The Unlawful Use of Force
The recent surge of Use of Force cases presented to the American public through the media has been twisted and contorted to the point where the average reader or viewer would be led to believe that the matter at hand is either politically or racially related. Hate mongers such as Al Sharpton, Jerimiah Wright or anyone from the ACLU thrive from the opportunity to latch on to the next case that pops up. For sure there is a problem across the country when it comes to the lawful and proportionate use of force and in many cases excessive force used on citizens from authorities. Likewise the problem has less to do with the color of the subject’s skin or political affiliation than it does the ignorance, negligence and incompetence of the authorities themselves.
Now one might ask themselves what gives this writer the audacity to assert such claims. For nearly twenty years one has been a member of the profession of arms and has worked this field in several capacities from military of various levels to security and private protection of citizens, Diplomatic Security and the field of fugitive recovery. One might also add that they have trained, overseen training or developed training for these fields as well. The profession of arms is more diverse and complex than one might think. It covers a wide range of fields and skill sets.
The skill sets range through the following:
· Legal knowledge and understanding the laws and powers of detention and arrest
· Interpersonal Skills
· Investigative Skills
· Communication Equipment operation skills
· Unarmed Defense Skills
· Less lethal weaponry training
· The ability to apprehend and restrain a cooperative and hostile subject
· The skills required to safely transport a subject in custody
· Basic First Aid
· Interview and Report Writing abilities
These are just a few of the many skill sets required among the entire range of the profession of arms. These fields are generally broken down into the following basic fields:
· Police/ Law Enforcement
· Security (Corporate or Private)
As one who has navigated this profession for nearly twenty years, it pains me to see the reports of “Cops gone wild”, overzealous egotistical security guards or military members acting as if they are held to no repercussion for their actions. Perhaps one is angered so vehemently because not only has one given one-hundred percent effort throughout the years to maintain a good standing and reputation in the industry, but also because I am a citizen as well. This is The Fort Worth Libertarian Examiner. That suggests one’s Libertarian point of view meaning maximum liberty to the individual. Further this column expresses Constitutional Libertarianism meaning that opinions expressed herein are a reflection of the Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights. This is the law of the land. Therefore when one sees that the authorities have overstepped their bounds in any way shape or form, particularly as it pertains to the violation of the Constitution, this writer takes it seriously.
Most recently this writer was made aware of a case that began some time back. The case took place in October 2012, at a Bellagio Casino in Nevada where the subject (let’s call him Bob for purposes of security) was in attendance at one of the depos. It was an uncharacteristically chilly evening and our subject “Bob” was wearing a long sleeved hoodie. Bob was a regular who played Poker there and visited frequently over a six year period dating back to 2006. Each time he has visited he has lawfully carried his sidearm as per the Nevada State statute for legal concealed carry.On top of being a concealed carry permit holder In fact, Bob himself is a former member of an elite Special Operations Unit.
The dilemma that Bob has found himself in has stretched for nearly three years and pertains to an excessive and quite possibly unlawful use of force against him by the security staff at the Bellagio. On that fateful Thursday evening in October 2012, Bob while visiting the casino he had requested to speak to the manager of the particular venue which he was being served in regard to a service matter when he was instead approached by the security staff of the Bellagio. When the security staff had approached Bob requesting identification; our subject slightly confused at why the concession manager would request his identification asked the security staff member if he was in fact the concessions manager. The security staff member explained that he was not the management but failed to identify himself as part of the security staff. Bob; according to the sworn deposition he made in 2013 asked the staff member to identify himself prior to showing identification.
This is when the staff member proceeded to tell him that he was on private property and that it was the law for him to submit his photo identification which is completely untrue. The point here being the security staff member failed to identify himself prior to making his request to the subject (Bob). It was at this point where an exchange in words took place regarding the staff member’s statement about the requirement to submit to the color of authority; particularly under the pretense that said authority did not identify themselves. As this writer is an armed security and protection professional it is the unspoken industry standard to identify oneself to a potential threat subject if at all possible particularly when one makes a request to them to submit to authority (Identification, hands in the air, get on the ground …etc.).
