Hours After Expulsion, Ex-Nevada Lawmaker Forcibly Arrested In California

NPR icon by Korva Coleman
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Las Vegas Metropolitan Police

Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks is jailed in San Bernadino County, Calif., following a high-speed freeway chase with Barstow police and members of the California Highway Patrol. Just hours earlier, Brooks had been kicked out of the lower house of the Nevada State Legislature for making threats and behaving erratically.

Barstow Police Chief Albert Ramirez said the incident began when Brooks summoned a tow truck because of a flat tire, and then had a disagreement with the driver.

"We just know the tow truck driver was uncomfortable enough to call us for assistance," Ramirez told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "He said the subject was acting strange."

California Highway Patrol officer Don Spiker told the paper that Brooks led officers on a 15-mile chase at speeds faster than 80 mph. Police told the Contra Costa Times that Brooks threw metal objects out of his vehicle during the chase. The CHP placed a spike strip on Interstate 15, which finally forced him to stop, the paper reported.

In the report, officers said a police dog first approached Brooks, who began to attack the dog, resulting in an eye injury to the animal. Police then tried to handcuff him, and when he allegedly resisted, they used a Taser to subdue him.

The Gazette-Journal has a cellphone video taken by a witness of Brooks' arrest. The video, which has several expletives in it, shows police advancing on Brooks' SUV. The men then disappear from view but reappear by the hood of the vehicle, struggling until Brooks is forced to the ground out of view. One officer then appears to punch Brooks three times, while another officer appears to kick him.

Brooks faces several charges, including throwing a handgun out of the car at a police car, according to The Associated Press. The AP reports this is the third time Brooks has been arrested. He was detained in Nevada last January after he threatened fellow Democrat and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. He was arrested again in February following a disturbance at the home of his estranged wife. Police say he tried to grab the gun of the officer who responded to the dispute.

The Nevada Assembly voted on Thursday to expel Brooks from their ranks, the first lawmaker to ever be forced out. Assembly Majority Leader William Horne said lawmakers didn't feel safe with Brooks in the building. The decision was taken after a select committee reviewed confidential information about Brooks and recommended his ouster.

The full report on Brooks was not released, says the Las Vegas Sun, because the material was deemed private. But some information was public, including his five-day hospital stay for a psychiatric evaluation in January, and his failed attempts to buy a rifle and body armor. After Thursday's expulsion vote, the Sun reports, Brooks responded by phoning a few reporters and vowing revenge.

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