Despite numerous pleas from jail in January 2020, Shane Lee Brown could not convince two Nevada police departments that they had locked up the wrong person.
Shane Lee Brown alleges that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Henderson Police Department violated his constitutional rights, acted negligently and falsely imprisoned him.
“Had any of the LVMPD police or corrections officers performed any due diligence, such as comparing Shane Lee Brown’s booking photo against the existing mug shot belonging to the older, white ‘Shane Brown’ named in the warrant … they would have easily determined that Shane Lee Brown has been misidentified as the subject of the warrant,” the lawsuit states.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department declined to remark on the lawsuit, telling The Washington Post in a statement that the department does not comment on pending litigation.
In a statement to The Post, Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, Nev., argued that Henderson police were correct in arresting Brown “for driving with a suspended license and for a contempt of court, failure to pay warrant issued by Henderson Municipal Court.”
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has not presented all the facts and circumstances behind his lawful and proper arrest by Henderson Police, which will be further addressed in the City Attorney’s response to the court,” Richards wrote.
After getting off work in the afternoon of Jan. 8, 2020, Brown was driving through Henderson when Henderson police pulled him over, according to the lawsuit. Brown did not have his driver’s license. Instead, he confirmed his identity by telling officers his name and Social Security number and providing his Social Security card.
When officers ran his name, an outstanding bench warrant for a gun charge came up — though not for him, but for a man named Shane Neal Brown, a 49-year-old White man standing 5-foot-11, with brown hair and a white beard, according to the lawsuit. Shane Lee Brown, meanwhile, was 26 years younger, Black and 5-foot-7, with black hair.
Nevertheless, Henderson police officers took Shane Lee Brown into custody, according to the lawsuit. While detained, Brown explained to numerous Henderson police officers that he was not the person they wanted. But his pleas did not change their minds, the lawsuit states: Two days later, Brown was transferred to the Clark County Detention Center.
There, Brown tried to explain to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers that they had the wrong person, the lawsuit states. But that did not work, either. The department filed paperwork with the court certifying that it had Shane Neal Brown in custody, according to the lawsuit.
Shane Lee Brown alleges in his lawsuit that Las Vegas police only needed to compare pictures and basic information to verify he was the wrong person. Four days later, the lawsuit says, that is what his public defender did in court to get a judge to secure his release.
After seeing the photos and other evidence that Shane Lee Brown was not wanted on the warrant, Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Joe Hardy ordered the younger Brown released.
According to records reviewed by KLAS, Las Vegas police learned on Jan. 22, 2020, that Shane Neal Brown had been taken into custody in San Bernardino, Calif. He appeared in court and accepted a plea deal later that month.