After an exchange in words Bob as it is clearly depicted in the surveillance video (The person wearing the yellow hooded sweat shirt) does in fact present his identification to the staff member. Interestingly enough our subject Bob is being accused by Bellagio security of refusing to give up identification and in fact claims that at some point Bob even throws his picture ID at the chest of security personnel. However even in Mr. Nicholas Pedroza’s (Bellagio Security staff member) sworn deposition he states that Bob handed him his identification, He then later in the deposition, confirms this when asked by our subject’s attorney. The following has been taken with permission from our subject Bob’s sworn deposition given in a 2013 preliminary hearing.
“Well, he had stated that it was private property and that I had to show it to him, which is another thing along the lines of him telling me it’s private property, that he works there.· I don’t — again, I don’t think some random person would do that. · · · · · ·And we had an exchange back and forth on the grounds of me just producing ID for no reason. I asked him why. I said, Are you the guy — the beverage manager? You know, I used his name at the time· · · · · ·And he said, No.· But you have to give me your ID. · · · · · · ·And I said, You know, I — I don’t believe that’s the case. I said, You’re not even telling me who you are or why I have to give this. Again, along those lines, from my memory. And that was it. We — we went back and forth. · · · · · ·And I just — I ended up obliging him and said, Fine. I’ll give you my ID. Even though I don’t believe that there’s any legal requirement for me just to produce ID to any random person who isn’t a law enforcement officer.”
According to Nevada statute for Stop and Identify; sworn officers of the law may stop and temporarily detain a subject requiring them to identify themselves based on probable cause. This probable cause is referring to the likelihood of the subject potentially committing a felony or the reasonable suspicion that they have just committed a serious crime. Sworn Peace Officers are permitted to detain said individuals for a reasonable time limit in order to investigate the circumstances surrounding said reasonable suspicion; not to exceed 60 minutes. The requirement to identify can be as much as a subject’s choice to disclose their name. This statute does extend to Gaming Licensees, employees, officers and agents of the Gaming Licensee. The statute that covers this law can be examined here NRS 171.123.
Private citizens may also make arrests according to Nevada State Regulation NRS 171.126. The stipulations behind this regulation require that, there must be a public offense committed either directly in front of the arrestor or they must have knowledge to reasonably believe that a felony has been committed by the arrestee. This brings about the need to clearly define two terms; (Reasonable Suspicion) and (Probable Cause). Both of these terms with later be discussed in this article.
The featured video depicts Bob standing near the bar speaking with at least two other gentlemen. After just over two minutes Bob moves to another bar and speaks with the bar tender behind the bar. It should be noted that the surveillance camera operator zooms in on Bob’s belt line where it appears that there is the silhouette of an object showing beneath the sweatshirt off the right side near the belt line. The fact that the camera zooms in on our subject suggests that Bob was the subject of interest for the security staff. The fact that the camera further zoomed in on Bob’s belt line further indicates that the camera operator suspected Bob of concealing some sort of weapon, possibly a firearm.
Again, Bob is a Nevada State certified and licensed Concealed Carry Permit holder. According to the Nevada State regulation Nevada is an open carry state with the only places being off limits to carry are school zones and public areas and facilities such as court houses and the likes. Private establishment owners and agents of the establishments may also ask that one leave the premises or that they exclude the carry of firearms while on the premises. The Nevada statute for the carry of firearms can be reviewed here NRS 202.3673 . Here is a Nevada State Concealed Carry PDF. In fact the Bellagio in Nevada does not have signs that exclude the lawful concealed carry of a firearm by a licensed permit holder. Therefore if Bob was being profiled over his suspected carry of a firearm, Bob was not in violation of any law. The video clearly depicts Bob as just another law abiding citizen enjoying himself with friends at a private establishment. The video does not indicate in any way shape or form that Bob was part of any sort of suspicious activity. As a security Professional and Instructor for various classified programs the fact that an individual is carrying a firearm in an area where it is authorized is not reason alone to interrogate or detain the subject. Even the Supreme Court has solidified the law in that the fact that a subject is carrying or in possession of a firearm does not consist of having established probable cause.
As one watches the surveillance video at approximately three minutes and forty-nine seconds they can see that Bob is approached from his left rear by another large, bald, obese male wearing a suit. At this point Bob belays his posture in such a manner where as to not give his back to the individuals and to where he may effectively engage both individuals in conversation. From a security perspective it is clear that at this point the staff members have shown intention to move to what is called a tactical position and it appears that they may be setting Bob up to be apprehended. The staff members continue to speak with Bob while also passive-aggressively attempting to maneuver around him to a point of tactical advantage. At approximately four minutes and eight seconds Bob pulls out hand full of what appears to be cards and presents the identification to the staff members.
