Judge shuts down police demand for nearly $500K for Las Vegas shooting evidence
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
A Las Vegas judge shut down the LVMPD’s demand to pay up to $500,000 for evidence related to the Route 91 mass shooting.
LVMPD originally wanted to charge news organizations the fee before turning over video evidence to the public. However, District Judge Richard Scotti said in a written court order Friday that the department is not allowed to charge for the manpower it takes to prepare the video to be released to the public.
The judge also ordered LVMPD to start preparing evidence to be released to the public immediately, kick-starting a process that could take at least six months to complete.
News-3 along with other media organizations has been fighting in court for transparency in the Las Vegas mass shooting investigation. It’s been more than five months since the massacre on the Strip left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured.
So far, LVMPD has not fulfilled a single media request for records, including body camera footage, dispatch logs, and 911 calls.
For perspective: it’s only been three weeks since the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where authorities have already released several 911 calls. The audio gives insight into the confusion and the law enforcement response to the shooting.
Earlier this week, LVMPD argued in a Las Vegas courtroom that the sheer manpower to review and prepare hundreds of hours of body camera footage would be so labor-intensive that the department wanted to charge the media more than $400,000.
However, Judge Scotti said in a written ruling that LVMPD cannot charge for the manpower to prepare the video, adding that “the public’s right to know is essential to our democracy.”
It is unclear whether LVMPD attorneys plan to appeal the ruling – which would likely send the case to the Nevada Supreme Court.