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ACLU wants choke-hold practices to end after man’s police custody death at Venetian

Police investigate the death of a man Sunday, May 14, 2017, after trying to be restrained by officers at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Billy Winkler)

A man in police custody died after he was shocked by a Taser, punched, and put in a choke-hold by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Clark County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 40-year-old Tashii Brown of Las Vegas. His official cause and manner of death are still pending.

The ACLU of Nevada is now calling for an end to the controversial police tactic.

The incident happened around 1 a.m. Sunday at the Venetian Hotel.

Police say two officers were approached by a man inside the hotel. He was acting erratic and told officers someone was chasing him. He took off toward the back of the build and police followed.

One officer Tased the man when he reportedly tried to get into a nearby truck. He is punched multiple times and put in a choke-hold.

According to the LVMPD news release on the incident, the hold is described as follows: "As the altercation escalated, one officer struck the suspect with a closed fist multiple times then used the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR) technique. The LVNR is a specific method of applying pressure to the side of a subject’s neck to overcome resistance and allow safe control. During the use of the LVNR the suspect went unconscious."

Police performed CPR after he lost consciousness but the man dies an hour later at the hospital.

Taxi cab driver Billy Winkler was there just minutes after the incident.

“What was he doing that made officers suspicious?” said Winkler. “These things happen a lot around the country, but it does create a lot of outrage. Sometime the police don’t know when to stop — that is an exception that happens – but there really is no excuse when it comes to this kind of situation.”

Last week, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill spoke to the media specifically about its de-escalation efforts.

“Our officers are trained to exhaust all of their options before resorting to the use of deadly force,” said McMahill.

The ACLU issued a critical response on the incident, calling for an end to choke-hold practices.

“The incident of a man dying in police custody today is one more reason why the use of choke-hold practices must stop,” said Tod Story, the executive director of the ACLU of Nevada. “Too many people have died as a result of this type of excessive force and too many questions remain about the use of choke-holds by our police."

This comes just days after a new report sheds light on LVMPD’s use of force policies.

Last year, the department was involved in 10 fatal officer-involved shootings – that’s the lowest number the department has seen in 20 years.

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