Many reports have been made about the arrests of Clark County's Democrat Public Administrator Robert Telles for the murder of reporter Jeff German. The investigation by Las Vegas' Metropolitan Police Department, the search of Telles' property, the public arrest announcement by Sheriff Joe Lombardo at a press conference, as well as his first trial appearance have recently been made.
It is challenging to conduct reports without conflating or mentioning the political undercurrents that are relevant to the community of Las Vegas, which is looking for answers in a tense moment of shock and grief. However, this isn’t a piece written by an investigative journalist in the field of criminal justice. The is meant to report on the political realm and readers want to know more than the simple facts in this case. It shouldn't be a surprise to learn that there's a partisan connection in the way that Nevada's public officials are responding to this matter.
First, Jeff German, as a popular, well-known and determined journalist was remembered by Nevada's top elected officials after his death with posts from state officials. After it was discovered that the suspect in the murder, Telles, is a sitting Democrat public official, the majority of Nevada's Democrat elected officials have remained quiet. They were devastated by German's death, but were not happy that the murder was solved quickly and that the suspect was charged.
The most notable example is Democrat governor Steve Sisolak, who's in the middle of a competitive race for re-election against GOP candidate and current Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. Sisolak expressed condolences via his personal Twitter account following the announcement of German's death.
Sisolak gave a speech at a campaign event Wednesday, as an arrest warrant was issued for Telles after LVMPD conducted a search warrant at Telles’ residence and the story was reported by Fox News. What Governor Sisolak had to say when an elected official from his state was under investigation and was soon to be charged with murder was:
“I don’t know what’s behind it. There are a lot of rumors out there.”
Rumors? Did the law enforcement base their investigation, request for a search warrant, and arrest on rumours, or on timelines, descriptions, surveillance video, motives, and finally DNA evidence?
Gov. Sisolak is the top official for the state of Nevada. His job is to implement the laws passed by legislators, including the Departments of Public Safety, Personnel, and Corrections. It's difficult to accept his inability to know about the investigation, as we witnessed the murder investigation of a public official from his own political party. All this took place in the state's biggest and most powerful county, Clark. Sisolak had been Clark County Commissioner prior to becoming Governor. It's not just that the issue is completely within his executive sphere. Telles was appointed by Sisolak. In the final quarter of 2019, Governor Sisolak named Telles to the newly established Board of Indigent Defense Services.
Even though Clark County issued a statement that they were looking into legal options for removing Telles from his post, nothing has been discussed concerning the position he has as a state official by any of the agencies or the governor. The Governor hasn't acknowledged the efforts by LVMPD detectives or officers that put their lives at risk by pursuing murder suspects. This is because any acknowledgement of the good work of public servants could result in him losing points in the polls. The police department's efforts won’t be acknowledged by the executive.
Reports have been made about issues at the Athletic Commission, which, under another of Sisolak's appointed officials (and an important Democrat contributor) was transformed into a political Kangaroo Court as a means of targeting Sheriff Lombardo as the political opposition.
On Thursday, following Telles being arrested, booked, the official announcement of LVMPD, and the first court hearing, Sisolak made a statement to a Las Vegas Sun journalist, but it's apparently not mentioned in any state-issued publication yet. Sisolak stated:
“No matter who is responsible—elected official or not—they should be held accountable for their actions.”
The soft responses from Sisolak, given the seriousness of what transpired, are surprising. The crime by a government official in killing an investigative journalist who had published negative information about them must be condemned as a form of domestic terrorism and the threat to democracy that it is. Which is the threat that Americans have been hearing a lot about over the last few weeks. Sisolak called it a “sudden killing” rather than murder. The term “sudden killing” is what a fatal car crash can be called.
Thursday evening, the governor tweeted from his personal/campaign account saying that he's got the backs of local journalists.
“I know that our small community of journalists in Nevada are still feeling the pain of Jeff German’s sudden killing. To all of our Nevada journalists, please stay safe, take care of yourself; and know I’ve got your back.”
The truth is, he hasn’t had their backs. He was ignorant of the police investigation and dismissed the situation to be “rumors going around,” even when Nevada reporters—including German's colleagues from his newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal—played a key role in the investigation.
He hasn't yet admitted or acknowledged that he had was the one who appointed Telles to the Board of Indigent Defense Services. He won't praise law enforcement officers for their swift work since his views are partisan and abrasive—for the same reason he will not describe an act of terrorism as anything other than a “sudden killing.” It was a deliberate killing, Governor. Your chosen candidate, Robert Telles was disguised and wore gloves as he carried out the killing. The suspect walked around the neighborhood and lured his victim from his home. Gov. Sisolak is your advocate until the day one of his appointed officials murders you on political grounds. Then he offers weak responses, pretends to be ignorant, forgets his appointments to state boards, and refuses to acknowledge the police work done by law enforcement to satisfy his desire for control of the state. Make sure you vote carefully, Nevada.