Kenneth Lopera, a Las Vegas police officer named, has been arrested on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after killing a Black man named Tashii S. Brown with an unapproved chokehold.
The incident occurred on May 14 after Lopera, 31, chased Brown, 40, through the employee-only hallway of a Las Vegas strip casino, according to NBC News. Body cam footage shows that Lopera had attempted to use his taser on Brown seven times to no effect. Lopera also punched Brown in the head and neck several times when he encountered Brown again in a parking lot.
Brown’s death was ruled a homicide despite having methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death. He also had an enlarged heart. A coroner ruled that it was actually a result of “asphyxia due to police restraint.” Lopera was released from jail on $6,000 bail and has a court date set for August.
“Officer Lopera did nothing criminal,” said Las Vegas Police Protective Association official Steve Grammas. “We prepared him for the worst-case scenario, and it came true.”
Grammas went on to defend Lopera’s use of the unapproved chokehold. He claimed that it wouldn’t have cut off Brown’s air supply.
“The reference of a ‘rear naked choke,’ which is a mixed martial arts hold that the officer said he used, is identical to the LVNR that Metro practices,” Grammas said. “Both are a carotid blood choke that cuts off blood flow to the brain. It’s not a windpipe choke that cuts off the air.”
Despite what Grammas thinks, Brown is still dead. The autopsy confirms Brown’s death was result of a lack of oxygen. Unless some major details are missing from the story here, it doesn’t take much to connect to the two.
Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if Lopera is actually held accountable for his actions.