Once Bob presents the identification to the shorter of the two bald, overweight males, the shorter male continues speaking to our subject. At the same time the larger more obese male begins to engage Bob as the shorter overweight male continues to maneuver to the left rear of Bob. Even at this point without hearing the audio a casual observer may not detect that either of these two gentlemen are security professionals other than their aggressive demeanor toward the subject (Bob). At four minutes and sixteen seconds Bob Flinches as if in startle response due to an unwanted assault against him from Bellagio staff. At approximately four minutes and eighteen seconds Bob is bum rushed by the two gentlemen in black suits from the Bellagio staff. At four minutes and twenty-one seconds Bob is attacked from the rear by two more large obese men in red suit jackets.
What happens to Bob’s firearm at this point of the surveillance video is not clear up to this point. Bob who appeared complicit up to this point is apprehended by a staff member controlling each arm and two other staff members with hands on him to his rear. Based on the totality of circumstances up this point of the surveillance video around the (4:34) mark the level of force used by staff members is disproportionate to the situation at hand. However based on the actions from the Bellagio staff it does appear that the staff was rather itching to use force on any subject that might give them the excuse.
Below is a timeline of events based on the surveillance video surrounding the disproportionate use of force used by Bellagio Security staff against our subject Bob.
· (0:00) Surveillance camera is focuses on Bob as he approaches a group of men at a bar
· (1:39) Surveillance camera zooms in on Bob’s belt line
· (2:32) Bob approaches the bar tender of second bar
· (2:47) Bob is approached by first Bellagio Staff Member in Black Suit
· (3:49) Bob is approached by second Bellagio Staff member in Black Suit
· (4:05) Bob presents identification to Bellagio staff as requested
· (4:16) The obese staff member on the right Snatches the subject’s wrist. Subject startle response flinches
· (4:18) Bob is rushed by the first two Bellagio staff members in black suits
· (4:21) Bob is attacked by two more Bellagio staff members in Red Suit jackets
· (4:34) Bob is placed under soft hands use of force by four much larger Bellagio staff members
· (4:35)Bob appears to be lifted off the ground by is outreached and extended arms. Appears to express pain to the attackers however he still appears to comply within the limits of the pain being inflicted
· (4:43) Bellagio staff members jerk subject to the right and begin applying “hard hands” pain compliance Noted at this point Bob is begins unconsciously resisting the use of unjustified pain compliance used against him
· (4:46) The most obese and largest member of the staff involved applies a potentially dangerous, lethal head and neck manipulation against Bob as the other three much larger members apply the full weight of their bodies against the much smaller Bob. (Appears that they are attempting to slam his face into the ground)
· (4:47) Bob is slammed face down on the hard surface floor of the Bellagio by four staff members
· (4:49) It appears that staff members begin striking Bob while he is down and a fifth Staff member wearing a black suit jacket approaches to assist the first four.
· (4:53) The largest most obese member of the staff wearing a red jacket contorts Bob’s arm to the rear and appears to begin applying restraints. Bob does not appear to resist in any way. All members are applying weight to Bob.
· (4:57) Two staff members appear to be driving their knees into the body of Bob not as a pain compliance but as an application of pain for unjust reasons
· (5:16) Bob appears to involuntarily resist the application of pain techniques being used against him. This is a natural response to the application of pain on any subject.
· (5:33) A sixth Bellagio Staff member jumps into the mix as other members begin to apply manipulations to the head, neck, arm, knee and ankle joints of Bob.
· (5:37) The largest most obese member of the staff wearing the red jacket appeared to apply a substantial level of dynamic force to the head and neck area of Bob with his forearms or possibly elbows. (Note this is lethal force)
· (5:43) A seventh staff member wearing a red jacket joins in the disproportionate use of force against Bob
· (5:49) One of the members wearing a red suit coat appears to deliver a strike to the back of Bob. (Appears that the staff is attempting to intentionally crowd over Bob to hide the application of force from surveillance cameras)
· (5:51) Another staff member wearing red suit jacket appears to execute a dynamic blow to the back of Bob.
