Citizen's Arrest Video Sparks Concerns In Reno

May 23, 2016

Suspect Andres Meza

A grainy video of a recent arrest in Reno, and a lot of commentary on social media, have raised questions about the role that citizen videos should play when local law enforcement agencies are investigated for possible misconduct.

To learn more, we turn to our contributor Bob Conrad. And just a quick warning: This report does contain some graphic language. 

The Reno Police Department was filmed by a suspect being arrested earlier this month, and that video has been circulating online. In it, you can hear the suspect, Andres Meza, telling a police officer that he’s not resisting arrest.

Meza was arrested for charges of assault, obstruction and resisting arrest. He says he’s not guilty.

Some who have seen the video have raised concerns about potential police misconduct.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office initially investigated the incident, and a spokesman there says the suspect was taken to the ICU for severe injuries caused by a Reno police officer. Ultimately, the sheriff’s office found no evidence of wrongdoing by the police. And RPD Spokesman Tim Broadway says the video in question has not been turned over.

"If we have difficult officers that are potentially abusing their authority, we want to know about that,” Broadway says, “but we can't properly investigate that without any type of proof or valid evidence."

Broadway says videos can help with investigations, but he cautions rushing to judgment when only part of a situation may be recorded.

"We can't determine if it's an original or unedited version. It doesn't seem to contradict what the police officer statements were."

Broadway says the case has been referred to internal affairs for further investigation. The Washoe County District Attorney's Office will determine if charges should be pursued against Meza and another suspect. Meza did not respond to a request for comment.