Fictionalized account of son’s shooting by Metro Police cathartic for author
Bill Scott, father of Erik Scott, leaves the courtroom after a verdict in a coroner’s inquest for Erik Scott at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The jury found that the shooting of Erik Scott was justified. Scott was shot and killed by Metro Police Officers at the Summerlin Costco store on July 10.
By Joe Schoenmann (contact)
Published Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Updated 3 hours, 42 minutes ago
The book cover design for "The Permit" written by William B. Scott.
A new book by the father of Erik Scott, the 38-year-old shot to death by three Metro Police officers in July 2010, describes a corrupt power structure in Las Vegas — much of it within the police department — few care to imagine.
In "The Permit," author William Scott's fictionalized account, police here routinely dump bodies of young women into mine shafts for extra cash from the casinos.
It's so ugly that when one of the nation’s secretive three-letter agencies is enlisted by the president to cleanse the nation’s police agencies of bad cops — deemed domestic terrorists — it begins in Las Vegas.
Scott, a 66-year-old former writer for Aviation Week & Space Technology, admits the book became an outlet for the pain, still evident in his voice almost three years later, of enduring the burial of a son and what he believes was a bad shooting coverup orchestrated by Metro brass.
He is quick to add that while facts and figures about police shootings around the nation, as well as some of the technologies used by the espionage agency, are real, the characters in the book are composites of several people he has known over many years.
Even so, the book helped him deal with life without his son.
Here’s how he describes “Officer Krupa,” who fired the first shots at "Erik Steele":
• • •
Olek Krupa, a two-time killer, was one of Metro's "crazies," yet another blight on the department's seriously tarnished image. The jerk didn’t deserve to wear a Metro badge, but he was going to get away with killing an upstanding American patriot.
• • •
“It was cathartic for sure,” Scott said Wednesday by phone. “But there was a purpose to it, too — to assure the ‘cartel of corruption’ in Las Vegas that there is no escaping justice. They are incredibly smug in Vegas. Look at Captain Cover-Up, whom I will not identify, and see how cocky and smug he is on camera because they know Metro controls every officer and public official in Vegas.”
The “cartel” in the book consists of the sheriff’s department, the district attorney, the county public administrator, casino chiefs and, to some degree, the police union. Dialogue between officers is entertaining, if mostly dark. Here’s an exchange between officers involved in the Steele shooting days later:
• • •
“Hey, you look like hell, rookie!” Krupa said, smacking Malovic’s upper arm.
“Old lady holding out on ya?” Malovic shot the guy a withering glance. The comment was too close to painful truth.
“I … haven’t slept much.”
Krupa laughed, a cross between a rasp and giggle. “Awwww! Boo-hoo! Rookie got a spell of guilty conscience, and mama’s bitchin' about her darlin’ killing a perp?”
Malovic left the closet, ignoring Krupa's taunts.
“What’s keepin’ ya awake, rookie? First time ya ever shot somebody?”
Malovic crossed his arms and looked down at the pot-bellied officer. “Yeah, it is. Of course, you hosed that dude in oh-six, so no big deal. Kill once, and the next time's a piece of cake, right?”
• • •
Most of the real people from agencies mentioned in the book hadn’t heard about it when contacted earlier this week.
Sgt. John Sheahan, of Metro’s Office of Public Information, said Tuesday afternoon, “The sheriff had nothing but empathy for William Scott when (the shooting) happened; we’re not going to revisit this issue anymore or engage in a tit-for-tat.”
Chris Collins, Police Protective Association executive director, chuckled when told of the Scott's book.
“I don’t have any comment other than to say he certainly has a right to write a book,” Collins added. “If he gets some kind of solace and closure out of that, because I know he dropped his litigation because he wasn’t going to win — if this is his way of getting closure and eases the pain of his family, so be it.”
Scott dropped a civil lawsuit against Metro but one against Costco is still pending.
David Roger, who was Clark County district attorney at the time of the Erik Scott shooting and who now works for the police union, could not be reached for comment.
"The Permit" talks not only of the “Steele” shooting but includes a shooting death three weeks earlier of "Lashawn Miles," who was unarmed but shot in the head by an officer in his bathroom. In the book, both Steele and Miles were part of the federal spy agency.
In real life, three weeks before the Erik Scott shooting, a Metro officer shot to death Trevon Cole in his bathroom while flushing marijuana.
Before getting to the vengeance part of the book — some of the high-tech methods used to kill police and others, Scott writes in a beginning note, “do exist” — characters in the book lay out the reasons why rogue officers are considered terrorist threats.
It goes something like this: Bad cops erode the trust of the citizenry; when that trust erodes, the criminal element moves in, knowing people won’t call police for help. So crime grows. Now throw in a weak economy and large unemployment. Here’s how a character in the book describes what might happen next:
• • •
When the big-money honchos flush it, a hundred thousand folks will suddenly be out of work, on the streets, and royally pissed off. A spark like young Steele’s murder-by-cop, at precisely the right time and place, will blow Vegas to smither-frickin’-reens.
Metro’s killer cops will be hunted down by pickup-loads of armed-and-furious folks, and all-out war will erupt. The first casualties will be hundreds of Metro's brown-shirts, including a hell of a lot of good ones.”
• • •
Scott thinks it could happen.
“My message is, they cannot escape the fury of honest citizens and God himself; these guys are not going to get away with it,” Scott said. “You kill, you lie, you die. Now that’s not a threat to anybody. I wouldn’t want anyone to die. It is just an assurance that once citizens have had enough of their killer cops and their corrupt coverups, they will rise up and put these guys out of business.”
Sheriff Doug Gillespie reported in early January a 9 percent increase in crime in 2012 versus 2011.
Meanwhile, however, police shootings have decreased markedly in Las Vegas in just one year. After 17 Metro Police shootings resulted in 12 deaths in 2011, five police shootings resulted in four deaths in 2012.
The U.S. Justice Department also released a study of Metro in late 2012 recommending dozens of changes aimed at reducing police shootings. Before that study’s release, Metro had already begun undertaking several of the same or similar changes.
Scott said there was some interest in his book as a screenplay. He also plans to write a nonfiction book about his son’s death, which he said would prove a coverup.
He wrote the fictional account first, he said, because of an experience he had in the mid-2000s while writing for Aviation Week. At the time, various defense agency operatives were expressing their worries that in the event of war, a strike on military satellites would be devastating to U.S. defense capabilities.
Scott wrote about it in Aviation Week, but it barely registered with the nation’s powerbrokers, congressional leaders.
So he co-authored the book "Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III." In 2009, the authors wrote a followup "Counter-Space: The Next Hours of World War III." The books drew so much attention in Washington, D.C., Scott said, he was asked to address a congressional committee and later was asked to talk to people within the Central Intelligence Agency about some of the technologies at work in the books.
The experience taught Scott that “fiction is a very powerful tool for shaping perceptions.”
With such a lesson in mind, he stressed that though varying degrees of harm come to some characters in "The Permit," he doesn’t wish harm on anyone in reality; he simply wants justice.
“There are some things worse than death,” he added.
Asked what that means, Scott declined to answer.
("The Permit" is available electronically on Amazon.com and other websites; it is also going to be available in hardcover.)