LAS VEGAS -- The police union has its own opinion on the coroner's inquest process. They played a role in the process changes that took place in 2007 and say if more changes are going to be made, they definitely want a place at the table for the discussions.
Back in 2007, they agreed to allow more interested parties to ask questions during the inquest process. But Las Vegas Police Protective Association Executive Director Chris Collins says if it goes any further, the whole process will be destroyed. He says one thing he will not stand for is his officers being badgered on the stand.
"These men and women who are participating in the inquest have been accused of no wrong doing. They have been charged of no crime. So why would they come down and allow cross examination of them," he said.
There have been some talks that the coroner's inquest should be more adversarial, but Collins says at that point, his officers would either lawyer up or invoke their Fifth Amendment privileges.
Right now, even though they are subpoenaed for the inquest, they can plead the fifth, but have willingly taken the stand to tell their side of the story. Collins believes making the process more adversarial would give officers no choice but to stay quiet.
He believes interested parties like Erik Scott's family had a lot of participation in this past inquest.
"If you watched the last six days of the coroner's inquest, there were over 1,500 questions submitted. Most of those had two or three questions on them each -- questions from the jury, the judge. There literally had to be 4,000 to 5,000 questions asked in that process," he said.
Collins said pleading the fifth may put officers in a vulnerable position because their side wouldn't be given, but says it will help down the road as they face civil litigation.
Collins says if Clark County Commissioners or other stakeholders consider changing the process, he wants to play a role in the discussions and not just listen from the side. He says, either way, not everyone will be satisfied.
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