Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has taken the Stanley Gibson case to a grand jury. Many expect the grand jury to return a “true bill” for an indictment against Metropolitan Las Vegas police officer Jesus Arevalo who fatally shot Las Vegas’ disabled veteran, Stanley Gibson. If the grand jury does return a “true bill,” it will be the first indictment, in almost 20 years, against a Las Vegas police officer for an on-duty shooting.
Gibson was in his car in the parking lot of a Las Vegas apartment complex when his car was blocked in by two police cars. Gibson, believed to have been lost, did not get out of his car when requested by the police. That’s when the Las Vegas police came up with an ingenious plan to get Gibson out of his car – while one office used a beanbag shotgun to shoot out one of Gibson’s car windows, another officer would dose the car’s interior with pepper spray. Officer Arevalo was selected to shoot the beanbag shotgun. However, when Arevalo shot into Gibson’s car, he shot an AR-15 rifle … seven times.
Under Nevada law, if a police officer has a reasonable belief that the target poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to either the police or another person, a police officer can legal shoot. An unarmed person can be shot if the police can prove that a reasonable person in the same situation would have done so. Though there is a video of the fatal shooting, the Las Vegas police department has taken a stance of “justifiable shooting.”
According to Andre Lagomarsino, the Las Vegas attorney representing Gibson’s mother, Celestine Gibson, Wolfson taking the case to the grand jury is just the first step to ensure Arevalo is “criminally charged.” In May, Lagomarsino filed a $20 million federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas police, Arevalo, and two of his supervisors for Gibson’s death. This previous January, Lagomarsino settled the Trevon Cole case for $1.7 million. Cole, an unarmed small-time marijuana dealer, was killed by a Las Vegas police officer during a botched drug raid in June 2010. Lagomarsio represented the Cole family.
This commentary is for educational purposes. If you would like to be represented by an attorney in the Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within 24 hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.