Mother whose son was choked to death by officer speaks at anti-M - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Mother whose son was choked to death by officer speaks at anti-Metro film screening

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Tashii Brown-Farmer's mother spoke publicly for the first time since his death at a film screening in Las Vegas. (FOX5) Tashii Brown-Farmer's mother spoke publicly for the first time since his death at a film screening in Las Vegas. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Trinita Farmer, the mother of a man who was choked to death by an officer earlier this year, spoke publicly for the first time since her son's death at a film festival at the Paris Hotel and Casino. She attended the screening of a documentary that discussed corruption within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Officer Kenneth Lopera was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter in June for performing a rear-naked choke on Tashii Farmer-Brown resulting in his death. Police said the rear-naked choke is not a technique that's taught or approved by the department. They also said Farmer-Brown would not have been charged with a crime had he survived.

The story of Lopera's choke and arrest was one of many stories documented by the film "What Happened in Vegas." During the screening, Trinita Farmer couldn't even make it to the segment of the movie that features her son before she broke down in tears and had to leave the room. Another family member cried hysterically and left when the film showed body-camera footage of Tashii Farmer-Brown being tazed.

The film's director, Ramsey Denison, said it was painful to watch the family's reaction to the film.

"Trinita Farmer unfortunately was in the hallway crying," Denison said. "She just couldn't handle it ... one of the most disgraceful and outrageous killings in the LVMPD's disgraceful history."

"She was very reluctant to even show up," Executive Producer Randy Wiles said. "She hasn't really left her home since the incident."

Eventually, the grieving mother returned when the film ended to thank people for attending and for showing their support.

"Tashii was my heart. He was a good son, a good father, and he had a lot of dreams. They never gave him a chance," she cried. "I call on District Attorney Wolfson to reexamine the case and charge this officer appropriately."

"Those charges are probationable," Denison said. "Even if he does get convicted, he ultimately could end up in a situation where he doesn't serve any time. I think there's an illusion of accountability ... That officer should have been charged with murder."

Denison said he's not a "cop hater." He went so far as to say that he thinks the vast majority of LVMPD officers are good at what they do. Instead, he blamed Sheriff Joe Lombardo and ex-Sheriff Doug Gillespie for letting "bad cops" off the hook. 

"I believe most killings are justified, and I believe there has been many cases where the LVMPD showed the footage, did the press conference, and it was completely justified," he said. "I just hope the Las Vegas public can finally start holding their wildly corrupt police department accountable for their crimes."

Aside from Tashii Farmer-Brown's case, the film focuses on the deaths of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, and Stanley Gibson.

"(Lombardo) had an election coming up. He knew (the choke) was caught on video. He knew it happened in a casino, so he couldn't just make that video disappear," Denison said. "I hope the LVMPD makes an example of (Lopera) and starts holding some of these other rogue cops accountable."

Denison said he decided to create the film after his own case with Metro was swept under the rug. The long-time television editor with many credits to his name was on vacation in Las Vegas when he said he witnessed police brutality and called 911 to report it. Then he said the officers found out and started beating and arresting him as a form of retaliation.

"These officers were torturing this guy and laughing at him and having a good time doing it," Denison said. "One of them stomps on my head with a boot, which you can see in my mugshot ... It was awful. It was two minutes of not being able to breathe."

Denison said he filed an internal affairs complaint, but he couldn't prove that he was telling the truth because surveillance video in the area mysteriously disappeared the night of the arrest.

The film is expected to be released in theaters in late Aug. Lopera was put on unpaid administrative leave.

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