Bodycam footage shows the moment a black man was arrested under a warrant for a white man with the same name after police said: ‘I’m pretty sure it’s going to be you.’
Shane Lee Brown, 25, was arrested on a bench warrant and spent six days in jail after being pulled over for a traffic violation on January 8, 2020, despite telling police repeatedly that he was the ‘wrong guy.’
He did not have identification at the time, but told the men his social security number – which can include a middle name. When law enforcement ran it, a bench warrant popped up for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Shane Neal Brown, then-49, was busted for a gun charge in 2019, but failed to appear in court in November of that year. A judge put out a bench warrant for his arrest at the time, ordering no bail if he was found.
Shane Neal Brown’s rap sheet dates back to a felony in 1994 and he was charged five times in 2019 alone. He’s described as being an older white man with brown hair and blue eyes, has a beard and stands at 5-feet-11-inches tall. Shane Lee Brown, who was 23 at the time, is a 5-foot-7 black man who told police he had only been arrested for traffic violations.
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Shane Lee Brown (left), a black man, 25, was wrongfully arrested after being mistaken for then-49-year-old white man, Shane Neal Brown (right) on January 8, 2020. The young man told multiple officers that he was not the right man, but authorities failed to review reports, keeping him in jail for six days
Bodycam footage shows the moment an officer told Shane Lee Brown: ‘I’m pretty sure it’s going to be you,’ despite Lee Brown insistently asking for them to run it again
Shane Lee Brown was pulled over for a traffic violation on January 8, 2020. Henderson police still say he was ‘lawfully’ arrested for traffic violation and driving under a suspended license
Despite telling ‘numerous unknown Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers and supervisors’ that he was not the same Shane Brown they were looking for, officers failed to properly verify their suspect and filed paperwork on January 10, 2020, saying they had ‘Shane Neal Brown’ in custody.
New bodycam footage, obtained by News 8 Now, shows Shane Lee Brown being pulled over around 4:44pm for not having ‘any headlights on at all.’
Brown tells them his license is ‘suspended’ and he is going to court the next day to take care of it.
Later on, the footage shows Brown sitting on the curb while two officers discuss arresting him. One officer can be heard saying: ‘If he has court tomorrow, we don’t want to arrest him. That would be dumb.’
His SCOPE number, a system used throughout Nevada police and courts, shows the man was born in 1971 and white with blue eyes and brown hair
Several mug shots for Shane Neil Brown are filed under his SCOPE number, including two before the 2020 arrest
Minutes later, the officers approach and tell him they need to ‘figure some stuff out.’
‘You got arrested for something with a weapon,’ he said. ‘Not ringing a bell?’
‘No, wrong guy,’ Shane Lee Brown responded. ‘I’ve never been arrested for weapons charges.’
But the officers tell him the warrant came back ‘totally matching you.’
‘Not much else we can do,’ one of them said.
He reportedly pleaded with officers to double-check his identity, but the officer instead its registering under this social security number. They discuss further what to do and decide to tell the jail that he has ‘a weapons charge.’
They handcuff Shane Lee Brown, who reportedly asked them if ‘good to go’ as long as the felony wasn’t him, but the officer told him he’s ‘almost 100 percent’ sure the Brown they were arresting was the correct one.
‘I’m pretty sure it’s going to be you,’ he replied, according to News 8 Now.
However, under Shane Neil Brown’s SCOPE number, a special data shared by police and courts in Nevada, showed two mug shots prior to Shane Lee Brown’s arrest.
Shane Lee Brown spent six days in Henderson and Clark County jails while the real Brown they wanted was already being held in custody in San Bernardino County, California, Authorities discovered this on January 22, 2020.
A public defender (left) showed the court at the bench warrant hearing the two mug shots of the man and the judge immediately released Shane Lee Brown on January 14, 2020
Where were the Shanes during the mix-up
January 8, 2020: Shane Lee Brown is arrested in Henderson, Nevada, after authorities ran his name and found a bench warrant under ‘Shane Brown.’ The warrant actually belonged to Shane Neal Brown
January 8-10: Shane Lee Brown was housed in Henderson Detention Center
January 10-14: Shane Lee Brown was transferred to Clark County
January 14: His public defender showed a judge the two men’s mug shots at a bench warrant hearing. Shane Lee Brown was immediately released
January 22: Las Vegas authorities found out that Shane Neal Brown was being housed at San Bernardino County in California
After being arrested on January 8, Shane Lee Brown was taken to Henderson Detention Center, where he spent two days. On January 10, authorities transferred the young man to the Clark County Detention Center, where he stayed until he was released four days later.
They also filed paperwork saying that Shane Neil Brown was in custody.
Shane Lee Brown would not get out of jail until January 14, 2020, when he attended a bench warrant hearing and his public defender told the court they had the wrong guy. He was immediately released by Judge Joe Hardy after an unidentified public defender showed a side-by-side photo comparison of the two men.
Shane Neal Brown would appear in court later that month and accepted a plea deal.
The younger Brown is suing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) for $550,000 for the mix-up, seeking $500,000 under federal law and $50,000 under state law. The Atlanta Black Star reported that he filed the suit on January 7.
‘Had any of the LVMPD police or corrections officers performed any due diligence, such as comparing Shane Lee Brown’s booking photo against the existing mug shot belonging to the world, white ”Shane Brown” named in the warrant, they would have easily determined that Shane Lee Brown has been misidentified as the subject of the warrant,’ the lawsuit states.
‘It started with being pulled over — simple traffic violation, and then it escalated into something polar opposite, More or less a nightmare,’ Shane Lee Brown told News 8 Now in January.
However, Henderson police’ told New 8 Now that Shane Lee Brown was ‘correctly arrested’ for ‘driving with a suspended license and for a contempt of court, failure to pay warrant issued by Henderson Municipal Court.’
‘While his arrest was lawful, we regret that he was misidentified in our system and have put measures in place and improved training procedures to prevent this from happening in the future,’ a police spokesperson told News 8 Now.