleman. Tashii was appropriately dressed for the time of year, May, wearing blue jeans and T shirt. As he carried his hat in his hand while walking through the property, he did not know that his life would end that night. The next day was Mother’s Day, and Trinita, my client was notified by the Clark County Coroner on Mother’s Day that her son was killed by the police officers. At the same time that Tashii was walking through the Venetian, Metro officer Ashley Lif and former Metro officer Lopera were drinking coffee together at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It was so hot outside that Officer Lif purchased iced coffees for herself and Lopera because she was sweating. Officer Lif ran the air conditioning in her car because it was so hot. Why I mentioned that is because officer Lopera claims that because Tashii Farmer appeared to be sweating, that was his basis for trying to detain him, sweating in Las Vegas in May. Officer Lif had been Lopera’s partner for a few months and have been partnered with Lopera for around 10 different night shifts before this incident occurred. Lif who cried in her actual deposition testimony about the case testified that Lopera would get amped up and loud during something as simple as a traffic stop making the citizens subjected to his actions extremely uncomfortable.

One of Lopera’s weaknesses was his difficulty staying calm during a citizen stop. That night Lif and Lopera were members of the flex team. This is a saturation team, where the officers wear something called BDUs which are short for battle dress uniforms. Not the traditional tan uniform that Las Vegas police officers typically wear. The flex team considers itself to be proactive in that it targets and goes after individuals. The flex team is not required to answer other calls for service. The officers left the Coffee Bean with their iced coffees. And at the same time, about eight minutes after he entered the property. Tashii was near the food court and he encountered the officers. They spoke as you can see from the video for about 45 seconds. Before they walked away from Tashii and spoke to each other alone. There was no reasonable suspicion for the officers to detain Tashi. during that entire time that Lif and Lopera were standing next to each other, Lopera never said to Lif that he was going to detain Tashi. He never told his partner, he just reached out to grab him. As you can see Tashii stepped back and jogged away from Lopera through a door with a bright red and well lit exit sign. Officer Lif did not feel that Tashii was under the influence of narcotics. She felt that Tashii was sweating due to being outside before coming inside. She did not observe Tashii to be sweating enough to show through his clothing. Nor did Lif believe that there was anything unusual about the way Tashii was speaking he did not appear to be mentally ill, nor did Lif appear to see him in a mental crisis during the interaction.

According to Officer Lif, Tashii did not seem paranoid, and did not strike Lif as behaving in an unusual way. Tashii did not meet any of the criteria that would qualify him as being a danger to himself or others. According to officer Lif, as she wept during the deposition, she stated it was the event was shocking because of everything that had happened and it shouldn’t have happened in her words. senior officers and other investigators likewise testified that Lopera had no basis to arrest Tashi. He was never a threat to the public. Even the chief McGrath, testified that the video does not show any behavior that justified the decision to try to apprehend Tashi. At one of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s press briefings after this incident, the undersheriff Kevin McMahon publicly stated that Tashii Farmer would not have been charged with a crime had he lived.

Now, Lopera claimed that he believed that Tashii was trying to carjack that truck that we saw in the video, but every other police officer who viewed that video, stated that they did not believe that Tashii was trying to open the tailgate. Even the driver of the vehicle testified that he did not believe that Tashii was trying to in any way take his vehicle from him or assault him. But and this is an interesting tidbit about this case. You may have heard me mentioned the case of Brian Yanz. Who shot Trevon Cole earlier, when I started my remarks. Brian Yanz had been involved in three officer involved shootings of unarmed individuals, two of which were of African descent. After his third shooting, he was made the police union representative who advises individuals involved in officer involved deaths after incidents. And he was recorded in the car telling Ken Lopera, into his ear whispering, when he was in the car, that’s when you went into apprehension. It is undisputed that Farmer was never in any vehicle.

As to the taser. A yellow and orange label on Lopera’s taser warned that its use can cause death. The police depart Hartman’s own policy states that an officer can only tase or use a taser against the individual three times. In this case, Tashii was tased seven times. The officers who reviewed this case for the department, concluded that Lopera improperly used his taser. Lopera’s county appointed lawyers both in the criminal and civil case, argued that Lopera was justified in using the taser, because Tashii was not following commands. This argument is completely contradicted by the audio and video evidence, as well as the testimony of numerous other officers. The video evidence reveals that Lopera did not give a warning and gave confusing commands such as Stop, don’t move, you’re getting tased. Lopera kept screaming conflicting instructions such as don’t move but in the next breath yelling get on your stomach. The detectives who investigated it stated under oath that it was impossible for Tashii to follow these commands. As a result of the taser use Tashii went into neuromuscular incapacitation multiple times during the time he was being tased and being given conflicting commands. Tashii can be heard crying out in pain at the time he’s being tased there were literally metal hooks that were charged with electricity that were dug into his back. Even during the times when he wasn’t incapacitated, he was clearly affected. After using the taser, Lopera went on to hand strikes. The video confirms and the police department agrees that Lopera was in a dominant position over Tashii as he was being held facedown on the ground. Lopera hit him 10 to 12 times while screaming at him.

