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Complaint filed against Reno Police officer over online comments

By Bob Conrad
Officer Ryan Gott received a special award in 2019 from The Home Depot for helping to recover over $65,000 in stolen goods. Image: RPD Facebook.

A complaint was filed today against Reno Police Officer Ryan Gott for comments recently posted on Facebook. The person Gott responded to called his comments a “veiled threat.”

Lisa Lee, who runs the Foundation for Recovery, a mental health and substance abuse nonprofit in Sparks, said she filed an internal affairs complaint against Gott after he responded to her online comment praising Governor Steve Sisolak’s statements last night on reopening Nevada in the wake of COVID-19.

Sisolak said he was following the direction from the White House for reopening the state. Lee, in turn, said she thought Sisolak was being thoughtful.

Gott responded:

“Lisa Lee you are dumber than most thought… and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING. The numbers along with Sisolak don’t add up. The curve has been flat for weeks in NV. This state needs to reopen at least partially. This state is dying and it’s morons like you keeping it that way. Load up as many homeless as you can and leave the state.”

Lee said the comment was a veiled threat and that she has never encountered him before.

“It sounds like he is familiar with the work I do. This comment is unprofessional and unbecoming of a public servant and feels threatening and an abuse of power to insinuate to a tax paying citizen to ‘leave the state,'” Lee said. “Further, his comment about people experiencing homelessness feels dangerous. To compound the irony of his statement, I am a doctorate student in public health.”

Gott posted a second comment saying he stands by his remarks. His comments appear to have been since deleted. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. He is listed on RPD’s website as a Community Action Officer whose mission is “to reduce repeat calls for service which are a drain on patrol resources by long term problem solving solutions and techniques…”

RPD’s Travis Warren said the department is considering this a personnel matter.

“This is a personnel matter and I am addressing it,” said Police Chief Jason Soto. “These comments do not represent, or reflect the views of the Reno Police Department. I will not comment on personnel matters.”

The Reno Police Department’s social media policy, while acknowledging employee’s First Amendment rights, qualifies employee speech.

“Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens in matters of public concern to the degree that their speech does not … undermine the department’s relationship with the community,” the policy states.

Gott in 2010 received a medal of meritorious service for work on a fire in 2009. Last year he received an award for helping to recover $65,000 in stolen goods. That’s the award pictured.

Officer Ryan Gott received a special award in 2019 from The Home Depot for helping to recover over $65,000 in stolen goods. Image: RPD Facebook.
Officer Ryan Gott received a special award in 2019 from The Home Depot for helping to recover over $65,000 in stolen goods. Image: RPD Facebook.

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8 comments

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Breanne Bennett April 24, 2020 - 11:12 am

She filed a report over THAT? What am I missing?

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David Ary April 24, 2020 - 10:44 am

Officer Gott’s comments are false and dangerous. The curve is not flat, and certainly (para.) not “flat for weeks”. During a 36-hour period just a few days ago, an increase in mortalities from 16 to 21 was recorded in Washoe County. That is an increase of above 1% PER HOUR. These are the official numbers, and under-estimate actual deaths.
The official infection rate for the state at that time was somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000. Therefore, in the absence of appropriate testing, we must assume that a figure somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 is more accurate. If we see just a 1% mortality rate, based upon these figures, between 400 and 500 Nevadans who are currently infected will die. This time, WITH social distancing. Remove the social distancing, and this figure will increase exponentially. Furthermore, when the second wave hits in November or December concurrently with the influenza season, if we have addressed the crisis according to Officer Gott’s haphazard recommendation, we will see an array of much more complex and deadly problems.
Officer Gott’s comments are false and irresponsible, and endanger the community that he has sworn to protect. What is the penalty for breaking an oath of office, and what is the enhancement for doing so while representing the interests of the community while in our employ?
We have seen RPD officers commit fraud and other crimes, and escape prosecution recently. When do we, as a community, put an end to law enforcement abuses? Never? Next year? In this case, next year would be too late. This bulldog must be muzzled.

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Ed Flagg April 24, 2020 - 8:10 am

This is no viral threat, get off your political correctness high hourse

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John Minaberry April 23, 2020 - 1:44 pm

Way to represent, Ryan! I’m sure all your brothers and sisters in blue are proud of you. I mean, calling her a moron? Classic! You must be really smart to come up with something like that. Calling her out in public? Cop’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, right? Are all your brethren in blue like you? ‘Cause that’s what people will think.

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Robert Smith April 22, 2020 - 5:54 pm

Just because her feelings were hurt doesn’t mean her assessment of the words were correct. What he said was crude and of course unbecoming of a police officer. But to think it was any sort of threat is a made up delusion. Her actions are much much more egregious than his were. Making up false claims of threats is much worse than having a poltical disagreement.

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Dominic J adams April 22, 2020 - 4:21 pm

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but when you serve the comunity you should be held to a higher standard. This falls short.Why would anyone try to belittle someone else. Sad.

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Kathy McAfee April 22, 2020 - 4:09 pm

I think officer Gott had every right to say what he did. Why is it if you are in public office you have to watch your mouth. No one ever holds back what’s on their mind but because he’s a police officer he has sugar coat what he said. Sorry you got your feelings hurt. I agree with the governor but if officer Gott doesn’t like it he has that right. Give him a break.

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Ed Rylant April 22, 2020 - 2:06 pm

Lisa Lee, you do seem to have issues. How is this a threat, veiled or otherwise. And Sisolak….destroying Nevada, its businesses and its people. Absolutely clueless. And he is following the White House rules or guidance? Hardly. And where is Reno’s mayor? Has she just disappeared?

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