By LVBear | April 14, 2014
It had to happen eventually. A case of patron abuse too egregious to be ignored by police. Unfortunately, someone had to lose their life before authorities would take action against a casino guard amid the ever-present threats of violence against patrons by typical casino thugs.
Though accused killer Stefan Johnson enjoys the same presumption of innocence as any other American, the arrest is a pleasant surprise. I cannot even imagine the pressure to cover it up and not prosecute that the homicide detectives and the DA’s office must have faced from local politicians as well as the powerful Carano family, who own the Eldorado, and other major political contributors in Reno. I don’t think charges would have been filed if this had occurred in Las Vegas.
Johnson lifted (decedent) Victorio-Acevedo to head level, took him over his left shoulder and drove him into the ground, the (Reno police) affidavit says.
“Johnson’s use of force to facilitate a questionable misdemeanor trespassing arrest was excessive and went beyond what is considered acceptable, proper or necessary to facilitate an arrest of an individual who, at the time, was complying with Johnson’s order to leave,” the affidavit said.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the arrest and upcoming prosecution. If Mr. Johnson is indeed guilty, I hope for a swift conviction and long prison sentence. Maybe other casino guards will finally wake up and realize they cannot continue their loathsome behavior, at least in Reno. This case should send shock waves through places like the Cal-Neva, where some guards are particularly fond of bullying people.
Is it too much to hope for that the next time Las Vegas casino guards rough up a patron, appropriate criminal action will be taken instead of the free pass that the guards almost always have gotten in the past? And that perhaps casino management will make better hiring choices — and provide appropriate training?
By LVBear | October 22, 2013
Casino managers conspired to cheat a patron out of earned free play and out of a car at a subsequent drawing. From the hearing examiner’s decision:
Obviously, the actions of (the casinos) in this matter grossly violate the declared public policy of this state as it relates to gaming. The decisions made by (the casinos) were calculated, dishonest, immoral and done to purposefully distort the outcomes of advertised promotions. This type of disingenuousness serves no purpose other than to erode public confidence and trust in the gaming industry.
My understanding is that some of the crooked employees lost their jobs, but to my knowledge there has been no criminal prosecution of these casino-employee crooks. Why not?
By LVBear | October 22, 2013
Photo credit: Las Vegas Sun
According to the latest news article, the dispute began over the customer apparently being denied a $30 refund. What stupidity. I am in no way defending the alleged shooter, but can’t casinos and their nightclub partners use common sense — EVER?
You have an angry drunk standing before you demanding his $30 back after he was in the venue only a short time. Just give him the money and let him go on his way. Sadly, this tragedy was likely entirely preventable, if just a tiny bit of common sense would have been used. Defuse a bad situation, don’t worsen it.
Training professional security guards is an ongoing concern for casinos and clubs in general, said Jeff Voyles, a gaming consultant and professor of casino management at UNLV. Turnover and training costs are high in security departments, said Voyles …
Ahh, yes, “training costs” — the costs of doing something the right way are simply too high. Instead, hire some moronic street thugs and call them “security officers.” Or, too often, hire a tired old belligerent ex-cop who forgets he no longer has the supposed authority to push people around, and call him “security manager.” Pathetic.
Frazier asked club security whether he could go in and preview the crowd before paying a $30 cover charge. Police said he decided to pay the cover and went inside but came out shortly afterward demanding a refund because the club wasn’t full.
Again, Las Vegas gets a black eye in nationwide headlines. And unfortunately, it is deserved.
By LVBear | October 3, 2011
Many people have asked when another growl will be published. The answer is, I don’t know. For the past few months, I have been preoccupied with other endeavors. It is likely to stay that way into the foreseeable future. Though there is plenty to growl about, I am not on a time schedule. As I wrote when I started this blog in 2007:
I growl whenever something annoys me enough to comment about it. There is no schedule or timeline as to when I choose to growl.
There simply are not enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do.
I’m glad that you read my growls. There will be more eventually. Thanks for reading.
The Bear Growls: Man near death in New York New York hallway for hours; people just stepped around the body. What happened to “security?” Man subsequently died.
By LVBear | August 2, 2011
For six hours, Terrell lay on the hallway floor near the elevator as hotel customers stepped around his body entering and exiting the elevator, according to what (Clark County Commissioner Steve) Sisolak said he was told by Metro (Police).
Finally about 11 a.m., resort security got involved. Terrell was still unconscious but alive, Sisolak said he was told.
It is disgusting that no customer tried to do anything to help; not even make a simple phone call or tell a hotel employee. I guess surveillance was preoccupied for hours watching out for brain-using patrons, and the security guards were asleep in the break room or in otherwise unused hotel rooms.
