Cops suspected of beating handcuffed Diamond Bar man

What was it Hunter S. Thompson said about North Las Vegas?

“North Las Vegas is where you go when you’ve f—ed up once too often on the Strip, and when you’re not even welcome in the cut-rate downtown places. … This is Nevada’s answer to East St. Louis — a slum and a graveyard, last stop before permanent exile to Ely or Winnemucca.

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

North Las Vegas detectives arrested two of the department’s own officers Thursday for misconduct during a December incident involving a casino patron.

One officer is accused of repeatedly striking the handcuffed California man in the face during the incident. Both officers are accused of lying on a police report.

Police said Mark Alan Miles and James F. Balelo, both 27, were booked into the Clark County Detention Center on charges of filing a false report by a public officer, a gross misdemeanor. Miles also faces a felony charge of oppression under color of office. Both officers have been with the department for almost two years.

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The incident that led to the arrests occurred just before midnight Dec. 6 at the Cannery, 2121 E. Craig Road.

Miles and Balelo were called to the casino to deal with a rowdy bar patron from Diamond Bar, Calif. The 31-year-old man, identified in the officers’ arrest report as Luis Enrique Vargas, was handcuffed in a holding cell at the casino after a citizen’s arrest was made by security guards.

He was accused of slamming his beer bottle on the casino bar and punching the screen of a video poker machine.

The arrest reports Miles and Balelo filed against Vargas were vastly different than evidence from the actual video surveillance, according to the report filed against the officers.

While in the holding cell at the casino, Miles, without provocation, repeatedly slapped Vargas and baited him to fight, according to the report filed against the officers. Balelo threatened to “bust” Vargas in the face if Vargas didn’t stop yelling at the hotel security guards who were standing outside the holding cell.

The reports the officers filed claimed that Vargas had threatened them and attempted to bite and spit on them. The officers also made up threatening quotes and attributed them to Vargas in the reports. The surveillance showed instead that he was compliant with the two officers’ requests and did not make any threats, according to the report filed against the officers.

 

It’s Independence Day

 The Johnny Depp-narrated documentary “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” comes out in limited release Friday.

Despite my mixed feelings about Thomson’s suicide, there is no better journalism to celebrate on Independence Day.  From the Chicago Tribune’s review:

“Gonzo” could use more such insight. It’s accessible, entertaining and hugely kinetic, packed with memorable songs from Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many more icons of Thompson’s era. Like all of Gibney’s work, it’s informative and a little titillating, just sensationalistic enough to grab a broader audience than the subject alone might warrant. And it’s a fine portrait for neophytes looking for a first overview of Thompson’s life, work and eventual well-telegraphed suicide. But like Thompson’s work itself, it sometimes feels like a smoke screen, a colorful but distracting, distracted set of pretenses hiding as much as they reveal.