LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) – With a decision to present a Metro officer-involved shooting case to the grand jury by the Clark County district attorney’s office, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Doug Gillespie told his force he stands behind and will defend them.
“Now that the district attorney has decided to move forward, I have a duty to let our organization know that I stand squarely on the side of our officers,” said Gillespie in a videotaped message to Metro police officers.
In the video, withheld from the public until Friday, Gillespie said his officer, Jesus Arevalo, is not a criminal.
“I do not see this fatal shooting as a criminal act,” Gillespie said.
It was Dec. 11 when Arevalo shot and killed Army veteran Stanley Gibson.
Gibson refused to get out of his car. Police planned to shoot a bean bag gun, breaking his window then pepper spraying him out.
Police said Arevalo did not get that message.
“His death should never have happened,” Gillespie said. “In the past year, we have learned many lessons, and we have implemented significant changes to our use of force policy.”
While Gillespie agreed changes should be made, he disagreed that the District Attorney Steve Wolfson should let a grand jury decide if Arevalo gets charged.
“The District Attorney sees this as the best avenue to review this case, using a grand jury to make the decision as to whether the actions are criminal or not,” said Gillespie in the video. “I do not agree.”
A grand jury will make the call behind closed doors, a secrecy Stanley Gibson's widow said Gillepsie matches by refusing explanations to her and initially keeping the video private.
The sheriff declined numerous requests from News 3 to talk about the grand jury proceedings.
A news release Friday from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said “No further information or interviews regarding the video or the grand jury process will be released or provided.”