Jesus Arevalo, the former Las Vegas police officer who was fired for the 2011 shooting of unarmed Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson, will receive disability payments from the state of Nevada for the rest of his life.
Many Nevada taxpayers are upset with the situation because Arevalo filed for disability over 18 months after the shooting occurred, when he feared he would be fired by the department regardless.
The incident that ultimately led to Arevalo’s dismissal from the force occurred on Dec. 12, 2011, when Arevalo fired his rifle into Stanley Gibson’s car after mistaking another officer’s beanbag shot for gunfire. Gibson was pronounced dead on the scene. In the months following the incident, Arevalo was placed on paid suspension as the investigation unfolded.
During Arevalo’s suspension, the officer filed for stress-related disability retirement. He submitted his disability paperwork over 18 months after the incident with Gibson took place, and his request was unanimously approved by the Nevada Public Employee’s Retirement System.
Two weeks after his request for retirement was granted, Arevalo was fired by Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie for his involvement in Gibson's death. Because Arevalo was fired after he was approved for medical retirement, however, he is still approved to receive monthly benefits from the police department.
“[Gillespie] didn’t fire me. I retired,” Arevalo said.
The reality of the situation is not quite so simple. Because Arevalo was approved for disability retirement, he will continue to receive monetary benefits from the department for the remainder of his life. Because he was fired by Gillespie, however, he loses many privileges associated with being a retired police officer, such as the ability to carry a retirement badge or a concealed weapon, according to the state's Public Employee's Retirement System.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Arevalo is scheduled to receive an estimated $23,000 to $28,000 in benefits each year, although Nevada’s Public Employees Retirement System has refused to release official numbers.
Despite public outrage as well as Gillespie’s decision to fire the officer, Arevalo maintains that he was not fully responsible for the burdens he has faced.
“Someone died because of what I did. As a Christian, I have to live with that the rest of my life. That should have never happened. But the department, they came at me and put a target on my back. Every time I turned around there was another hurdle,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo has also claimed that he wont return to the police force, although he’ll likely look for other work.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. De-stress, get the last two years out of my head and out of my heart and try to get better,” Arevalo said about his future plans.
Arevalo's disability pay remians uncontested.