Black man arrested on warrant for white man in case of mistaken identity
LAS VEGAS (KVVU/Gray News) - A case of mistaken identity will cost police in Nevada $90,000 after a Black man was arrested on a warrant for a white man.
The Henderson Police Department will pay $25,000 and Las Vegas Metro Police Department $65,000 to Shane Lee Brown, who was held in custody for nearly a week for a crime he was accused of committing.
In body camera video of a traffic stop in January 2020, when the then 23-year-old was stopped for not having his headlights on, he told officers he lost his wallet and license and had outstanding traffic tickets but planned to take care of them the next morning.
“We should call and see… If he has court tomorrow, we don’t want to arrest him that would be dumb,” one Henderson officer is heard saying.
When officers ran Brown’s name, it came back with a felony warrant, which was a weapons charge with Metro.
“You got arrested for something with a weapon in Metro, at least that is what they are saying,” the officer told Brown.
Brown replied that the officers had found the wrong guy.
“I’m not a felon, I didn’t commit a felony… I was trying to plead to anyone that would listen, to let everyone know like ‘Hey, can you double check?,’” Brown told KVVU.
Shane Neal Brown, a 51-year-old white man, had a warrant out for felon in possession of a firearm. In the body cam video of the 25-year old’s arrest, Henderson officers seemed unsure if they had the right man.
“Liability in this case is black and white, literally black and white,” Brown’s attorney E. Brent Bryson said.
In the video, one of the officers asked what they should tell the jail. The second officer said to tell them he has a weapons charge.
Brown was held in jail for six days, first in Henderson and then transferred to Clark County.
“Each of those entities stepped up and acknowledged that they had made a mistake,” Bryson said.
Bryson said the $90,000 settlement is close to the max.
“In Nevada, for negligence, when you sue a governmental entity, there is a statutory cap of $100,000,” Bryson said.
Losing his freedom, and being taken away from his two children for nearly a week, is still something that has traumatized the young father.
“I almost never drive any more unless it is absolutely necessary,” Brown told KVVU.
“It is just difficult for him to put what happened to him aside, and hopefully with time he will be able to do so,” Bryson contended.
Bryson hopes cases of mistaken identity can be prevented in the future with additional training of officers.
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