Erik Scott’s Family Drops Lawsuit

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Scott, a West Point grad and Duke graduate student, was shot and killed outside of a Las Vegas Costco after he got into an argument with a Costco employee. The employee apparently saw that Scott was (legally) carrying a weapon, panicked, and called the police. In their testimony at the coroner’s inquest, police said that as Scott was leaving the Costco, they simultaneously told him to drop his weapon and put his hands in the air. When he didn’t comply with both, which of course was impossible, they killed him.

The coroner nonetheless found the shooting justified. Which shouldn’t be surprising. Las Vegas hasn’t fired a police officer for shooting someone in any of the 378 times it’s happened over the last 20 years. (Although one of the cops involved in the Scott shooting was later fired and criminally charged in a separate case for providing a gun to a felon.)

Scott had no prior criminal record. His family had been pursuing a lawsuit. But they’ve now given up, apparently out of frustration. Here’s the press release, in full:

Scott Family Announces Erik B. Scott Lawsuit to be Dismissed

Las Vegas, NV (March 13, 2012) – Upon advice of legal counsel, the family of Erik B. Scott has dismissed its lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Sheriff Doug Gillespie and the three officers who shot and killed Erik on July 10, 2010.

“We are extremely disappointed, and this action is being taken with great reluctance,” said William B. Scott, Erik’s father. “We thank our attorney, Ross Goodman, and his team for their outstanding efforts on Erik’s and our behalf. It’s time to move on with our lives.”

“We feel Erik was wrongfully killed, through an incredibly tragic mistake,” he added. “Officer William Mosher claimed he tapped Erik on the shoulder, and Mosher confirmed, at the coroner’s inquest hearing, that Erik responded by stating that he had a concealed firearm. Erik was trying to comply with the officer’s conflicting commands, when Mosher fired two shots. The commands and those first shots occurred within two seconds. Mosher’s first round hit Erik in the heart, killing him instantly. The second round went through Erik’s right thigh. Officers Mendiola and Stark then fired another five rounds into Erik’s back, after my son was on the ground and dying.”

Despite multiple witnesses confirming Erik was complying with Officer Mosher’s commands, recent Ninth Circuit Court opinions finding “qualified immunity” for police officers, even after agreeing excessive force had been used, makes it difficult to proceed with this lawsuit.

“While we believe the Costco surveillance-video data — which captured the shooting — provides irrefutable evidence that Erik was wrongfully killed, the ‘missing’ segment of that video makes it difficult to overcome those qualified-immunity legal issues,” Scott said.

Odd how critical portions of surveillance video often turn up missing, isn’t it?

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33 Responses to “Erik Scott’s Family Drops Lawsuit”

  1. #1 |  Anti Federalist | 

    “Fuck you, Mundanes.

    Now, move along, before I thump your heads for you.”

    -Officer Friendly

  2. #2 |  yonemoto | 

    Perhaps this nutpunch will wake a few people up from st patty’s day hangovers.

  3. #3 |  John P. | 

    No its not odd that critical proportions of video turn up missing, nor its it odd that some videos end up being completely erased.

    Its common practice in LE today to lie, cheat and destroy evidence of crimes committed by cops.

    Amerika has begged and demanded a police state. Now they have one. I hope they are happy with their new Overloads with their “qualified immunity”…

  4. #4 |  Danny | 

    There’s no state remedy for excessive force either?

    It’s Section 1983 or bust?

  5. #5 |  rapscallion | 

    I thought no video of that day found at all. Not sure what he means by “missing segment.”

    What that case made clear is that the Las Vegas inquest process is a joke. Basically, to even indict an officer for a shooting they have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt with the selective, preliminary evidence that the prosecutors choose to present.

  6. #6 |  croaker | 

    The day will come when a wronged family won’t bother with Section 1983.

    They’ll just shoot the cops in the back from long range with a scoped deer rifle and be done with it.

  7. #7 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    @#2 — “Perhaps this nutpunch will wake a few people up from st patty’s day hangovers.”

    Wishful thinking, yonemoto. The sheep ignore, even condone, this kind of shit 365 days a year.

  8. #8 |  Dan | 

    I think You are right about that Croaker.

  9. #9 |  nigmalg | 

    “The day will come when a wronged family won’t bother with Section 1983.”

    Don’t forget, according to Indiana you shouldn’t even resist an unlawful entry by police *because* you can just file the 1983 remedy later don’t-cha-know.

    Of course if a pesky 1983 lawsuit actually got to his jurisdiction, I’m sure Justice Steven David would quickly evaporate it under qualified immunity.

    We’re in for a bad ending.

  10. #10 |  Seth Levy | 

    FYI https://www.facebook.com/LasVegasMetro

  11. #11 |  Arthur | 

    #6 & #9

    Yep. When rule of law is eroded by the state there is only one rule left.

  12. #12 |  Law Prof | 

    Thugs in Blue.

  13. #13 |  KPN3% | 

    Croaker @ #6,
    That day is long overdue….but it is coming.

  14. #14 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    Ditto Croaker.

  15. #15 |  yonemoto | 

    Judas, I meant agitator readers.

  16. #16 |  yonemoto | 

    and ‘wake up’ as in literally.

  17. #17 |  Heron | 

    Anybody here heard about the Trayvon Martin case yet? Yet another family unlikely to see justice anytime soon.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/opinion/blow-the-curious-case-of-trayvon-martin.html?_r=3

  18. #18 |  Warren Bonesteel | 

    What Croaker said.

    imo, that day is not far off…

  19. #19 |  el coronado | 

    This may not be _entirely_ over yet. The word in Vegas is that Scott’s dad is pretty well-connected, was fairly senior at Nellis AFB and has a fair amount of juice – which he has vowed to use up going after Metro’s finest trigger-happy goons and the system that coddles & protects them.

