Coroner: Police neck hold killed man in Vegas police custody

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo saidKenneth Lopera was expected to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office - each count carrying a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

As the altercation escalated, Lopera punched Farmer with a closed fist multiple times - and used a "rear naked choke" on him to stop what he believed to be a carjacking in progress, police said.

FILE - This undated file booking photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety shows Tashii Brown, known to them as Tashii Farmer-Brown. Lopera applied the unapproved technique on Farmer for more than a minute, according to a police department statement.

The coroner ruled that Brown, 40, who also went by the name Tashii Farmer, died of "asphyxiation related to police restraint" during an encounter outside the Venetian Hotel in the early hours of May 14, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a press conference Monday afternoon regarding Farmer's death.Lombardo held a press conference Monday afternoon regarding Farmer's death.

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - The cause of death for a man on the Las Vegas Strip in May has been determined to be asphyxia due to police restraint procedures.

Lagomarsino says Trinita Farmer also wants The Venetian held responsible for the actions of casino security officers who helped Lopera subdue Brown.

A police officer was charged on Monday with involuntary manslaughter in the killing of an unarmed man with a martial arts-type chokehold after a chase through a Las Vegas casino.

The decision to charge Lopera, who's been with Metro for five years, was in consultation with the Clark County District Attorney's Office, Lombardo said.

"We will be representing the officer to the fullest extent that we can", Grammas told the newspaper. 'We prepared him for the worst-case scenario, and it came true'.

The ruling doesn't automatically mean anyone will be charged.

Coroner John Fudenberg said Brown was intoxicated by methamphetamine and had an enlarged heart.

Lopera also zapped Brown with a stun gun seven times and punched him in the head and neck several times after the chase through employee-only hallways into a rear driveway to a parking area of The Venetian resort, police have said.

Lopera encountered Brown outside near a pickup truck and warned him he was going to get shocked, employing the stun gun two seconds later, police said. He also faces an internal administrative investigation, his department said.

However, investigators say that an officer, later identified as Kenneth Lopera, may have applied a rear naked choke to Farmer. A lawyer for his mother, Trinita Farmer, said she had hoped the officer would face a murder charge.

Farmer, the father of two young children who lived with his mother, had been taking medication for depression at the time of his death, family attorney Andre Lagomarsino said.

"There will be a time for justice".

"He was a good person who did not deserve to die", Lagomarsino said.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association has posted Lopera's bail.

The incident began when Brown, appearing sweaty, agitated and disoriented, approached Lopera and his patrol partner in a casino coffee shop and said he thought people were after him.

The chokehold can't be seen in Lopera's body camera footage, but surveillance video released in a press conference shortly after the incident showed the hold. NAACP Las Vegas chapter president Roxann McCoy tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that it opposes the use of any chokeholds by LVMPD officers: "When you're under duress, how do you ascertain what hold you're using?"

'After seeing what we saw on the video, I suspected they would find it was a homicide, ' McCoy said. "They did choke the man".

With hotel security guards helping him, the officer used a Taser in an unsuccessful attempt to stun Farmer into submission and later held him in a chokehold, according to police.

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