A complete series of Mike's analyses is available at: http://statelymcdanielmanor.wordpress.com/category/erik-scott-case/
ANALYSIS - by Mike McDaniel
July 10, 2012 was the second anniversary of the death of West Point graduate and decorated armor officer Erik Scott at the hands of three Metro officers at the Summerlin Costco in Las Vegas. As I noted in Update 17 on March 23, the case against Metro was dismissed—not over a lack of evidence as readers will soon discover—but over concerns that the 9th Circuit (the circuit most overturned by the Supreme Court) would throw out any victory won on appeal over immunity concerns. That decision was as disappointing as the second anniversary of his death was immeasurably sad for those who know and loved Erik Scott and for those who love justice.
The disappointment was tempered, however, by the fact that a civil suit was filed against Costco on June 8, 2012, as I reported on that date:
I have it on good authority that Metro, and particularly the Police union, are in a state of panic. They thought this case had gone away for good. In addition, Metro officers are already trying to minimize the damage with comments in response to news stories. An investigation by the Federal Department of Justice is also ongoing and a matter of great concern for Metro. They have much to be concerned about.
One of the primary handicaps I've had in reporting on this case is the general lack of hard and complete evidence in the public realm. Metro, as is its common practice, slow-rolled the release of any information. However, with the end of the case against Metro, I have been able to review not only Metro's case, but other evidence gathered in the pursuit of the civil case against Metro. I now have hard evidence that arguably proves Metro's account of the killing of Erik Scott is not only impossible, but laughably inept.
In Update 7, originally posted at Confederate Yankee (now closed to all but archival access) on 10-23-10 and reprised at SMM on November 17, 2011, I outlined a theory of the case, based on all evidence available at that time. It would be worthwhile to review Update 7 in its entirety, but for the convenience of readers, I'll provide the Metro version of events in contrast with my theory of the case, and as always, trust in my readers to determine which version is most credible. All information in this update is the most recent and correct available.
The Metro Narrative:
Responding to a report of a man in the Costco with a gun who was wildly out of control refusing to leave and wacked out on drugs, three Metro officers (among many and a helicopter) arrived first and took up positions near the main door of the Costco store. An officer had already ordered the store evacuated and hundreds of patrons—including Erik Scott and his girlfriend Samantha Sterner—were calmly walking out the front door. Scott passed the officers and was pointed out to Off. William Mosher by Costco Security employee Shai Lierley. Mosher, whose gun was already drawn, verbally challenged Scott, who drew his own Kimber .45 handgun still in its holster, and pointed it at Mosher. Mosher immediately fired two rounds into Scott, one striking him in the heart and the second penetrating the very outside of his right thigh. Officer Thomas Mendiola fired four rounds into Scott's back and buttocks and Officer Joshua Stark fired one round into Scott's back.
Mosher handcuffed Scott but did not search him or try to render medical aid. Scott was quickly put in an ambulance and transported to an area hospital. On the way, one of the EMT's found a Ruger LCP handgun and spare magazine in Scott's pants pockets and eventually turned them over to Metro. Scott's Blackberry was found on the ground near his body and was photographed along with his Kimber .45, still in its black, inside-the-waistband holster, also found on the ground near his body.
At the Coroner's Inquest, Metro's narrative continued to be embellished. Metro officers testified that the Ruger, which was supposedly in Scott's right front jeans pocket, "might" have been damaged by the bullet that penetrated his thigh. That handgun was displayed by an officer, but no damage was pointed out, visible or otherwise obvious, and a later attempt to examine both weapons was resisted by the Prosecution.
The Theory of The Case:
As I've written in previous updates, Erik Scott was not under the influence of drugs and was not behaving erratically in the Costco on July 10, 2010. Additional witness statements and evidence—not Metro's relatively few handpicked and manipulated witnesses—prove this, and I'll be writing about that information in the near future. When Costco employees began evacuating the store, Scott and Sterner calmly walked out amid a great many other patrons. Contrary to media accounts, there is no evidence that Scott was ever actually asked to leave the store--therefore he could not possibly have refused to do what he was never asked to do--until the request to evacuate was made of every patron.
So unremarkable was the supposedly drugged-out madman Scott, he walked right past and within mere feet of the officers at the front door until Lierley pointed him out to Mosher, who grabbed him by the shoulder (or didn't—Mosher couldn't remember what he actually did only a few hours after the shooting), causing Scott to turn to face Mosher whose handgun was already drawn and pointed at Scott from very close range.
