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Police Offer $1.5 Million Settlement to Widow of Gulf War Veteran, Mother’s Case to go to Trial

The Las Vegas Sun reports that a $1.5 million settlement has been offered by the Metro Police to Stanley Gibson’s wife. Gibson was fatally shot by a police officer back in December 2011.

Sheriff Doug Gillepsie emailed the members of Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee to ask for their support in his recommendation of the settlement. He wrote that the police had a “tentative agreement with the family pending your approval”.

The Fiscal Affairs Committee meets again in a few weeks on October 28. It is a joint city-county group and oversees the budget of the Metro Police. The agenda for the next meeting has not been released at this time.

Gibson’s widow Rondha filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s US District Court back in December 2012, nearly a year after her husband was fatally shot. In the lawsuit Gibson accuses the Las Vegas police of violating civil rights in a way that led to the wrongful death of her husband. Metro Police, Sheriff Gillespie, Officer Malik Greg- Smith, Lt. David Dockendorf, Officer Jesus Arevalo and Sgt. Michael Hnatuick are named as the defendants in the lawsuit.

The shooting occurred at the Alondra Condominiums during the early morning hours on December 12, 2011. It followed reports of an attempted burglary. The vehicle that was suspected in the burglary was described to police as a white Cadillac. When the vehicle reappeared at the complex, officers on the scene blocked it in and found that it was Gibson’s car.

At that point, Gibson refused to leave the vehicle and drove into one of the patrol cars on the scene, revving the Cadillac’s engine and spinning the tires.

Officers at the complex came up with a plan to fire a bean-bag round into the Cadillac. However, the round hit the vehicle’s window and Arevalo, under the mistaken impression he was being shot at, returned fire. He shot seven times at the Cadillac and killed Gibson. According to his wife, Gibson suffered from PTSD.

The fact-finding review by the police found that the quick change in plans and a lack of communication led to the shooting. Arevalo was not indicted by a Clark County grand jury, although his future within the department is still unclear. He has already faced an internal pretermination board hearing in front of the Use of Force Review Board. The board consists of a mixture of members of the department and civilians. Gillespie will make the final call regarding Arevalo’s standing, and is awaiting the board’s decision before doing so.

Gibson’s mother, Celestine Gibson, filed her own federal suit alleging civil rights violations back in May 2012. The defendants in the suit are Metro Police, Arevalo, Hnatuick and Dockendorf.

Celestine is represented by Attorney Andre Lagomarsino, of Lagomarsino Law. Attorney Lagomarsino said that although there has been an offer made to settle her case, she has not accepted it. The case is expected to go to trial in late 2014 or early 2015.