Skip to Content
What Happened in Vegas    cover image

What Happened in Vegas 2017

Distributed by The Video Project, 145 - 9th St., Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103; 800-475-2638

Directed by Ramsey Denison with Douglas Blush, Larry Burns and Joe Lombardo
DVD, color, 90 min.

High School - General Adult
Social Justice, Criminal Justice, Law, Race Relations, Community Engagement

Date Entered: 05/29/2018

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

This riveting documentary about the use of excessive force and corruption in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department begins with the shooting that occurred on the night of Sunday, October 1, 2017. That is the night when a gunman named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, leaving 59 people dead and 851 people injured. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) was put in the spotlight and for all intents and purposes, were shown as true heroes during this horrific event up to the point when the perpetrator killed himself.

What follows shortly after is a disturbing, yet well-known fact in many communities, both black and white, on how excessive force and fatal shootings can lead to distrust, anxiety and two opposing forces for people who find themselves in the cross hairs of any police officer during a routine stop or encounter. The film’s Director, Denison, challenges the LVMPD when some of the facts of his arrest, as well as others, contain deliberate, and misleading information all because they witnessed the use of excessive force and reported it.

Denison also profiles what he calls the ‘good cops’ so that the film while appearing to be one-sided, does give appropriate credit to those who ‘serve and actually protect.’ The film looks at four cases that ended in fatal police shootings for the victims, two of which resulted in seven figure settlement payments by the LVMPD to the respective families.