Surprised, Scott raised both hands and may have intended to lift his shirt to show Mosher his holstered handgun, still in his waistband. Mosher began to yell a stream of contradictory commands at Scott. From the moment he began yelling until his first shot was fired, only two seconds elapsed. Mendiola and Stark had no idea who fired or why, but shot Scott in the back as he was falling and flat on his face on the pavement anyway. Scott not only had no time to draw and point his handgun at the officers, he had no time to respond to the panicky, contradictory commands (audible on the 911 call between Lierley and the police dispatcher): "put your hands where I can see them now; drop it, get on the ground; get on the ground."
Update 14, which recounts Mosher's official Metro interview is available here. Update 14.2--Stark's interview—is available here, and Update 14.3—Mendiola's interview—is available here.
As the officers hastily and without regard for the backdrop—where their bullets could end up—fired in the middle of a crowd, people ran and ducked for cover. Some threw their bodies between their loved ones and the panicked police gunfire. Even Mosher admitted firing in the middle of a large crowd.
Mosher almost immediately and brutally jumped on Scott's back and handcuffed him, but did not search him and did not find his Kimber .45 still in its holster in his waistband behind his right hip. He also missed the Blackhawk polymer dual magazine holder with two loaded .45 magazines on Scott's belt behind his left hip. Scott was quickly loaded into an AMR ambulance, which equally quickly left for the hospital.
Probably at about the same time, EMT Chris Thorpe found the Kimber, still on Scott's body, but in his report strangely wrote: "weapon found to right pocket," and "found clip to left pocket." He did not clarify these cryptic passages. He turned the weapon, holster and one or two magazines, but not the polymer magazine holder, which was threaded through Scott's belt, to a Metro officer believed to be an Officer Oswald who accompanied him on the way to the hospital (standard police procedure).
More or less simultaneously, the officers at Costco panicked when they realized the only thing on the ground near where Scott fell was his Blackberry. There was no gun. However, the medics found Scott's thick wallet in his right front pocket—where he always carried it--almost immediately when they arrived and turned it over to the police. In that wallet they found Scott's state concealed carry license and his local blue cards—gun registration cards—including one so new it wasn't laminated: the card for his Ruger LCP .380 ACP pistol, purchased only a few weeks earlier. It is ironic that carrying the blue cards is not required, but Scott was a man who followed the law and correct procedure, so he did, giving the police that killed him the means to plot against him after his death.
It would take the detectives about 45 minutes to arrive, and during that time, a hasty scheme was enacted. They had to have a gun at the scene, otherwise there was no justification to shoot Scott, but there was no gun. Informed about the discovery of the .45 in the ambulance, they made arrangements to get that gun back to the scene and planted it. But what about the gun the medic found in the ambulance? That was already on the record. How could the officers at the scene have missed finding a .45 that was supposedly already on the pavement at Costco anyway? The blue card provided the answer. They had to find the Ruger, not the other, full-sized handguns on Scott's blue cards. It would be embarrassing to Mosher not to have found that much smaller handgun, but they had bigger worries, including Costco video footage of Scott's behavior in the store and of the shooting, but they ensured that video would disappear.
The officers took advantage of Sterner, still very much in shock after watching Scott shot to death mere feet from her, and obtained permission to search her car in the Costco parking lot. There was no legal or legitimate reason to search that car. It was not in any way involved with the shooting. But there was one compelling reason to search: the Ruger they desperately needed might be there. Unfortunately for Metro, the car wasn't even Sterner's; she borrowed it from a friend. They found nothing.
Almost immediately, Metro enlisted the help of Steve Grodin of the Public Administrator's office. Grodin, an ex-cop, tried to get permission from Scott's brother Kevin who was traveling by air to enter Scott's Las Vegas home, supposedly to "protect" his property, but it was a ruse (all of this is covered in Update 6 and Update 11.3. There was no legal, legitimate reason to search Scott's home. It was far away and had no relation to the shooting or any crime. Kevin refused Grodin and the police entry, and under Nevada law, had no standing to authorize entry anyway. In fact, Nevada law specifically prohibited a search and seizure under the circumstances, but Metro was desperate. Sterner, who did have legal control of the home, repeatedly refused the police entry, but they ignored her. Finally, at about 1900 that night, Metro and Grodin hired a locksmith. They entered the home and took a number of token items to cover their real purpose: seizing Scott's Ruger, holster and a spare magazine, which were on a nightstand by his bed where they always had been. Scott never carried the Ruger.
