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Criticism mounts against sheriff for ignoring board recommendation

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 8/03/2013 10:16 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- There is more criticism for a controversial decision by the Clark County sheriff.

The public is reaching out to local representatives to voice frustrations after Sheriff Doug Gillespie chose to suspend an officer 40 hours for shooting an unarmed man last November.

Officer Jacquar Roston shot Lawrence Gordan, an unarmed 22-year-old man in the leg.

The officer was convinced Gordan was reaching for a gun. It was this shooting that went in front of a Use of Force review board, a panel of citizens and police representatives.

They looked at all the facts and recommended that Roston be fired but instead, the sheriff decided to suspend the officer for 40 hours.

Since that decision, six members of the Use of Force review board have resigned. The calls have been flooding in and all of this weighs on some very important decisions the commissioner will have to make in the future, namely the more cops bill which would raise taxes to fund new officers

“Itis certainly going to weigh on your mind i mean it weighs on the minds of the constituents I haven’t had one person call me up and say it was a great decision the sheriff made to overrule the review board. I haven’t had one, I’ve had several that called up the other way,” said Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

Allen Lichtenstein, the attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, who helped create the a reveiw board, told News 3 the decision has badly damaged the relationship between the police and the public.

Lichtenstein said he was skeptical from the moment the board was created.

He was skeptical that Metro would live up to the promise of keeping the public involved and now he's worried his fears have been realized.

For Gordan, a November trip to a park was life changing.

Gordan received permanent injuries and what seems like permanent medical debt.

Roston lost a paycheck and was suspended 40 hours.

"If the idea was to have Metro have greater cooperation from the public and have the public have more faith in metro I think that has been severely damaged," Lichtenstein said.

"The skepticism, which is unfortunate, but it comes from a history of Metro promising more citizen-friendly kinds of actions than it delivers," Lichtenstein said.

Here's how the process works.

The officer, in this case Roston, has the shooting investigated. The case is looked at by the Use of Force board, which includes four citizens, and a tactical review board with two citizens.

They make their recomendation, in this case to fire Roston, and the sheriff accepts it or modifies it.

Then there is a pre-termination hearing to make the firing final.

For Roston, that is where his job was saved and the review board's decision was tossed.

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