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Home > News > Eye-Witness Accounts Differ From Reno Police in Use-of-Force Case (Watch Video)

Eye-Witness Accounts Differ From Reno Police in Use-of-Force Case (Watch Video)

By Bob Conrad
Meza

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is investigating a use-of-force case by the Reno Police Department (RPD), and eye witnesses are disputing published accounts of the incident.

According to the Sheriff’s Office:

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2016, Reno Police Department Officers responded to a report of a battery in progress at the 200 block of Ryland Street. Upon arrival, officers discovered that a 58-year-old man had been severely beaten by two neighbors, one of whom was armed with a hammer, over a noise dispute.

Andres Meza

Andres Meza was taken into custody by police, but eyewitnesses said that he was beaten by police and was not resisting arrest.

Officers located the two suspects, identified as Andres Meza, age 23, and Jacob Robert Finn, age 22, both of whom resisted officer’s attempts to detain them. Finn began to push and kick one officer while Meza, still armed with the hammer, moved toward another officer, ignoring commands to stop and put down the hammer. The officer struck Meza with a baton and deployed a Taser in his defense. No officers were injured during the incident.

Both suspects were ultimately taken into custody. Finn was transported to the Washoe County Detention Facility and Meza was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries sustained while confronting the officers.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating at the request of RPD to “conduct an outside and objective investigation of the incident.”

Comments on social media differ from the WCSO’s statement, and a video allegedly shot by one of the individuals arrested, Nick Meza, reveals him screaming to police not to come into a house before presumably getting beaten by police.

It appears a police officer is yelling at him to “show me your fucking hands,” “get on the fucking floor” and “get on on the goddamn floor,” while Meza is repeatedly yelling, “You’re in my house.” He also said, “I am not resisting arrest.”

The video appears to show, at the beginning, an officer struggling with an individual.

Shawn Polomares posted this statement on Facebook below the video,

“Last night the cops broke into my old home most people know as “Fort Ryland”, and assaulted my friends Nick Meza and Jacob Finn. They were suspicious about Jacob, so they broke in and beat him with a club. Nick pulled out his phone and tried to record Jacob being beaten. The police didn’t like that Nick was videotaping them. They used their clubs and hit Nick in the face and broke his nose. When my friend Valentine tried to reason with them, one police officer pulled out their gun and pointed it at him. They arrested both my friends Nick and Jacob. Nick only videotaped what happened and was beaten and arrested. Jacob is in jail, Nick is in the ICU”- Nathan Lachner

Alyssa Sosa posted: “i cry every time i look at this shit, think about what i personally witnessed-which was after 12 cars showed up, or read a stupid fucking news article about it.”

Michael Maxwell wrote:

He was hiding in our basement when he took this video. Would a person who was so eager to brandish a weapon to cops be the last person to be attacked?

How can a police officer “not give a fuck” about breaking into a house without a warrant to beat a person who for all he knows was a bystander since he had just (driven) up to the scene.

No charges were announced against Meza and Finn. We asked the Sheriff’s Office what the charges are.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at (775) 328-3320 or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900.

 

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6 comments

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Jody May 9, 2016 - 9:54 pm

This video is terrible quality and doesn’t show the whole story. Everyone is so quick to test and blame authority lately. From the audio in this video it sounds to me like he was challenging the police because he thought as long as they went inside the police couldn’t enter. The dumbass had a hammer and they were obviously fighting outside a day and elderly man was hurt so that alone gives the police the right to enter your home (probable cause). Don’t act like a punk and hurt other people or watch while others hurt someone else and then expect the police to not come at you like a suspect. If he didn’t have a hammer and would have gotten on the ground the first time he was told to, this wouldn’t have happened. Basically….stop being a dumb ass punk and respect the law.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conrad May 10, 2016 - 3:12 pm

Jody, it’s true the video and witness accounts are inconclusive, which is exactly the point. What the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office sent out, and which media have been regurgitating without question, is inconsistent with what other people saw — such as, no hammer, not advancing toward the officer and no attack on a 58-year-old man, which witnesses have said happened three to four houses away. It is hoped the independent investigation can determine why there are inconsistencies in what has been claimed.

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Heather and Larry May 9, 2016 - 4:05 pm

Thank you, Bob. Nick Meza (Andres) is a current employee of ours and has worked for us for years. He has better work ethic and shows more respect for people than most adults we know. He’s the kind of guy who shows up on time, stays late, and has shown a TON of composure in what can be a very high stress work environment. Nick is also the kind of guy who volunteers regularly for a local non-profit … and has what appears to be an endless community of friends, the kind of friends who showed up one by one to tell us that Nick couldn’t make it into work last week because he was in the hospital.

The media coverage of this story has remained largely biased and untrue and it breaks our hearts. As reported by the police and several news outlets, the entire premise of the officer’s force ( “self defense” ) was that Nick was armed with a hammer, refused to obey orders to put down the hammer, and moved towards one of the officers with hammer in hand. The video, whether hard to see or not, provides clear audio evidence that Nick was never once ordered by an officer to put down a hammer or weapon of any kind. The video, being captured by Nick himself, also clearly shows that Nick backed AWAY from the officer who was forcing his way into the house, which contradicts reports that Nick “moved towards the officer”. All of this is to say that the brutality used against Nick that night was not an act of “self defense”.

Most news reports only mentioned that a taser was used against Nick but failed to report that Nick was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit due to a busted skull from the cop’s baton. Strangely, the “neighbor” who was said to have been “savagely beaten” did not require hospitalization at all.

It’s just such a shame. Again, thank you Bob for looking further into this story.

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Troy Izzi May 8, 2016 - 9:12 pm

This needs to be reported to the ACLU by one of the eyewitnesses asap. That’s step one. Public servants have no right to treat people with such disrespect and abuse.

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Phoenix Leben May 8, 2016 - 4:02 pm

Much respect for you writing this article. I have lived with the two and known them for 5 plus years each. Least violent people, was in shock when I heard this. I want some justice and this is bigger than just my brothers being put into jail and the other beaten unconscious. It has happen before them and will happen after them unfortunately unless things change.

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Nathan Lachner May 8, 2016 - 3:03 pm

Thank you, Bob. It’s important the truth gets out there.

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