After hitting Tashi, Lopera went on to a chokehold. Again, as I mentioned numerous other departments that were surveyed by Metro after this case, two thirds of them don’t allow any kinds of chokeholds, but Metro, the police department here does allow chokeholds they train its officers that a neck restraint should be effective within four to 10 seconds. They train its officers at the you should cause a subject, the use of a chokehold should cause a subject to pass out. After four to seven seconds, even with minimal compression a person become unconscious and that’s what happened to Tashi. Yet, according to video surveillance, Tashii was held for a minute and 12 seconds. Lopera had full encirclement, full encirclement and proper compression. The intervening officers who would, really didn’t intervene, sat there for 48 seconds and did not physically remove Ken Lopera from Tashii Farmer. After the incident, an enormous amount of press was generated by this case, because it happened on the strip and because Las Vegas has had a major problem with the police department, killing its citizens. In fact, African Americans are disproportionately affected by police use of force, has been documented by the Justice Department of the United States, as well as by the Las Vegas Review Journal. After the incident, the police department fired Lopera and recommended that he be charged with a crime. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office. But instead of having a public preliminary hearing on the charges, the district attorney held a secretive and closed grand jury on the charges. During that grand jury, the DA allowed experts to testify who had never once testified against a police officer. Those so called experts stated that they could not tell what caused Tashii Farmer to die, even though the coroner and the videotape clearly shows that he was choked to death. Predictably, the grand jury did not indict Lopera. This, these criminal charges generated a significant media attention and I’ll just show one minute video demonstrate the national coverage that occurred on this case.

Video audio  29:55

Officer Lopera will be charged with involuntary manslaughter And oppression under the color of office.

Andre Lagomarsino  30:04

You see LV County Sheriff announcing criminal charges against. Are you able to see that screen?

Marjorie Cohn  30:13

Yes we are. Okay.

Video audio  30:24

Officer Lopera will be charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office. Well, that was Nevada’s Clark County Sheriff announcing criminal charges against a Las Vegas police officer following the release of a coroner’s report concluding the death of an unarmed black man was homicide by asphyxiation. 41 year old officer Kenneth Lopera, was released on $6,000 bail and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He’s accused of using what is known as an unauthorized martial art style chokehold on the victim, which blocks blood flow from the carotid artery to the brain. The autopsy also revealed a 40 year old Tashii Farmer was high on methamphetamine and had an enlarged heart. He was a father of two who lived with his mother and was being treated for depression. Reports by Lopera’s body camera captured the incident which began at the Venetian hotel coffee shop, where Farmer approached the officer and his partner telling them he was being followed. Lopera said he appeared sweaty and disoriented. A chase ensued. Once the officer caught up with him. He repeatedly shouted to Farmer to roll on his stomach and tased him seven times, four times more than allowed by the department. The video shows Farmer reaching for his back trying to remove the taser prongs. Hotel security cameras show police and Venetian security guards on the scene while Lopera punches farmer in the face and neck. Lopera then performed what is called the rear neck choke for a minute after he was handcuffed. Police noticed Farmer was not breathing and gave him CPR until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Marjorie Cohn  31:55

This is the 32 minute mark.

Andre Lagomarsino  31:59

Thank you. All right. After the incident, after the case, the charges were dismissed against Lopera no further action was taken by the district attorney. The district attorney had the opportunity to charge Lopera and and bring a preliminary hearing public but chose not to do so. The other three officers who participated in holding Tashii Farmer down, are not charged with any crimes and remain on the police department to this day. They did not receive any discipline for their role in the incident. I’m open to questions.

Marjorie Cohn  32:59

Commissioners Roberts and Fanon-Mendes-France. Do you have questions of this witness?

Sir Clare Roberts  33:08

Yes, I have a question. We are looking at systemic failures and race, especially against African Americans. Attorney, would if the, if Mr. Farmer were a white person. Do you think the treatment the approach by the police and the treatment would have been the same? What is your view on that?