Because the newly purchased Ruger was not listed on Scott's concealed carry license, Metro tried to claim that by carrying it, he was guilty of a felony. Only later, when they realized how lame their story was, and when the involvement of the Public Administrator began to generate some heat on the blogosphere and in the local media did they concoct the idea that the Ruger had been damaged by the round that penetrated Scott's thigh, apparently as a means to try to definitively place the pistol in Scott's right front pocket.
In the meantime, detectives would interview Mosher, Mendiola, Stark and others. None of them would mention the Ruger because when the interviews were being conducted, they had no idea whether they could find and use it as they intended. They still had not entered and searched Scott's home. In fact, the interviews are virtual textbook cases of how not to conduct interviews of officers involved in shootings. The ultra-brief interviews themselves reveal that Metro was not interested in competent, complete interviews that would help to reveal the complete truth, but only in minimally checking all of the necessary blanks in the Metro narrative, which virtually always vindicates officers that kill citizens.
METRO'S EVIDENCE: WHY IT DOESN'T FIT
The Ruger LCP .380 ACP Pistol (black polymer frame, stainless steel slide):
(1) Scott never carried the handgun. He purchased it on June 12, 2010 with the intention of giving it to his mother who lived out of state when they were next together. In the interim, he kept it, in its Blackhawk #2 inside-the-waistband holster, with its single spare magazine, on a nightstand at the side of his bed.
(2) Those who knew Scott best, including Samantha Sterner who lived with him, testify that he only carried his Kimber .45, never the Ruger or any other backup gun.
(3) Sterner explained in a pre-trial deposition that on July 10, 2010, she was the last to leave their bedroom before they left for the Costco. The Ruger and accessories were in their normal place on the nightstand when they left, but missing when she was again able to enter the home after the search by Metro and the Deputy Public Administrator (Steve Grodin). This was confirmed by members of the Scott family.
(4) When Metro interviewed Sterner shortly after the shooting on July 10, 2010, they did not mention the Ruger, nor did Sterner. Metro said nothing because they had not yet been able to get into Scott's home--in fact, Sterner repeatedly refused them entry and she was the person legally in control of the home--so they could not possibly have mentioned the Ruger because they had no idea if they could find it and use it as they hoped. If, however, Scott had been carrying the Ruger, the investigators must have known about it shortly after the AMR (private sector) ambulance left Costco and the Ruger was supposedly "...found to right pocket" on Scott's body. Sterner did not mention it because as far as she knew, it was still at home on the nightstand. She would not realize Metro took it from her home until the next day.
(5) Scott always carried his wallet in his right front pocket. Metro documents show it was found in that pocket, and Scott's jeans were blood-soaked from waist to knee on that leg, completely covering the area of the right front pocket. Scott's wallet and its contents, including the blue card for the Ruger, were also blood stained. Scott's wallet was unusually thick: about 1 ¾".
I conducted an experiment: placing Scott's actual wallet in a pair of jeans—you'll see them shortly—it was actually impossible to put the Ruger—in its holster or otherwise—in the pocket with the wallet. There simply was not sufficient room, and the wallet was not as thick as it was on July 10, 2010 as a number of items and all cash had been removed. Even if it was possible to stuff the Ruger in the pocket with the wallet, it would have been virtually impossible to sit down, and actually impossible to remove the Ruger with any kind of speed. In other words, if it was possible to wedge the Ruger into Scott's pocket--even without the holster--he would have been utterly unable to rapidly remove it, essentially rendering it useless. Scott knew better.
In addition, the holster, spare magazine and handgun returned to Bill Scott (Erik's father) from Metro had not the slightest trace of blood on them. This too would have been plainly impossible if any of these items were in Scott's right front pocket, but precisely what one would expect of a gun and accessories that resided entirely on a bedroom nightstand.
Consider also that by returning the holster to Bill Scott, Metro has locked itself into the story that Scott was carrying the Ruger in that holster "... found to right pocket." How else could Metro be in possession of the holster that was on Erik Scott's nightstand? The opposite side of the holster is as devoid of blood stains or any other blemish as the side visible in Figure 1. The holster could easily have just been removed from its manufacturer's packaging, which again, would be quite impossible if it had been in Erik Scott's right front pocket, which was literally dripping in blood.