· (6:00) The staff member standing in direct line of the camera view wearing the red suit coat pulls out what appears to be a firearm from the subject’s belt line.
· (6:11) One of the staff members in a red jacket continues to apply torque to subject’s knee and ankle joints while it appears 4 others are applying force of weight on the back, rib , neck and head areas with forearms, knees and elbows as fulcrums
· (6:53) One of the larger more obese staff members wearing red jacket appears to have force of weight directly on the head and neck of Bob
· (6:56) Staff members hoist subject up by restraints and head/ neck via some version of the guillotine choke hold
· (7:22) Three staff members in red jackets have subject (Bob) on his feet pulling him in 3 separate directions as a staff member in the front watches.
· (7:28) staff members drag subject backward by the restraints
· (7:40) Staff members stop in center of walkway for what appears to be a break from physical exertion. Subject (Bob) head hangs as if injured or delirious
· (7:54) the group is approached again from bald tubby male in black suit appears to give the men wearing red suits some sort of direction.
· (7:58) The men wearing red suits again begin dragging the subject by what appears to be his restraints
· (8:02) It appears that the staff members applying upward pressure on the subject’s restraints are hampering the subject’s ability to comply by forcing his head forward and in a downward direction.
· (8:06) Surveillance cameras make it exceptionally clear that the type of complex torque applied to the subject’s restraints make it near impossible for him to comply and are forcing his head to the ground while they continue lifting and dragging him by his restraints
· (8:13) subject appears to make some attempt at balancing himself but the staff members are dragging him forward too quickly by his restraints.
· (8:19) Subject trips, stumbles or collapses to his knees and the staff continues to drag him by the restraints while on his knees.
· (8:24) Shorter, tubby, bald male wearing black suit steps forward and appears to manipulate the head of the downed subject (Bob) then appears to lift him by choking him with the hood of his sweatshirt
· (8:31) After taking approximately 4 steps the man choking and dragging Bob by his hood lets go of the hood.
· (8:34) Staff members are transporting subject by his restraints and feet
· (8:58) Staff members drop the subject to the floor in need of a break.
· (9:04) Subject is laying on the floor, twitches and writhes appears incoherent. Staff member appears to check on him by prodding at him.
· (9:09) Two staff members provide a wheel chair
· (9:10) Subject is again hoisted by his restraints and placed into the wheel chair
· (9:17) Due to the staff members torquing on the arms, shoulders and restraints in an upward direction at the same time they are trying to seat the subject backward into the wheel chair the subject demonstrates a facial expression and shuttering of the head and neck that indicates he is expressing pain to the staff. this continues for at least 3 seconds to (9:20)
· (9:30) Staff transports subject laying on his back with pressure on his restraints in the wheelchair
· (9:42) Bob appears to be trying to say something to the staff. The staff appears to ignore his remarks
· (10:57) Subject appears to be in an interview room or office and continues to attempt to communicate with the staff again they appear to ignore his remarks
· (11.01) The subject is lifted by his shirt collar and belt from the wheel chair to a bench seat
· (11:12) Staff members appear to be manipulating the subject’s restraints
· (11:19) Bob is finally able to sit up right on the bench seat
· (11:20) Subject (Bob) Writhes backward with mouth open wide expressing what appears to be pain. The staff appears to ignore his utterances
· (11:40) All other staff clears the room, staff member in black suit lays out what appears to be the confiscated affects of Bob on a desk
· (11:55) Camera zooms in on Bob’s Unloaded Pistol, magazine and Concealed Carry Identification card
· (19:35) There appears to be bruising on the face and left eye of Bob.
The video being used to demonstrate the activities described in this article stops at 11:50, however the actual full length video is over 21 minutes. Based only from what one can see on the video and the actions of the so called security staff at the Bellagio, one has to question the intellectual ability, competence and overall professionalism of the staff members that are hired there. From the perspective of a professional protective security specialist and as a Chief Instructor of one of few firms approved to teach High Threat Diplomatic Security Methods, techniques and Procedures; one can only say that not one member of this group has displayed the professionalism or the competence required to meet even the most basic of course curriculum. They appeared from the start to have little command and control, organized and rehearsed Standard Operating Procedures and no regard for the proportionate, escalation and use of force or even the safety and well being of the subject in custody. Simply put this was just another band of thugs acting as if they are unaccountable for their actions.
