Shot dead outside his local superstore
compiled from various sources
published: 4WardEver UK – October 2010
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
The fatal police shooting of 38-year-old Erik Scott took place on the 10th July 2010 outside his local superstore. Scott was a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served as an Army tank platoon leader and company staff officer; obtained a Masters degree in Business Administration from Duke University and enjoyed a successful career.
Erik Scott’s family and friends have launched a campaign that includes digital billboards placed in high-traffic areas throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Among messages the billboards have flashed: “Let the Truth Be Known!”
Police said they were called to the Costco store by an unspecified employee who claimed that Scott was acting strangely and had damaged merchandise, and that he had a gun.
Scott, who had a concealed-weapon permit, was carrying two pistols. He reportedly was involved in some kind of altercation with a store worker and was asked to leave the store because he had a weapon.
There were conflicting accounts of whether Scott ignored police commands to get down on the ground or to put his hands in the air, and of whether Scott drew a gun on police. Police officers maintained that Scott had pointed a pistol at an officer. This was later contested by the family and their representatives.
Three officers were placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation and the inquest. They are William Mosher, 38, a five-year veteran of the department, Joshua Stark, 28, and Thomas Mendiola, 23, both two-year veterans.
Two of the three officers who shot Scott later testified in the inquest that they felt Scott was an “imminent” threat before they fired. Officer Thomas Mendiola testified that he heard officer William Mosher yell, “Hands, let me see your hands.”
An interested party asked what Mendiola thought when he found out Scott’s gun was in a holster the whole time. “It was still a threat, whether it was holstered or not. I did what I had to do,” Mendiola said.
As friends and family members mourned the death of Scott, disturbing new details about video evidence that had gone missing and which seemed to point toward an emerging police cover up.
One month after the shooting evidence had still not been released to the family attorney and the coroner inquest was subsequently postponed indefinitely. authorities then claimed that key portions of video data had been lost, a claim that experts say is suspect, knowing that large retail enterprises such as Costco use systems that provide data security.
police declined to release the 911 recording, and the hard drive from the store surveillance system remained under ‘forensic review’ by a police agency in Southern California.
Bill Scott, Erik’s Scott’s father, said in a telephone interview that although he is skeptical of the inquest system, he is holding out hope. “We’re willing to give the process a chance to provide the truth and to ensure justice is done by holding those responsible for his killing accountable.”
Following the coroner’s inquest, eventually held in September 2010, where a jury found the Metro Police shooting death of Scott to be justified his family argued the inquest had “failed miserably,” Bill Scott told reporters that the next step for the family would be to file a lawsuit in federal court “so finally we all will have the truth.” He called the six-day inquest a “horrific nightmare.”
Mr Scott Snr went on to say: “We gave the system a chance to work as it’s supposed to work. They had the chance to present the truth. They also had the chance to present the facts at the coroner’s inquest hearing. As we see it, the system failed miserably,”
Maggie McLetchie, an attorney for the ACLU of Nevada, said the verdict was expected, but the process was flawed. “We’re not surprised with this verdict because no matter what the evidence is, no matter what the case is, officer-involved shootings are almost always found to be justified. The time for change is now, I think people were able to observe some of the things that we’ve been complaining about.” she said.