Andre Lagomarsino  33:47

I do not believe that. I think that he wouldn’t have been placed in a chokehold he wouldn’t have been assaulted like that, and he wouldn’t have been tased. I’ve said that frequently in prosecuting this case, that if it was a drunk white tourist from Ireland, who was just stumbling around the Venetian, the most of that would have happened is they probably would have taken him into security and given him a trespass. So I agree that it was, I believe that it was implicit bias. And that’s demonstrated by the the statistics in Nevada over the past several decades.

Sir Clare Roberts  34:30

What struck me was the impunity. How was it given the low threshold to get one indicted, that in this case, there was no indictment against Lopera?

Andre Lagomarsino  34:46

So what happened with the grand jury was they allowed these experts to be brought in who are from an institute in the United States called the Force Institute. And it is an entity actually that is created by law enforcement, funded by law enforcement that has so called experts come in and testify in favor of law enforcement. So, in this case, to remind you that Clark County Coroner, he was a public officer, ruled that it was asphyxiation, the video demonstrated it was asphyxiation. But they brought these experts in who said, Well, he had some methamphetamine in his system, and he had an enlarged heart. So we can’t tell if it was the chokehold and the beating that killed him or not. And, as you mentioned, probable cause is all that’s required at the grand jury level, it’s not beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what is required at the trial level. So even with that testimony, the grand jury declined to indict him. We met, my client, Trinita met with a district attorney, and practically begged him to bring a case in the public arena via preliminary hearing, because in the grand jury, it’s not double jeopardy. If the grand jury declines to indict, you can still bring it before a judge who can then say that there is probable cause and send it to trial. But the district attorney who clearly works with the police department every day in many cases, declined to bring that case and the case was allowed to close.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  36:34

Hi, please. Attorney Lagomarsino. Thank you for your testimony. And I would like to know why just why is the Clark County Coroner concluded it is the death, Tashii’s death is a homicide. And then why the Clark County District Attorney did not take it to trial. What is your analysis about that?

Andre Lagomarsino  37:13

Thank you for the question. The Clark County Coroner performed an autopsy on Tashii Farmer. They examined him physically, they looked at his bruising all along his carotid artery. They looked at all the evidence of injury that he had, and concluded that it was the restraint, asphyxiation procedures that were the cause of death. So that on the one hand, that’s the Clark County Coroner, and the video evidence and, frankly, logic that Tashii Farmer would not have spontaneously died at the Venetian that day, had he not been placed in a chokehold. But the argument has been made by many organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, is that because the police work so closely with the district attorney, that there is a conflict of interest, and that the police are given preferential treatment that would not otherwise be given to normal citizens who are not law enforcement. And we were that my client Trinita and I were both extremely upset that they chose not to bring a case of a preliminary hearing. But we were not surprised. Because it’s been going on for many years, many decades. We used to have a process here called the coroner’s inquest that went on from the 60s, and the 70s, and the 80s and the 90s and into the 2000s. And you’re talking 40 to 50 years of coroner’s inquest, and all the coroner’s inquests involving officer involved deaths. Only one officer was ever found to be responsible because the district attorney puts on the case and and they put on the case that they want to put on and as a result, the police officers are exonerated.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  39:18

Okay, thank you. Thank you. But I have seen on the on the Tashi, Tashi’s website there is a data dedicated to Tashii and I have seen the state provide funds for the family, accept to give funds for family?

Andre Lagomarsino  39:47

Right so there were two lawsuits that were brought. One lawsuit was brought by Tashii’s children. And they and his estate. That was not our case. That was a different Attorney handled that case, that case has since settled in the civil arena. And they paid monies to the family, the state did.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  40:08

On which basis, please, judiciary, even speaking on which basis it was done?

Andre Lagomarsino  40:14

The case was brought for a violation of Tashii’s civil rights. Okay. Specifically taking away his life under the 14th amendment.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  40:24

And related to this case on the civil rights statute he does, the district attorney, as a County District Attorney, I did not think it was reasonable, because the result of proves even with the video camera. Tashii was not asphyxiated by himself, but by the police by Lopera.

Andre Lagomarsino  40:54

Correct. He is a different, although it’s, the district attorney does work for the state. It was a different entity that paid the money to settle the case.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  41:11

Thank you. Because I’m from another country, I’m from France. And it’s not the system of system. It’s not the same system of law. That’s why I’m sorry.

Andre Lagomarsino  41:23

No, that’s okay. I can tell you people that live in the United States, and especially Las Vegas, are extremely frustrated with this system. And it does not make sense that it should be that way.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  41:33

Just if I may just do you have a statistic on how many African American were killed in Las Vegas? Is there some statistic on that?

