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‘It Comes Back Totally Matching You’: Black Man Receives $90K Settlement After Nevada Police Wrongfully Arrest Him on a Warrant Intended for a White Man with the Same Name

A man arrested by police officers who believed he had an outstanding warrant has settled a federal lawsuit with two Las Vegas-area police departments. The lawsuit blasted officers who erroneously mistook him for another man with the same name, despite having the wrong age and race.

Shane Brown filed a federal lawsuit, through his attorney E. Brent Bryson, against the Las Vegas Police Department for unlawful incarceration two years ago, where he spent six days in prison for crimes he did not commit. The man settled with Henderson police for $25,000 and the Clark County Detention Center for $65,000, for a total of $90,000 for the mix-up, reports reveal.

Bryson, who originally sued for $500,000 when he filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court of Nevada, said Brown received $10,000 less than the maximum settlement based on a state statute.

The young man was pulled over for a traffic stop at 4:44 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, 8 News Now reported, prompting the worst week of his life.

He said, “I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, because it seemed from my perspective that they were convinced that I was this guy, I was a felon. It seemed like they got their guy, and no one would listen to me.”

Brown did not have his Nevada state identification on him, but gave the officers his name, Social Security number and Social Security card, the lawsuit states.

When the police ran his name through the system, they found a felonious bench warrant out of a Las Vegas court for someone with the same name who was charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm. The warrant said the man, Shane Brown, dodged a court appearance, prompting a judge to order a no-bail arrest. HPD officers believed they’d caught their guy.

They were mistaken.

Both men in question share the first and last name: Shane Brown.

The man listed on the warrant is a white man with blue eyes, and the man arrested is an African-American with dark brown eyes. The man on the warrant was at the time 49 years old, born in 1971, while the man arrested was then 25 years old and was born in 1996.

The older man’s name is Shane Neal Brown, and the man stopped for a minor traffic violation’s name is Shane Lee Brown. 

A video obtained by 8 News, where officers’ faces are redacted by the city, shows a cop saying to the Black man, “I stopped you because you didn’t have any headlights on at all. All right, let me see your driver’s license.”

Brown shares with the officers, “I do have a warrant with you guys, but I have a court date tomorrow to take care of all that.” He also clearly states his full name, including his middle name, and informs them his license is suspended.

Officers tell Brown to exit his car since his license is not in good standing and has him sit on the side of the street.

A different officer opined that since he has a court date tomorrow, arresting him didn’t make sense, saying, “If he has court tomorrow, we don’t want to arrest him. That would be dumb.”

Moments later one cop said, as he walked toward Brown, “So, we got to figure some stuff out. You got arrested for something with a weapon.”

Brown says in the footage, “No wrong guy.” The younger man informs the officer that the times he has been arrested have been connected to his car, explaining, “I’ve been arrested, but everything I’ve been arrested for is traffic violations.”

The officers did not believe him, handcuffed him, and took him to jail, despite his maintaining he never had a gun charge.

One said, “It comes back totally matching you. Not much else we can do.”

Over and over, Brown asks them to double-check his name, but they refused, the police body cam revealed. He begged them, “My Social’s in there too if you want to check that out.”

The HPD officers are heard talking about the ordeal.

One unidentified cop remarked about a possible mistake and said, “Whether it is or not, I called dispatch and it’s pinging off his Social.”

“So, what do we want to tell the jail?” his colleague responded.

“That he has a weapons charge,” the first cop stated, and the decision was final.

Brown, who is trying to figure out what is going on, said, “As long as that warrant isn’t me, am I good to go? That felony warrant?”

In response to his query, the officer said, “Yes — but I’m almost 100 — I don’t think — I’m pretty sure it’s going to be you.”

The millennial was taken to the Henderson Detention Center, where he stayed for two days. He was then transferred via bus to the Clark County Detention Center, reportedly for anorher four days before being brought before a judge in a Las Vegas court.

The lawsuit said, “At CCDC, Shane Lee Brown once again explained to numerous unknown LVMPD officers and supervisors that he was not the ‘Shane Brown’ named on the felony bench warrant.”

“Despite being informed of this mistaken identity, none of the unknown LVMPD police or LVMPD corrections officers bothered to review its own records to determine whether Shane Lee Brown was the subject of the warrant,” the claim continued.

A public defender was the only one who could make sense to law enforcement, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, six days after the initial traffic stop.

The city-appointed lawyer told Judge Joe Hardy at a return warrant hearing that the officers had the wrong Shane Brown in custody and that the officers had ignored his client.

“Your honor, we have a major issue in this case,” she said. “The Shane Brown who is the defendant in our case has a separate ID number and he is a 49-year-old white male.”

Hardy acknowledged the mistaken identity and ordered Brown to be released immediately.

While HDP and the CCDC refused to comment on the case, the city spokesperson gave a statement.

“During a routine traffic stop for driving an unregistered vehicle, Shane Brown was correctly arrested by Henderson police for driving with a suspended license and for a contempt of court, failure to pay warrant issued by Henderson Municipal Court,” the rep previously had said.

On Thursday, June 22, the rep doubled down on the rightness of the arrest, bringing up his invalid license and saying, “While his arrest was lawful, we regret that he was misidentified in our system and have put measures in place and improved training procedures to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Shane Neal Brown, the man actually guilty of the weapons charge, was arrested and jailed in San Bernardino County. The Las Vegas Municipal Police Department was made aware of his whereabouts on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 — eight days after the younger man’s release. 

No public apology was made for the penal fiasco. 

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