(5) Damage to the Ruger:
Figure 1 is the Ruger in its holster. Notice once again that the holster is absolutely pristine, which is to be expected of a brand new holster.
Figure 2 illustrates the damage to the grip of the Ruger. Notice the angle of the travel of the "bullet" and the very slight damage in the form of a groove in the back of the magazine. In photos of the Ruger and its two magazines taken at the autopsy, the magazines were undamaged.
Figure 3 illustrates more clearly the bullet travel and slight grooving of the magazine.
Figure 4: Notice that the diameter of the damage appears to be about 9mm in size rather than .45 caliber, the caliber of the bullet fired by Mosher into Scott's thigh. Again, notice the upward angle of the "bullet" path. This is a .380 (9mm) diameter cartridge. Notice how perfectly it fits in the "bullet" damage.
Figure 5: A clearer view of the damage. Again, notice the upward path of the damage and the slight grooving of the magazine, not along the same direct path as the damage to the frame.
(6) BULLET IMPACT:
Figure 6 is the coroner's diagram illustrating the entrance and exit points of the five bullets striking Scott. Only the round that struck him in the thigh fully penetrated his body. What the illustration cannot clearly show is that the bullet struck Scott on the very outside edge of his thigh and penetrated only 5 centimeters (about 1 5/8") of his thigh. If it had struck him only about an inch more to the outside of the thigh, it would have been only a graze.
Figure 7: This is a side-by side comparison of the relevant portion of the coroner's diagram and a standard pair of jeans like Scott's. The actual Ruger pistol was properly placed in the right front pocket and an actual sized scan of the pistol taped directly over the Ruger as it was positioned in the pocket. It was not possible to perfectly scale the coroner's diagram to the pocket, and the diagram does not fit perfectly
Figure 8: A closer view of the relative position of the Ruger in a jean pocket and the location of the entry wound. Keep in mind that the wallet is not in the pocket with the Ruger because it was quite impossible to fit both in the pocket.
Figure 9: A side view of the same. The bullet exited Scott's thigh only 4 cm from the entry point and at a slight downward angle. Notice the relative paths of the bullets.
Figure 10: Notice too that if a bullet impacted the grip of the Ruger in a jeans pocket, it would not have drilled through the grip as did the supposed bullet track, but would have struck the front side of the grip and likely missed the back altogether due to the curved contour of the wearer's body. The supposed bullet track in the Ruger is exactly wrong in the vertical and horizontal axes.
This is the approximate angle any bullet fired from straight in front of the body—the angle of the bullet fired into Scott's thigh—would have had to have traveled when striking the Ruger as its grip followed the contours of Scott's body in his right front pocket.
This is the approximate angle any bullet fired from straight in front of the body—the angle of the bullet fired into Scott's thigh—would have had to have traveled when striking the Ruger as its grip followed the contours of Scott's body in his right front pocket.
Notice that the damage pattern on the pistol is quite wrong, as is the direction of the shallow groove on the magazine.
The Kimber Ultra Carry .45ACP Pistol (black frame, slide and grips) With Blackhawk #7 Inside-The-Waistband Holster:
(1) The Ultra Carry has a standard 7 round, model 1911-type magazine. Coroner's photos taken the day of the shooting indicate only a single magazine--the magazine in the weapon--and a total of six rounds (five in the magazine, one in the chamber). Scott was more than tactically wise and proficient to carry a full magazine (7 rounds) plus one chambered round, which is the proper way to carry any 1911-type pistol. Since Metro returned only that single magazine, we are expected to believe that Scott not only carried no spare magazine for his primary (actually his only) weapon, but carried only six of a possible eight rounds in that weapon. We are also expected to believe he carried a spare magazine for the Ruger--a gun he could not have removed from his pocket without great and time-consuming effort--both Ruger magazines were full, and a round was chambered.
In other words, if Metro is right, Scott did not properly load his primary handgun and did not carry a spare magazine. However, he did properly load a tiny, backup handgun, and he did carry a spare magazine for that gun—no one is really sure where--but he carried the backup in such a way that it would have been impossible to use it if necessary. Oh yes, and he carried a dual magazine pouch for the magazines of his primary weapon, but didn't carry any magazines.