Andre Lagomarsino  41:44

We do so in, in 2010, after 50 years of killings by the police department, the Las Vegas newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal, which is the biggest newspaper in Las Vegas, performed a very extensive criminal investigation, or excuse me, a very extensive journalism investigation, where they compiled all the statistics and demonstrated that African Americans were disproportionately killed in relation to Caucasians or Hispanics in Las Vegas. And then, as a result of that investigation, the United States Justice Department came in and did an investigation. And they entered into an agreement with the police department for more training and changes of policies. And there has been some improvement, I have to say since 2010. But nowhere near the amount that is needed to get where we need to be.

Sir Clare Roberts  42:55

Attorney just one question what would be considered justice in this case, what measures apart from compensation monetary compensation?

Andre Lagomarsino  43:11

The client, Trinita, wants officer Lopera to be charged by the United States for violation of civil rights under criminal-

Sir Clare Roberts  43:19

What is her wish to see justice would have been done?

Andre Lagomarsino  43:24

She wants to see Lopera go to prison. That is her idea of justice.

Sir Clare Roberts  43:33

Very god, that this has been consistent, that the victims the families they do not, it’s not just a matter of money, they would like to see the end of impunity and they would like to see accountability on the part of the police when when these things happen. Now, if what measures, do you, would recommend in terms of training and recruiting that would allow for a more equal treatment of African Americans by the police?

Andre Lagomarsino  44:34

I think number one, there has to be a recognition of the need for the training. Sometimes when the Justice Department came in and told the police department that they have problems with race and problems of discrimination. The police department came in and said okay, we will train for that. But then the instructors were making jokes about the training for discrimination, which they was documented, so they had to fix that. But in terms of training, you have to look at not just explicit bias, but implicit bias cultural training, you have to have officers have proper background checks and better psychological evaluations. But most importantly, you need punishment. If an officer like such as the three officers who were involved, can hold somebody down for 48 seconds while somebody else is being choked to death, and they receive no punishment. That is a terrible example that no amount of training can undo. And it takes guts on behalf of the executives, to remove those types of officers. So that to me is the biggest issue, the officers in Las Vegas are paid very, very well. And the retirement system that we have here after they’ve worked for 25 or 30 years, is very lucrative. And if they were punished by having that taken away from them, that would be the benefit to everyone, if you have wrongdoers involved.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  46:14

After what you said, Could we see impunity will still there, will still be there on the issue of race, there is no work on, there is no work really on the racialization of people of African descent?

Andre Lagomarsino  46:35

I’m sorry, can you please repeat the question?

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  46:37

Is there a relation between impunity, the level of impunity and the level of racialization in the US?

Andre Lagomarsino  46:49

Yes, I believe so. I think the more, the less punishment, the more impunity. And even with the recent riots in the capital, which were publicized, which are not race related to African Americans, I think they have to show that people who act poorly need to be prosecuted, and that will deter future bad behavior. And that’s really the only way in my belief, in addition to training that this problem can be addressed.

Andre Lagomarsino  47:32

And not just the death cases. In any case, where there’s an abuse of power, you know, we’ve had cases where people are just walking down the street, and they’re detained for no reason that we’ve personally handled. And I had one case where somebody said, you look like a rapper. I mean, the person was not drunk, had no drugs, no weapons, no record was simply going to meet his family. And they just detain people on the Strip. With the strip is Las Vegas Boulevard where all the hotels are so it needs to be an everyday situation and every day training with the officers.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  48:15

Is that, is there something to see with, with the fact that the US is not not signatory of international law, like human rights law or fundamental rights and civil rights. And do they do you think they apply the laws they want? The law, they prefer national law than  to take in consideration the hierarchy of laws and norms, imperative norms for example, such as the right to life?

Andre Lagomarsino  48:49

I think, to answer your question, with the amount of division in the United States, between political party, sometimes even that, it’s hard to have one policy if you have one president, who is saying, go ahead and rough everybody up on camera. And then another president before him is emphasizing accountability for race. And so I think there has to be more of a consistent policy from the United States to recognize that there are some simple basic human rights that need to be respected.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France  49:34

Thank you.

Marjorie Cohn  49:41

This concludes the hearing. In the case of Tashii Farmer, the hearing in the case of Tarika Wilson will start at the top of the hour. Thank you, Mr. Lagomarsino.

Andre Lagomarsino  49:52

Thank you, thank you for your time today. Thank you.

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