I-Team: Family Files Suit Against Suspect, School Police

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County School Police Department and several of its employees, from the chief on down, were named in a far-reaching lawsuit stemming from an alleged cover-up.

The lawsuit alleges school police were involved in a drunken party that ended in tragedy, and then covered up their actions.

The lawsuit is unique in that it not only lists the police department as a defendant, but it names individual employees and spells out the role each of those school cops allegedly played, first at the party with a bunch of drunken teenagers, and later for their participation in a cover-up that was allegedly approved at the highest levels of the department.

Read the lawsuit filed against school police

Nothing will bring back Angela Peterson, but for her parents, Frank and Linda Peterson, the filing of a civil lawsuit that spells out in considerable detail what school district employees did to cover up the true sequence of events provides a little bit of satisfaction

"We're happy they can all go to hell, and you can quote me," said the Peterson's. "We made the offer to go talk to them. They refused. So now they gotta come talk to us."

The Clark County School District Police Department is named as a defendant, but it have a lot of company in the hot seat. A co-defendant will be Kevin Miranda, the then-18-year-old who drank and partied with school cops in November of 2009. He then drove away drunk and smashed into a car driven by Angela Peterson, killing her. Miranda is now serving time behind bars for the fatal DUI.

I-Team: Underage DUI Suspect Allegedly Drank with Police Before Fatal Accident

Also named as a defendant is Tina Zuniga, a police dispatcher who allegedly sat and drank with Miranda and Zuniga's teenager daughter who was dating Miranda. School Police Chief Phil Arroyo, who is now serving a paid suspension while Las Vegas police investigate the cover-up allegations, is named for allegedly authorizing the cover-up. Arroyo first referred to the allegations raised as "fairy tales."

One of Arroyo's closet aides, Lt. Roberto Morales, also allegedly drank with Miranda before he left the party and reportedly helped enforce a code of silence.

Lt. Brian Nebecker was named by confidential witnesses as someone who ordered police dispatchers to keep their mouths shut. Former dispatcher Penny Higgins says she saw the drinking at the party and was repeatedly warned to shut up.

Internal Affairs Chief Loren Johnson is also named in the suit. Potential witnesses say Johnson was given the assignment by Chief Arroyo of gathering information about the party and to bury the information she found, including flyers advertising the party.

Peterson's attorney Mark Cook says he has solid information from numerous potential witnesses about what happened and who was involved and is amazed that the main characters have thus far hung together, even as additional witnesses have come forward with details about the cover-up.

"We have a group of people that banded together even tighter to silence the rest of them even more and then you have the flyers that say its a fairy tale," said Cook.

The next step for Cook is to schedule depositions for the individuals named, a list he expects will soon expand. What started out as a misdemeanor case of providing booze to minors now appears to involve numerous felonies, he says, and once he begins questioning the defendants under penalty of perjury, he expects to make some breakthroughs.

I-Team: School PD has Awards Ceremony as Investigation into Drinking Party Begins

"They will be sworn in and will have to choose between protecting someone who does not deserve to be protected or risk perjury," he said.

If they prevail, the Peterson's say every penny they obtain will go into a scholarship fund in their daughter's name. They look forward to sitting in court with the defendants

"We will never get her back, but maybe they can feel like us for 690 days or maybe they can realize they have to sit in a cell next to Kevin Miranda someday or begging their ass to get out," said the Peterson's. 

Cook says he expects to add more names to the lawsuit. Notably absent are the names of Penny Higgins, the former dispatcher who spoke out about the party, and Rebecca Wamsley, the dispatcher who hosted the party.

Police sources say that the Metro criminal probe is ongoing.


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