The question in a case like this is where to begin? Let’s start with what we know. This is a situation where the subject, Bob was not breaking any law and in fact simply wanted to speak with a representative from the organization regarding a service matter. Much like other cases in recent history where Casino patrons make a complaint or voice discontent with service or staff which results in on camera beatings such as the Binns’ case where a man’s entire family was roughed up by Harrahs casino security and was caught on tape. Another case is the case where a petite Registered Nurse from Metuchen New Jersey was beaten by the Harrahs security staff while attending a bachelorette party. The fact is that in America we are facing a society where those charged with protecting are all too often acting irresponsibly and as if they are above the law. From police to security.
Bob was attending this casino as he had for nearly 6 years. He was armed as it is allowed and there is no statute or regulation against it either imposed by the state of Nevada or the establishment itself. Bob was drinking, but there is no crime in the state of Nevada that says one may not consume alcohol while carrying concealed. The Bellagio has no stipulation against this either, or at least they did not as far back as October 2012. Bob was expecting to speak to a concessions manager and was instead engaged by hotel security staff. The security staff member did not according to Bob’s deposition identify himself as security and demanded that Bob provide him with identification or be trespassed…. The state’s stop and identify regulation only requires that one identify themselves by name and does not require state issued or photograph ID. Yet the Bellagio staff member insisted upon it and stated to Bob that it was law.
What follows can be seen on the surveillance video and is highlighted by the minute in this article. As a professional in the field of arms and protection there are a couple of things required before one attempts to make a detention. The first part is knowing the difference between a detention and an arrest. In this case although the staff may be allowed to make a detention according to the position of their authority, the act of detaining Bob itself may not necessarily stand up to the scrutiny that should be required of such actions. When one makes a detention or an arrest they should weigh their act very heavily because at the end of the day they are denying one of their liberty and that is a serious matter.
To Detain – Is to hold one in the care of custody for reasonable suspicion of a crime. The requirements for this vary from state to state and differ from federal programs to civil programs. According to Nevada State statute Gaming Licensees or the agents thereof may detain a subject under reasonable suspicion of the commitment of a felony crime or a crime where the threat of serious bodily injury is present.
To Arrest – Is to hold one in custody under the color of authority, and in most cases probable cause is a necessary requirement for this. Ordinarily only a sworn officer can make an arrest, however the state of Nevada does permit Citizen Arrests which again require the visible evidence or the knowledge of a felony or other crime regarding serious physical injury or death has occurred or is imminent.
Reasonable Suspicion – (pertaining to a serious crime) According to Cornell University Law School is defined as:
Reasonable suspicion is a standard used in criminal procedure. It is looser than probable cause. Reasonable suspicion is sufficient to justify brief stops and detentions, but not enough to justify a full search. When determining reasonable suspicion, courts consider the events leading up to the brief stop and a decide whether these facts, viewed from the standpoint of an objectively reasonable police officer, amount to reasonable suspicion.
Courts look at the totality of the circumstances of each case to see whether the officer has a particularized and objective basis for suspecting legal wrongdoing.
Probable Cause – (pertaining to a serious crime) According to Cornell University Law School is defined as:
Probable cause is a requirement found in the Fourth Amendment that must usually be met before police make an arrest, conduct a search, or receive a warrant. Courts usually find probable cause when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed (for an arrest) or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for a search). Under exigent circumstances, probable cause can also justify a warrant-less search or seizure. Persons arrested without a warrant are required to be brought before a competent authority shortly after the arrest for a prompt judicial determination of probable cause.
It should be noted that typically some level of investigation is done as part of the due diligence from the detaining or arresting authority. Arrests are typically made after the preliminary investigation is performed that brought about the conclusion of probable cause. (The Sheriff’s deputy that arrived on scene after the event in response to being called by the Bellagio staff… said in his deposition that his investigation consisted of taking their word for it Not what this writer considers thorough.)
Totality of Circumstances – Is a term generally associated with legal procedure and requires that the authority take in consideration the overall situation and factor several factors into the conclusion prior to arriving at the conclusion of probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. Noting that reasonable suspicion is the conclusion that any person of reasonable thinking and logical, prudent judgment might conclude regarding the act in question.
The totality of Circumstances in regard to the escalation and use of force generally includes the following equation.