(2) Based on the information previously available, I originally thought Scott carried a single spare .45 magazine, possibly in his left rear pants pocket, however, autopsy photos make clear Scott was wearing a polymer Blackhawk double .45 magazine pouch behind his left hip and over his left rear pocket--a good concealment choice considering the hot summer climate of Las Vegas. This directly suggests he was carrying at least one spare magazine—all competent semi-auto shooters do—and likely, two for a total of three magazines and 22 rounds. Only a single magazine was returned to Bill Scott, and the Blackhawk pouch was not returned. It was discovered only through photos such as figure 11. So we are once again expected to believe that Scott carried too little ammunition in his .45 and no spare magazine-- despite carrying a polymer double magazine pouch for that .45--but carried a .380 backup pistol, fully and properly loaded, with a spare magazine. Lest anyone raise the issue, Scott did have more than two spare .45 magazines and a substantial quantity of .45 ACP ammunition.
Figure 11: The Blackhawk magazine pouch as it appeared at the autopsy on Scott's belt over his left rear pocket. The autopsy depicted only one magazine and six rounds with the .45 handgun.
Figure 12: The Kimber's holster is made with a synthetic suede-like surface that tends to stay in place against skin and clothing, helping to prevent the holster from being pulled out with the handgun when the gun is drawn.
(3) It would have been virtually impossible for Erik Scott to have drawn his handgun and pointed it at Off. Mosher in less than two seconds. The fastest human beings can process a hostile action and make a physical response in about ¼ second, but most are much slower. Scott's holster had a feature that would have ensured he could not remove the holster and handgun in less than two seconds. Most competent police officers, on the range, under no deadly threat, cannot draw and accurately fire a handgun from a duty holster in even two seconds. Inside-the-waistband holsters are even slower.
Figure 13 illustrates the specially designed belt catch that prevents the holster being lifted off the belt when the handgun is drawn. In order to remove the holster, one must, at the least, pull and hold the catch outward to clear the belt. Under most circumstances, one must also hold down the clothing and/or belt to ensure the holster is smoothly removed. No one practices simultaneously quickly removing the holster and handgun--it's simply not necessary.
The Search Of Scott's Home:
There was no need to search Scott's home. It was far removed from the Costco, and was not in any way involved in the shooting. There was no possibility of any evidence of a crime there. Therefore the police had no reason to be there. They did not seek a warrant, which if legitimate would have taken much less time than they spent trying to get the permission of a relative, a relative who, under Nevada law, had no authority to give such permission, just as Nevada law specifically prohibited the Public Administrator from searching Scott's home. The only person--under Nevada Law--who had authority to allow them entry was Samantha Sterner, who repeatedly denied them entry. They had to pretend that she did not exist and so, ignored her and locked her out of her own home. There are, therefore, questions that must be asked and answered:
(1) Why didn't they get a warrant? They had no grounds. In order to secure a warrant, they would have necessarily committed perjury--in writing--on a document--an affidavit--under the sole control of the courts. They would also have had to falsify the return, a second perjury count. They could not be sure they could control the content and disposition of those documents; they could not be sure they could control the judge and court personnel who would see the documents; the paper trail would have been too great and too obvious.
(2) Why did they need to search Scott's home? There were two reasons: First, to find and seize the Ruger to make their narrative work. Second, to gather intelligence on Scott, in the hope of finding something illegal or anything they could use against him to damage his character, such as the kinds of medication he was using. Metro often does this, as illustrated by the case of Metro Sgt. Darrin Densley (Update 10). In that case, Sgt. Densley, with no justification whatsoever, fired at a young man seated in his vehicle, miraculously striking the very top of the car door, narrowly missing the young man. Rather than apologize, the police illegally searched his car and apartment and found nothing. They arrested him for interfering with police; the charge was quickly dismissed and Densley was ruled justified in nearly killing the young man for no reason.
When Metro and Steve Grodin of the Public Administrator's office searched Scott's home without cause, a warrant or legal justification, they took a small handful of guns, a few watches and other items, including a West Point ceremonial saber mounted in a shadow box. They obviously did this to maintain the fiction that they were merely protecting Scott's property.
If so, they were very poor protectors indeed. They missed several far more expensive watches than they took, several very expensive rifles under Scott's bed, and a variety of other obvious and expensive items, including one item not reported before now:
Figure 14: H&K USP Tactical Handgun, .45 ACP, Serial #25-115836
Scott kept this expensive handgun (manufacturer's suggested retail price $1301.00) in the cushions of his living room couch. His home was on a golf course and there had been home invasions in the neighborhood where criminals broke in through glass doors like those Scott had in his living room. It too was present when Scott left his home for the last time and missing when Metro and the Public Administrator were done. The H&K and Ruger do not appear on official documents as having been taken from Scott's home, but the H&K is listed on Scott's concealed carry permit. He was carrying it in his wallet at the time of his death.