Metro was involved in the case several hours after security found Terrell …
After eventually being awakened from their slumber, it took security several hours to notify Metro Police. Incredible. The incompetence and stupidity regularly exhibited by some of the pinheads in casino security borders on criminality. Our District Attorney needs to file charges against more than just the guy who killed Terrell.
By LVBear | April 20, 2011
Politicians thinking out loud: Gee, let’s boost tourism. Why don’t we build a high speed train? Let’s run it between Las Vegas and Victorville, California! No, this is not a joke.
Victorville is a gang-infested, lower-middle class California high-desert community about 35 miles from Barstow, and 110 miles from Los Angeles. It is literally “in the middle of nowhere.” But the promoters of a train from Las Vegas that dead-ends in Victorville somehow have gotten the support of Senator Harry Reid and other politicians to spend billions of dollars on this boondoggle. Ah, yes, someday there is supposed to be another pie-in-the-sky rail line built between Victorville and Palmdale, California, that’ll connect to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, a Las Vegas-bound visitor would first have to go to Palmdale (many miles out of the way), then to Victorville, then on to Las Vegas. Would this be three separate trains? Who knows. The plan is so absurd it’s amazing that it’s gotten anything but laughter.
If this ridiculous project ever actually happens, I predict another bankruptcy in short order, just like the poorly thought out, ill-fated Las Vegas Monorail. Of course, the promoters of the Monorail siphoned off millions for themselves. The Desert XPress is next. How can this stupidity be explained other than that there are forces at work that act out of the public eye?
All aboard the Bankruptcy Xpress!
By LVBear | March 13, 2011
The Legislative Building
Some clear thinking (at least on this issue) Nevada politicians have introduced Assembly Bill 258, which provides for Nevada regulating online poker to the degree reasonably possible. Unlike some other bills designed to be punitive to the existing online gaming companies, this bill states:
The Board shall not recommend denial of, and the Commission shall not deny, a license to an operator of Internet poker or to a manufacturer of interactive gaming systems, a manufacturer of equipment associated with interactive gaming systems or an interactive gaming service provider solely because the operator, manufacturer or interactive gaming service provider, before the effective date of this act, operates, operated or was associated with, in interstate or foreign commerce and while licensed by another jurisdiction, one or more Internet poker operations which were unlicensed in the United States or the State of Nevada and in which bets or wagers were initiated, received or otherwise made by persons located in the United States.
These politicians, or whoever drafted this bill for them, understand that getting the online industry off the ground in Nevada will necessitate the involvement of the large companies already experienced in other jurisdictions. Rather than to try to “punish” those pioneering companies for legally operating outside of the U.S., this bill encourages them. This is clearly the correct approach.
AB258 is nowhere near its completed form. Let’s hope as the bill winds it way through the legislative process, the common sense approach now embodied in it remains. This legislation is a breath of fresh air for Nevada. This is something that could result in Nevada becoming the U.S. center of online gaming, as Nevada once was the undisputed leader of the brick-and-mortar casino industry, before mismanagement and corporate greed severely harmed it.
Let’s hope for the best with this; Nevada needs the revenue and new jobs that could be created. Though it’s a long shot, I hope that this will kick open the door for all online gaming, particularly sports betting. The Nevada sportsbooks need some “legal” competition to force them to offer their patrons a better deal; maybe breaking up their existing cartels, which unfortunately our regulators failed to do when they had the chance.
Congratulations to all involved with Assembly Bill 258, and good luck with it.
By LVBear | February 3, 2011
The officers allegedly involved in the crimes discussed below enjoy the presumption of innocence, just like anyone else. But if they are guilty, will they be fired, as they should be? We’ll have to wait and see; based on previous incidents, I doubt it.
Thomas Mendiola is one of the three officers who killed Erik Scott outside a Costco store last year. At the Coroner’s Inquest, it was revealed that Mendiola struggled through his written exam, failing at least once before he finally was able to pass it and become a Metro officer. I wonder how many tries candidates get before being turned down as too stupid?
Now, if true, in an incredible display of stupidity, this young officer is involved with associating with a known felon, not reporting a serious crime (felon in possession of a gun), and stupidest of all, GIVING THE CRIMINAL A GUN! This is simply unbelievable. If any of this is proven, Mendiola deserves to be fired, and spend some time in prison. At least he is on unpaid leave this time, not sitting around sucking up free taxpayer money for doing nothing, as he was able to do for months in the aftermath of the Costco killing.
A case of bizarre behavior and alleged lying by Officers Brad Gallup and Jake Grunwald.
The officers face discipline for several policy violations, including neglect of duty and abandonment of their post.