    Although I’d never EVER agree to what #6 said in his post, because that would be – you know – would be WRONG (as well as recorded for posterity by our friends the NSA), it could be that Metro is in for an education in asymmetrical tactics and unconventional retaliatory moves.

    One can always hope. We’ll see.

  20. #20 |  Monday Grab Bag of Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

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  21. #21 |  JSL | 

    I hope that there is some justice el coronado.

    Heron, a sad case but I’m not convinced its so bad as the media reports. I want to hear the 911 tapes and read any reports from the police/hospital on injuries.

  22. #22 |  Deoxy | 

    The day will come when a wronged family won’t bother with Section 1983.

    They’ll just shoot the cops in the back from long range with a scoped deer rifle and be done with it.

    This is the end game, yes. I really REALLY hope it doesn’t get this far*… but I am honestly surprised that it hasn’t yet.

    *The innocent body count would certainly go UP in such a situation, on both sides of the badge. However, if that’s the only way left to punish the guilty on one particular side, that is what will eventually happen.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The word in Vegas is that Scott’s dad is pretty well-connected

    I don’t know of a more powerful organization than the thugs in blue. Their mob controls politicians, determines elections, operates outside the legal system as it suits them, and laughs as peasants line up to praise them…while also accumulating a lifetime of wealth for short careers.

    You could be the president of the USA and you still aren’t connected enough to hold the police accountable. Ask Obama how it felt when he tried to get a cop to just apologize to Henry Gates. Instead, the cop said “fuck you”, drank the beer, and I think belched in their faces.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The people on this board predicting violence against the police in response to the police killing citizens should know the outcome. The police will gather unprecedented support from media, politicians, and citizens while responding with dramatic escalation of violence, grabbing of even more power and immunity, and securing $$$$ in numerous ways.

    Citizens won’t win this way, but I certainly understand the sentiment.

  25. #25 |  nigmalg | 

    Boyd,

    In reality, nobody ever looks for a violent solution to these problems. That’s a terrible solution and you’re absolutely right about the police response.

    But what can be done?

    - People in general are very stupid. They support awful behavior by police. We can throw out “mass support” for reform. We’ll be the minority until the whole system collapses, because that’s what it takes.
    - Police have the system setup to acquire perpetual power. They’ve rigged review boards and have tons of influence over all form of local and national politics.
    - Today, the constitution is exclusively a courtroom prospect. It doesn’t exist on the streets at all. With qualified immunity, our “courtroom prospect” is in a very weakened state.

    You know what I see standing between us and a future Orwellian police state? Nothing.

  26. #26 |  Whim | 

    If someone did a root cause analysis when police-initiated violence is directed against the wrong person, it usually begins with a panicked call to 9-1-1.

    What EXACTLY did the COSTCO employee report to 9-1-1? That should be the baseline for analyzing whatever action the police subsequently launched.

    It also might be the basis for a civil suit by the family against the INSTIGATOR of the series of actions that ultimately took the life of their son.

    If 9-1-1 got a panicked call that a man carrying a gun was acting irrationally, when in fact that isn’t what actually happened in the store, then I would think that potentially the store chain just might have some liability. That might be an avenue worth pursuing, and also one having deep pockets.

  27. #27 |  Heidi | 

    I’ve attempted to control my anger, spite and homicidal fantasies against the police and other system representatives – but I’m losing my patience too. Croaker, et al – maybe you’re all correct. Maybe it’s time for a contrived anarchy…a controlled revolution to bring down the corrupt system in place and put better people there. But would they end up doing the same – or worse…? Or, maybe we can just cheer every time a cop gets killed :) I know I do already…always with a tug of concern that maybe they were one of the good ones. But hey, they all seem to be soured by “those few bad apples”…what a joke that is. And has anyone noticed that the few bones they throw to us are typically women and minorities – rather than the white guys that make up the majority of law enforcement…? That’s another concern of mine…that cops love a race war – keeps us distracted while they’re screwing us over.

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  31. #31 |  Joe | 

    FUCK COSTCO. I will NO LONGER SHOP THERE.

  32. #32 |  Joe | 

    Or will I EVER go to LAS VEGAS for vacation.

  33. #33 |  Fact Check | 

    Fact Check: He was attempting to carry INSIDE the Costco, which the chain does not allow. This is posted outside of EVERY Costco facility, internationally.

    When the employee informed Scott of this, he made a scene, and withdrew the weapon (although did not brandish it at anyone in particular). This incited the call to police, accompanied with his erratic behavior. Logically, if the guy is armed, and hostile, the employee has an obligation to notify police.

    When law enforcement arrived, Scott refused to put down his weapon, and waved it around in agitation. At one point, in his rage the weapon was carelessly aimed at law enforcement, prompting the shooting that ensued.

    After the reports from eyewitnesses, and several different attempts to find a legitimate case to sue, the Scotts withdrew the case, because frankly, they had none.

    This guy was responsible every step of the way, and had multiple opportunities to avoid such a fate. It was entirely his own doing, which is the real tragedy in all of this.

    This report is terribly, terribly misinformed, and not at all in line with accounts from Costco, law enforcement, or the several eye witnesses that were interviewed. Where did you come up with such a fabrication??

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