In order for Metro's story to work, two essential assertions must be true: (1) Scott must have pointed his .45 Kimber Ultra Carry—in its holster—at Mosher and dropped it at the scene when he was shot, and (2) Scott must have been carrying the Ruger in his right front pocket, which pistol was shot by the bullet striking his thigh, was not found by Mosher, and was found by EMT Chris Thorpe in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. If either of these assertions is false, Metro's entire story of the Scott shooting falls apart and inescapably reveals that the officers had no justification to shoot and kill Erik Scott.
We now know that Scott was not carrying the Ruger. Samantha Sterner is certain that he never carried that gun, and never carried two guns simultaneously. She is certain it was on the nightstand by their bed when they left that morning and missing when she returned a day later. Metro changed the locks and refused to give her the key to her own home; she had to get it from Kevin Scott--who got it from the Public Administrator's Office--when he arrived from out of state the next day. Metro obviously needed to pretend that Sterner--who shared responsibility for the home with Scott and had her own key--did not exist so her refusal to allow them to search could be ignored, and as a shaky means of justifying the search specifically prohibited by Nevada law.
We also know that it is unusual for Metro officers to accompany employees of the Public Administrator's Office in their duties. The PA's office has authority to secure property only when there are no relatives or no one else actually living in a given home. Enforcement of criminal laws is not their business any more than securing property in the administrative sense is the business of Metro. Officers might accompany officials of other agencies if danger is expected, but that was certainly not the case with Scott's home, and no claim of potential danger has ever been made by Metro or by Grodin who treated the matter as a routine case of protecting property.
We know that the Ruger and its magazines and holster had no blood traces, which is impossible if they had been in Scott's blood-soaked pocket. We know that it is physically impossible to fit the Ruger into a jeans pocket with Scott's thick wallet, which was drenched in blood and unquestionably in that pocket. Scott wore his jeans reasonably tight, not teenager tight, but properly fitted.
UPDATE 1: 08-09-12, 0815 CST: How could it be possible that EMTs could have found and removed Scott’s wallet from his right front pocket before he was placed in an ambulance and taken to the hospital–which we know without any doubt occurred—without also finding the Ruger Metro claims was in the pocket? If the Ruger was there, it would have been on top of the wallet as Scott lay, face up, impossible to miss by sight or touch for anyone dipping a hand into the pocket to remove the wallet. Obviously that would not have been possible. The Ruger was never there.
We know that even if the Ruger was in Scott's pocket, it could not possibly have been hit by the bullet that penetrated his thigh. Not only was the grip far too high on Scott's body, the angle of damage on the handgun was exactly the wrong direction in two separate axes.
UPDATE 2: 08-09-12, 0815 CST: Any bullet passing through the Ruger must have also struck Scott’s wallet; the Ruger is actually about the size of a standard wallet. However, the wallet was untouched by any bullet, and undamaged by any flying plastic debris. In addition, the wallet was so thick that if a bullet did strike it, it would be very likely to have stopped it, preventing it from fully penetrating Scott’s thigh.
We know that it would have been absolutely impossible for the Ruger to have been in Scott's right rear pocket--or any other pocket--if Metro's tale of bullet damage to the Ruger is true. It was Scott's outer right thigh, at about mid-thigh level--that was struck and penetrated--on a downward angle--by Mosher's bullet. That was the only bullet that fully penetrated Scott's body, hence the only bullet that could have in any way damaged anything in one of Scott's pockets, and that bullet was nowhere near any of Scott's pockets.
Metro's forensic report written by "D. Angel Moses" contains this notation:
...in the right front pocket of the jeans in item 8 [the jeans] were small pieces of black plastic. These pieces are similar to the plastic frame/grip of the Ruger pistol.
However, there were no photographs of these pieces of plastic and no further description. How many pieces? What sizes? In addition, there is no indication that these pieces of plastic were ever entered into evidence. Further, the autopsy report, in describing the wound in Scott's thigh makes no mention at all of plastic pieces or residue, and describes the wound as being:
...without significant up/down deviation.
Autopsy photographs of the wound clearly indicate an obvious up/down deviation. The bullet exited Scott's thigh lower than it entered, which one would expect of a bullet fired by someone standing directly in front of Scott and shooting at a downward angle. In addition, those photographs--and x-rays--show no evidence of plastic particles or residue.
