/  01.22.2022

A 25-year-old Black man, who was arrested and misidentified as a white felon twice his age, is suing two law enforcement agencies in Nevada. 

According to the Associated Press, Shane Lee Brown is suing the Las Vegas and Henderson Police Departments for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, negligence and other wrongful conduct after they mistook him for Shane Neal Brown — a 51 year-old white man. 

The lawsuit describes Shane Neal Brown as a white man with a bushy white beard who is taller than Shane Lee Brown.

Shane Lee Brown is seeking at least $50,000 in damages, because he and his attorney, E. Brent Bryson, believe police and corrections officers failed to perform “any due diligence” — including comparing photos, fingerprints, dates of birth, physical descriptions or criminal identification numbers — following his client’s arrest.

“They would have easily determined that Shane Lee Brown had been misidentified as the person sought in the warrant,” Bryson wrote in the complaint. 

AP reports that the lawsuit states that Shane Lee Brown repeatedly told Henderson and Las Vegas police officers and supervisors that he was not the white “Shane Brown” named in the felony warrant. 

The outlet states that Shane Lee Brown was arrested in January 2020 during a traffic stop by Henderson police. He was sent to a Henderson city jail before being transferred in custody two days later to Las Vegas police. He was kept in jail for six days in Las Vegas until he appeared before a judge who ordered him to be freed.

Shane Neal Brown, the white man officers had an arrest warrant for, was convicted of a felony in 1994. His arrest warrant stems from a November 2019 incident in Las Vegas where he was accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported that several days after Shane Lee Brown was released, Las Vegas police learned that Shane Neal Brown was in jail in San Bernardino County, California.

Based on court records, Shane Neal Brown accepted a plea deal and was sentenced in February 2020 to up to six years in prison with credit for time already served. 

Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the Henderson Police Department, said the city attorney was reviewing the lawsuit and would address its claims in court.

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