Las Vegas, NV — For seven months, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been caught lying, railroaded journalists, and done everything in their power to keep the facts on what happened on 1 October from ever reaching the public. The department's desire to keep the information secret was so overwhelming that they fought its release all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court. On Friday, the court rejected the police department's bid to keep the records secret and they are now forced to hand everything over.
On Wednesday, the department began releasing footage from the officers' body camera as they entered Stephen Paddock's suite in Mandalay Bay on the night of the shooting. Not surprisingly, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced on Tuesday that the first officer into the room that night, Levi Hancock, did not activate his camera.
"I don't know how this footage will be played in the media, but I want to warn you, if you are a survivor or a family who lost a loved one, you should know the video from this concert is disturbing and graphic," he said.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the footage is just a slice of the many body camera clips and 911 calls the department has been ordered to release in response to a lawsuit brought by the Review-Journal and other media outlets.
“What is seen on those videos in no way changes the facts that we were able to clarify for you shortly after the crime,” Lombardo said at a Tuesday news conference, as he refused to answer any questions from reports.
Lombardo attempted to claim that his department didn't want to release the footage in an effort "to protect the victims and their families of this incident,” Lombardo said.
"I want the community to know the release of the videos, 911 and documents will have a significant impact on the victims of this tragedy," he said.
However, the victims are the some of ones who are demanding the information be released as part of a massive lawsuit.
“Now that it is facing having to follow the law and produce records, Metro is suggesting that the media is trying to victimize the community,” Review-Journal attorney Maggie McLetchie said. “The truth is that the community still has many unanswered questions about the police response to 1 October, and it has a right to assess what happened for itself. The quest for transparency and accountability is about making sure we, as a community, do everything we can to uncover the truth and avoid future tragedies.”
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After shifting blame to the victims for not being transparent, Lombardo then claimed that they simply didn't have the manpower to release the records.
“Transparency is not a burden for government agencies,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said, negating that claim. “It is a legal obligation that is essential to the preservation of the public’s trust.”
Indeed it is.
The video was release and the Associated Press issued the following statement:
Las Vegas police have released some officer body-camera video from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Videos made public Wednesday are expected to show what two officers found entering a 32nd-floor hotel room where Stephen Paddock unleashed gunfire on a concert last October.
Police say he killed 58 people and injured hundreds more before killing himself as authorities closed in.
The footage represents a sample of hundreds of hours of body-camera recordings that police say don't answer why Paddock opened fire.
The Associated Press and other media outlets sued to obtain videos, 911 recordings, evidence logs and interview reports.
Authorities say more will be released in coming weeks.
As the video shows, officers appear to be outside Paddock's suite and a loud bang or gunshot is heard.
"Rifles up, move up" an officer can be heard saying at one point in the video.
"Check under the bed," another officer orders later in the video.
According to the Review-Journal, the clips come from two different canine officers, Sgt. Joshua Bitsko and David Newton, police said.
To watch the entire video, you can do so at this link.