The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is no longer investigating the use-of-force case against the Reno Police Department from last week’s beating incident on Ryland Street.
ThisisReno brightened the video and increased its volume, posted above, and many have said the video is inconclusive.
“We don’t have his phone to download (the video) to determine if it’s the original, unedited version,” Green said. “It doesn’t seem to contradict what the police statements say. We’re going to let (RPD) finish with the case because his injuries were not as bad as we thought.”
In the video, it appears that Meza is trying to get another friend inside of house while Finn appears to be struggling with an officer.
Meza says, “you’re abusing power, you’re on my property” before an officer appears to yell at Meza to “show me your fucking hands,” “get on the fucking floor” and “get on on the goddamn floor.”
Meza repeatedly says, “you’re in my house.” He also says, “I am not resisting arrest.”
No mention of a hammer is evident from the audio.
Meza is reportedly out of the hospital from injuries sustained by the officer. The WCSO originally described the altercation like this:
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.”
Witnesses Silent, Except on Social Media
I reached out multiple times this week to witnesses associated with this case to get additional comments. No calls were returned.
Witnesses posted online that the published version of events, from the news release sent by the WCSO, is not true.
“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,” wrote Nathan Lachner.
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?
Meza’s bosses commented on ThisisReno:
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.
Finn and Meza were charged with obstructing an officer, resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Green.
Meza, out of the hospital, wrote yesterday on Facebook:
I honestly wanna give a huge thank you to EVERYONE who took the time to share what happened to me and understand/know me well enough to know I would never do anything like what the news articles said, I know I’m not guilty and I’m fighting back. Thank you for the help and support everyone has been giving me and I love you all and I’m so greatful to have an amazing community back me up on something like this. It’s honestly awesome and I couldn’t thank you all enough. I can’t really say much right now (’cause it really is a big deal) other than, I know I’m not guilty!!!!”
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.