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On Valentine’s Day, 20-year-old D’Andre Berghardt was fatally shot by Bureau of Land Management Officers. The shooting was captured on video by two bystanders at the scene near Red Rock National Conservation Area, and it appears to depict Berghardt acting erratically as BLM officers struggle to corral him.
Now the family’s calling for a federal investigation into his death.
“There are plenty of examples in this community, unfortunately, where Metro’s investigation has led to more questions than answers,” Hafter says. “Usually the FBI investigates questions of misconduct on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management. We absolutely believe that the federal authorities with the federal resources…should be paying for this investigation. We believe that the FBI…should be the ones investigating.”
The attorney is also openly questioning whether the Clark County Coroner’s Office can conduct an autopsy of the death without “perceived bias” against Berghardt. In a letter to the Clark County Coroner, Hafter says that during an unrelated meeting at the Clark County Coroner’s Office, he had talked to a doctor in the office about the Berghardt case.
Bystander video obtained by Las Vegas Review Journal
This doctor, according to Hafter’s letter, expressed that Berghardt’s behavior “was troublesome,” and that he acted “erratically, with superhuman strength.”
“I have grave concerns about [the doctor’s] ability” to conduct a fair autopsy, Hafter writes. “I would therefore like to ask that you reassign this case to another medical examiner, preferably, one who is your most senior medical examiners.”
Hafter also indicates he wouldn’t be surprised if drugs or other intoxicants were found in Berghardt’s system during the autopsy.
“This was a well adjusted, healthy, young male,” Hafter says. “We are not ruling out at this time that Mr. Berghardt was the victim of foul play, that maybe as they say on the streets he was ‘mickeyed’ with something, and dumped out at Red Rock Canyon.”
Hafter says he’s unsure whether the family will file suit against the BLM. The federal agency has declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. Hafter also says there is another video that exists depicting the incident. He believes that video details the fatal shooting with greater accuracy, although he says he hasn’t seen it.
As for the existing video, which shows Berghardt running in between the officers and resisting arrest for almost six minutes, Hafter refused to say whether it shows the young man acted erratically.
“I see two officers who were probably less experienced than Metro or other bureaus in dealing with combative or difficult situations,” Hafter says.
Jacob Hafter, Attorney for D’Andre Berghardt
Dr. William Sousa, UNLV Department of Justice Assistant Graduate Coordinator