All of this is significant. We know that it was impossible for the Ruger--even if it was in Scott's pocket--to have been hit by the bullet. However, it would not be hard to damage the Ruger, collect some of the debris, and put it in Scott's pocket to be later found by a forensic technician. The forensic examination was done much later than the autopsy. It is likely that the debris seen by the forensic technician--if one can trust anything from Metro--was placed in the pocket after the autopsy, for photos of the Ruger at the autopsy do show the same damage depicted here (except for the groove on the Ruger magazine). If the bullet that struck Scott's thigh hit the Ruger first, one would expect plastic debris in the wound, perhaps even lodged in the cavity of the bullet itself, which was recovered on the pavement at Costco, but there was no mention of such debris in, on or around the wound or on the bullet or in x-rays. And there was no forensic analysis of the plastic particles to prove that they came from the Ruger. Obviously, Metro considered a mention of their presence sufficient and did not bother with the normal forensic procedures necessary to unquestionably link the plastic--if it actually existed--to the Ruger.
We know that the magazine pouch Scott was wearing was sized for standard .45 ACP magazines. If Scott was carrying a single spare Ruger magazine, it would have been far too small for the pouch, rattling, very hard to acquire and draw and prone to falling out. He could have put the magazine in his left rear pocket, but why would Scott carry a double polymer .45 pouch if he was carrying no spare .45 magazines and only a single Ruger .380 backup magazine? Obviously, he would not.
Remember that Thorpe wrote "clip found to left pocket." He did not write "clip found in left rear pocket," or "clip found in right rear pocket," and he did not in any way identify that "clip." It is therefore not at all outside the realm of possibility that the "clip"--or clips--were indeed "...to left pocket," in that they were in the magazine pouch directly over Scott's left rear pocket.
Keep in mind that Erik Scott was tactically trained and proficient. He owned only expensive, professional grade firearms, plentiful ammunition and professional accessories. If he was carrying a double mag pouch for .45 magazines, it strains credibility to suggest he would not be carrying at least one spare .45 magazine.
Remember too that in the inquest, EMT Thorpe who found the gun on Scott was not shown either weapon and asked to identify them. This is a fundamental, rookie prosecutor mistake. Anyone finding an important piece of evidence such as the handgun that makes Metro's case possible--or exposes it as fraudulent--must be asked to positively identify the weapon he found. He was not, I suspect, because Metro could not be sure he'd identify the right weapon and he could not be counted on to confirm damage on the weapon as the Kimber he found was certainly not damaged. Remember too that the Kimber was all black, and the Ruger had a black plastic frame and stainless steel slide. What if Thorpe said "the gun I found was all black?" Those in the courtroom for the inquest noted Thorpe was very nervous indeed.
This also raises one other possibility. Keep in mind that I do not have conclusive evidence to prove this--it is only a possibility--but it well explains why Thorpe was not shown the handguns and asked to identify them. It is possible that Thorpe did not find the Kimber .45 that day, but one of the private sector AMR EMTs in the private sector ambulance that transported Scott did. However, as a Clark County employee, Thorpe would logically be much more susceptible to being "persuaded" to support the Metro narrative. This would surely account for the "oversight" of not having the man that "found" the fateful handgun identify the handgun he "found." Thorpe could not identify a gun he never saw or handled, which also accounts for the complete lack of a description of the handgun--and magazine ("clip") in his report, and it would surely account for his obvious and remarkable nervousness in the inquest. Remember that when the jury wanted to see the handguns later in the inquest, the prosecutor claimed it would be too difficult to bring them back to the courtroom--sheer nonsense--and the request was dropped.
There can be no doubt: Scott was not carrying the Ruger on July 10, 2010. I was able to examine the Ruger first hand. I do not believe it was struck by a bullet. The damage appears to have been done by the impact—perhaps multiple impacts--of some kind of tool, which would explain the shallow groove in the magazine that was not present when the autopsy photographs were taken. Perhaps someone thought the magazine should also be damaged, but thought better of it after inflicting the shallow groove, which in any case was in the wrong direction, or perhaps they were merely clumsy in inflicting the damage. And remember that the angles of damage are precisely wrong in the horizontal and vertical axes. They do not account for the downward path of the actual bullet, and they do not account for the actual position of the weapon inside the pocket, if it was actually there, which we now know it was not.
