‘Showtime Syndrome’ Strikes Las Vegas

Monday, August 30, 2010
By Paul Martin

by William Norman Grigg

“He made me do my job,” insisted Bryan Yant when asked to explain why he gunned down 21-year-old Las Vegas resident Trevon Cole last June in what was clearly an act of criminal homicide.

Yant, who is employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police as an undercover counter-narcotics detective, claimed that Cole – who was accused of selling 1.8 ounces of marijuana – “made an aggressive act toward me,” which was “enough to make me fear for my life.”

Cole’s fiancée, Sequoia Pearce, offers a much different story. She maintains that Cole was cooperative, putting up his hands and saying “All right – all right” in the instant before Yant fatally shot him. At the time, Pearce – who was nine months pregnant with the couple’s child – was kneeling on the floor with a gun to her head.

Of the six-member narcotics squad involved in the late evening raid on the tiny one-bedroom apartment, Yant was the only one who claimed that Cole made a “furtive movement.” Interestingly, he was also the only one carrying an assault rifle.

Unlike his comrades, who were armed with with department-issued handguns, the former Marine decided to bring along his personal AR-15. This isn’t to say that the co-assailants earn points for restraint, given that the entire raid was an exercise in overkill. Trevon Cole’s needless death was an outcome nearly as predictable as the result of the perfunctory coroner’s inquest, which ruled that the murder was a “justifiable” exercise of lethal force.

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