Ability + Opportunity + Intent = Jeopardy
Let us further define this equation by defining each sum in the equation.
Ability – One’s physical capability to cause harm or capability to achieve a specific affect. Factors such as size, age and gender or numerical disparity all come into play when evaluating ability
Opportunity – as it relates to the use of force can be associated with relative positioning; or one’s position in direct relation to, or comparison with another. In respect to relative positioning and the use of force one may relate the following formula:
Time + Distance = Security
Intent – Can be defined as one’s will. This can be defined through various forms of intimidation
Psychological Intimidation – Examples; Presence, Face Making, Growling, Posturing etc.
Verbal Intimidation – Examples; Direct threat, cursing an individual and name calling
Physical Intimidation – Examples; Spatial Invasion, Unwanted and unwarranted touching or physical attack
When a security or law enforcement agent chooses to use force they must make a decision to use force in such a manner where the level of force is progressive and proportionate to the level of the perceived threat. Let’s examine the case with Bob. Our subject appears to be an adult male between the ages of 25 to 30 years of age. He is built with a normal stature of medium size and his posture in the surveillance footage is non threatening. However as the security camera detected Bob was lawfully carrying a concealed firearm. Note there is no state regulation prohibiting the lawful open or concealed carry on private premises in the state of Nevada. Based on the security footage Bob did not appear to be consuming an alcoholic beverage; however there is no law under the Nevada Statute which prohibits the consumption of alcohol while in possession of a firearm. There is however under NRS 202.257 a statute which says that a subject whose Blood to Alcohol Content (B.A.C) is at the level of 0.10 grams or more alcohol to 100 milliliters of blood is in violation of the law. However the same procedure to make a determination whether one may be charged for driving while intoxicated must be taken to determine whether the firearm can be confiscated. Interestingly even our police are allowed to show up for duty with a significant (B.A.C) level in some states.
Again we see that the surveillance video alone cannot determine whether Bob was under the influence of alcohol or any other impairing substance. Through his deposition, our subject does admit to having consumed at least 3 alcoholic beverages over an unknown period of time. Once more the agents on the ground should not assume anything and simply make their judgments based on the facts known at the time. With this being said the presence of alcohol and affects on behavior cannot be seen in the surveillance footage. The point being here is that if our subject does not portray himself in a threatening or belligerent manner and does not appear on the footage to have consumed or be under the influence of alcohol or foreign substance and there is no Bellagio regulation or policy against the lawful concealed carry of firearms on the premise nor is it against Nevada State Law; then what reason is our subject approached by security in the first place?
Furthermore, as we can see through the video and as Bob’s testimony corroborates, when asked for identification the subject provides it even though by law nothing more than him stating his name is required. We can also see that it is the security staff who escalated the situation. Bob’s wrist is suddenly grabbed by the security staff member to his right. Bob in a startle response immediately flinches and that is when the security staff at the Bellagio piles on to our subject. Based on Bob’s deposition he states that the Identification which he handed the staff was his state issued concealed carry photo ID. Then one of the staff had asked if he had a gun at which point he acknowledged with a yes response. Which might be when the security staff member decided to grab Bob. If this is the case then there is still no justifiable cause for the security to act in the way that they did.
The following is from the deposition of the security supervisor Mr. Pedroza where he explains his reasoning behind attacking Bob:
Q. What was the basis for physically detaining Mr. (Blank)?
A. Because he was not cooperating.
Q. Was there any other reason?
A. As far as for our safety and the safety of others.
Q. How’s that?
A. Because he had a weapon. We didn’t know what he was grabbing for.
Q. When you say “you don’t know what he was grabbing for”, what specific incident are you talking about?
A. In the baccarat lounge when he kept putting his hands in his pocket.
Q. I just want to be clear. The incident that you’re saying lead to all of this is him putting his hands in his pockets in the baccarat lounge?
To examine this further, let us compare the ability of the subject versus the security staff. Both staff members appear to outweigh Bob by a considerable amount. The subject to the right of Bob outweighs him by approximately 70 to 80 pounds or more. The guard to the left Mr. Pedroza is approximately 2 – 4 inches taller and 30 – 40 pounds heavier. At one point in the video we can see that there are seven security staff members attacking Bob putting their weight on him, twisting and contorting his limbs in separate directions. Based on Size disparity alone. Then take into consideration the fact that Bob is outnumbered initially four to one but eventually the numbers increase seven to one.