Can I be absolutely certain the weapon was not shot? No, I can't. Unfortunately I don't have the specialized equipment, including several Ruger frames, necessary to conduct forensic testing. But even if the Ruger was damaged by a gunshot, that shot did not occur while the handgun was in Erik Scott's pocket on July 10, 2010.
If Scott was not carrying the Ruger, what does that mean for the rest of Metro's story? That means that the only gun EMT Thorpe--or anyone--could have found—"weapon found to right pocket"—was Scott's .45 Kimber Ultra Carry, which was indeed in his waistband directly behind his right rear pocket. He did not specifically identify the weapon in his report despite the fact that even if he was completely unschooled in firearm terms and types, each weapon bears the name of it's manufacturer, it's model and it's caliber. All he needed to do to accurately describe it, down to the serial number, was simply look at it, or ask the officer in the ambulance to look at it and give him the information.
This means that Scott could not possibly have drawn his .45 in its holster, pointed it at Mosher, been shot, and dropped it at the scene. Unless Metro wants to claim that Scott was carrying a third handgun, the only gun left--indeed, the only gun Scott carried that day--was the .45 which must have remained in his waistband in its holster and was missed by Mosher whose interview account of his actions is one of the most confusing and pathetic performances I've ever seen by a police officer. Take the link to his interview and see for yourself. I'll provide information in upcoming updates that demonstrates that virtually all of the most credible witnesses saw no firearm on the ground, particularly those that actually looked for one, and virtually all of the others who thought they saw something, saw only something that was black and might have looked like a firearm, or a gun rug or something like that.
And what of Scott's .45 magazines and missing ammunition? Since EMT Chris Thorpe wrote "found clip to left pocket," and made no mention of Scott's polymer double magazine pouch, that limited Metro to only one spare magazine, the magazine with the Ruger. That meant any .45 magazines Scott was carrying in his Blackhawk polymer magazine pouch had to disappear. The two rounds missing from Scott's .45? This is only an educated guess, but I suspect they were removed as insurance early on, in case it was somehow necessary for Scott to have fired at Mosher. There is no mention in the autopsy or forensic reports of more than six rounds.
But what about the autopsy photos of the magazine pouch? How could Metro have allowed that to be photographed, yet pretended it didn't exist, refusing to return it to Bill Scott and ignoring all it implies? It's entirely possible they overlooked the photos, or simply forgot about the pouch. It's also possible they didn't care. I'll explain in more detail shortly.
There was unquestionably one black item on the ground that day: Scott's Blackberry, which he habitually carried in his right hand. Scott was an energetic, always on call businessman who was constantly using his Blackberry. He did not carry it in a pocket or wear a holder for it. It was the only thing in either of Scott's hands when he was confronted by Mosher and the only possession of Scott's on the ground near his body after he was shot.
The Scott family has Scott's phone records, which reveal he sent several e-mails and text messages while shopping at Costco--hardly the acts of a deranged, drug-addled madman. In fact, seconds before abandoning his shopping cart and walking out of the Costco, Scott had been typing a text message. There is no doubt his Blackberry--which Metro tried repeatedly--without success or legal authority--to crack, was in his right hand when he was shot, and thereby dropped to the pavement as he fell, mortally wounded.
If I am correct, what does this mean? How could a major metropolitan police department so clumsy screw up evidence? How could they so badly and obviously fail to construct a plausible story? Metro has, for decades, brutalized, even killed a great many citizens under highly suspicious circumstances, and to date in the modern era, not a single officer has been charged with a crime. Even so, Metro is constantly paying out substantial settlements, but virtually never disciplining or firing officers.
If I am correct, Metro is also guilty of a variety of crimes in this case, arguably including falsifying multiple official documents, tampering with witnesses, conspiracy, perjury and subordination of perjury, burglary and other offenses. I don't suspect the Clark County Prosecutor would be interested in following up on these issues.
I suspect that Metro is so used to getting away with any outrage for so long, they no longer feel the need to construct plausible scenarios. Their delaying and obfuscating tactics have served them well, so well their institutional and individual arrogance has convinced them they are untouchable. To a large extent, that has been true. But perhaps with the hope of a new presidential administration, the kind of honest, professional federal investigation necessary to begin to make a dent in the corruption that everyone knows is Las Vegas, might have a chance.
I'll next focus on how Metro handled its handpicked witnesses, versus witnesses properly interviewed and not handpicked.