That’s all? What about theft of pay, theft and/or misuse of public resources (police car, fuel, etc.) and a host of other crimes? To call these crimes mere “policy violations” trivializes them. If true, these officers are liars, at the very least. How can they ever be trusted to honestly write a report or honestly testify in court? Embarrassingly, they are on paid administrative leave. Suck up the freebies while you can still get ‘em, guys. If the Sheriff finally grows a spine, you will both deservedly be in the unemployment line soon enough. Let’s hope so. But again, I doubt if our gutless Sheriff will do anything. Even if he wanted these scoundrels to face criminal charges, I think the equally cowardly District Attorney, David Roger, would find an excuse not to prosecute.
Metro is desperately in need of a major housecleaning. It should start at the top, with the resignation of Sheriff Gillespie.
What do these cases have to do with advantage play or casinos?
Most of us who have played for a while have had hassles with casino security. We know casino security guards are usually not the brightest bulbs on the tree. Many are among society’s misfits, and have a propensity for gratuitous violence. If casino guards choose to involve the police in whatever dispute they have with a patron, the patron is at the mercy of whatever tales the security people tell the police. Thus, having stupid, dishonest police officers is dangerous to us. When police officers are stupid and/or dishonest, all citizens are put at risk.
By LVBear | December 14, 2010
Reno is getting worse in that even in good weather such as the last few days, bums are coming in off the streets to suck up free drinks in the sportsbooks that do not closely police their “drink tickets.” Recently, in a large sportsbook, I watched as two drunken bums argued and almost fought over a disputed call in a football game being shown on the big screen. It was hilarious, because obviously they had more important things to worry about in life than a football game.
I think the casinos do not really know how to handle the bums. Security is often too stupid to tell the difference between a street person and a legitimate patron who dresses like a bum, but really is a customer who likes to sit in the sportsbook all day and yell at football games. Resources have to be devoted to ferret out one from the other. Having many street people present, especially bad-smelling ones, annoys patrons. But throwing out large numbers of people may result in a few patrons being thrown out for no reason other than dressing badly. That could happen to me. :>)
I don’t know the solution, but I know the problem is getting worse. Harrah’s is probably the worst right now, with bums coming in off the Second Street entrance just east of the book. Harrah’s is challenging perennial leader Cal-Neva. Sands Regency always has bums hanging around; Peppermill is right up there as well, with Eldorado, Atlantis, and Grand Sierra in the running. Grand Sierra is a surprise, because it is quite a walk from anywhere bums usually congregate; maybe they take a shuttle from downtown? But Grand Sierra is so large they can seemingly become invisible inside the cavernous facility, and avoid scrutiny by security. Or a few bums can pool their money together and buy a $30,000 condo at The Summit, that was attempted to be sold for $400,000 a few years ago.
JA Nugget has few, almost no bums hanging out, nor does Boomtown. Of course, Boomtown, with its latest downgrade of table games, could use some bums — the bums might play at higher stakes than the few remaining patrons, and make the place look less deserted.
Just like dealing with casino employees, it is important not to antagonize these folks. Some may not be playing with a full deck, so to speak. Some may be drunk, others just plain mean and dangerous. I was accosted by one outside Sands Regency a couple of trips ago. My yelling at him and brandishing a can of pepper spray resulted in his quick retreat. Be careful out there.
By LVBear | December 8, 2010
Virginia Valentine, our well-respected, hardworking county manager has sold out. I am shocked and saddened — no sarcasm here, I really thought Ms. Valentine was an honest, hardworking public servant, one of few in our county.
My real disappointment is with the loss of a competent and honest public employee. We certainly need more of those in Clark County. From my observations, she helped reduce the power of the many crooks entrenched in county government. Her departure surprised me, as I didn’t think she was as susceptible to the cushy offerings of the casino industry as are many. I thought her integrity level was higher. I was wrong. She went the way of her predecessor, who took a plush, do-nothing job at Harrah’s (director of philanthropy), as did our former mayor (director of government relations). For what past favors were these bloated jobs created?
Some “career changes” from government to the casino industry are obvious and accepted in Nevada. Gaming Control Board members and “retired” police officials routinely receive their payoffs from the casino industry in the form of cushy jobs.
I understand that Ms. Valentines’ pay will probably double or triple. But it’s unfortunate that ethics and commitment to responsibilities go into the dumpster when offered a better deal by dubious suitors, just as Sarah Palin morphed from an obscure governor of an obscure state into a millionaire by happenstance, starting by quitting her government job mid-term. The fact that Ms. Palin is incompetent and Ms. Valentine is competent is beside the point; the similarities exist, on a smaller scale for our departing County Manager.
I am sure Ms. Valentine will do a good job and will be a benefit to her new casino bosses. But I am disappointed in her apparent lack of character. For the county and state as a whole, I think Ms. Valentine is more valuable and effective as a fighter against crookedness in county government than she will be as an advocate for an industry that already controls all levels of government in Nevada, and gets whatever it wants. There’s not much she can add to what the casino industry already gets.
Shame on Virginia Valentine.