Through the depositions each of the guards are happy to exaggerate their “high levels” of training to the court appointed examiner; equally our subject Bob has a high level of training as well, but this knowledge of our subject only shows through via his deposition and not because of any level of resistance that he showed. The video depicts no resistance. However the video also depicts a debacle on the behalf of the security staff. What would take one highly trained protective security specialist a minute of interpersonal and interview skills to de-escalate and diffuse took 10 minutes for up to seven Bellagio Security staff members to gaggle through.
Examining Opportunity in this case, the advantage clearly goes to the security staff. They had the physical and psychological position of advantage on the subject from the get go. At (1:39) of the video the surveillance camera zooms in on the print of Bob’s lawfully concealed firearm. Therefore the security staff had been planning on how to approach Bob from that point. This shows as security from preplanned positions pour onto Bob as the time goes by. Conversely Bob is a highly trained armed professional whose qualification with a firearm requires that he effectively engage a man sized target within 3 yards in 2 seconds from the concealed carry.
In fact a Nevada Jury recently acquitted a man from the charges of manslaughter of unarmed trespassers. This was based solely on the threat against him. Our subject Bob was thoroughly within his right to fire his weapon in self-defense against multiple attackers, of larger size and stature in unwanted and unwarranted advance.
Clearly had our subject intended harm the security staff members would be dead as they did fall within that range that our subject is trained to engage. The security staff can be seen in the video several times prior to their assault on Bob attempting to gain the “tactical position” this is a position at which the security professional is behind and oblique to the potential threat subject so as to not be in their periphery and so they might have the first advantage of any physical engagement. Not only did the security staff grossly outnumber our subject, but they were all much larger is size and stature as well.
In regard to Intent, at no point on the surveillance footage does the subject (Bob) demonstrate a propensity for being a threat or a security concern. Interestingly enough there is nothing in Mr. Pedroza’s statements given in his court deposition where he even mentions the accountability of ability, opportunity or intent as factors for the maltreatment and injury of Bob. The reasoning was that they knew he had a firearm, that it was legal and that he had his hands in his pockets. Later on in the deposition he mentions that although the Bellagio posts no signage prohibiting the carry of a firearm on the premise, that the Bellagio has an unwritten policy that guns aren’t allowed on the premises. If this is truly the case how is the patron supposed to know without being told by the security staff first. This is also no reason to assault someone and cause permanent injury to them.
The result of this incident was that not only did our subject incur injuries to his body, face and head but because of the improper application of personal restraints and the potentially dangerous means of transporting the subject to a secure location for detention while waiting for authorities, Bob incurred serious nerve damage to the hands and wrists. This was all caused because the security staff at the Bellagio chose to assault a patron. Had this writer been the one whom the security staff assaulted there would be a number of obese bodies laying on the floor, if not from the ventilation of bullet holes then from the impact of my hands, feet, elbows and knees. The fact of the matter here is that Bob was completely cooperative and was in fact assaulted by several members of the security staff at the Bellagio. He was well within his right to use deadly force to protect himself as we can see in the footage that deadly force was used against him.
In closing the purpose of this article is not to rip the security or lack thereof at the Bellagio or Harrahs to shreds. That would be too easy. The intent of this article is to bring attention to the abuse and mistreatment of everyday citizens from security and law enforcement alike. This case proves to be an excellent study to demonstrate all of the things that should not be done, but to more importantly share the information with everyone about the factors that must be present to use any degree of force against another; regardless of position of authority. This is the first of several articles to follow in this expose of the ongoing case. This article is simply an introduction to the use and escalation of force. Citizens should be aware of their right to protect themselves as well as their rights to protection under law. The fact of the matter is that companies like Harrah’s or The Bellagio or police departments such as the one recently brought to light in South Carolina are ultimately responsible for their agents and officers. This type of behavior brings about dishonor and discredit to all in the profession.
As a bit of legal advice to readers our subject “Bob” recently discussed a lesson learned from his experience in an interview with the Fort Worth Libertarian Examiner:
“If you are asked to present ID in a property like this – simply walk away and leave the premise before they can identify you as you are not legally required to ID yourself unless you are gambling or buying drinks – otherwise leave and they cannot pos ID you to put you into a system like 300 people a month for lifetime bans.”