By Wesley Juhl and Rachel Crosby Las Vegas Review-Journal
Updated June 5, 2017 – 7:15 pm
The Las Vegas police officer who stunned Tashii Brown seven times with a Taser and held him in an unauthorized chokehold for more than a minute before his death last month is now facing criminal charges, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo announced Monday.
At an afternoon news briefing, Lombardo said officer Kenneth Lopera, 31, is facing felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office.
Lopera’s arrest marks the first time in nearly three decades a Metropolitan Police Department officer has faced charges in connection with a police shooting or in-custody death. The sheriff said both charges carry sentences of one to four years in state prison.
Lombardo’s announcement came shortly after the Clark County coroner’s office ruled Brown’s death a homicide Monday afternoon.
In a statement, Clark County Coroner Jon Fudenberg said Brown died from “asphyxia due to police restraint procedures and other significant conditions included methamphetamine intoxication and cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart).”
Brown, 40, of Las Vegas, died May 14 at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center after a struggle with Lopera, as seen in previously released body camera footage.
“The charges are the result of the coroner’s findings, along with evidence gathered from video surveillance, body-worn cameras and witness statements,” Lombardo said Monday. “It should be noted that officer Lopera did not provide a statement to the force investigation team, which is responsible for the criminal investigation of this incident.”
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