One is certain she saw a knife. Another says he watched an officer put his boot to her neck and hold it there. A third thinks the EMTs who responded to the officer-involved shooting were disturbed by how police handled the body.

In the month and a half since a Henderson police officer fatally shot ice cream lady Deshira Selimaj, private investigators hired by the Albanian woman’s family have found and interviewed 10 witnesses who contradict the police department’s contention that Selimaj attacked a cop and thus had to be shot.

So far, three of these witnesses have been subpoenaed by the district attorney’s office to testify at the coroner’s inquest slated to begin April 10. None of them thinks the shooting was fair.

One man said he was so bothered by what he witnessed that Tuesday afternoon at the corner of Sunridge Heights and Pecos Ridge parkways that he went home and vomited. Then he wrote up a description of exactly what he observed and sealed it in an envelope. He wanted to keep the real story, or his story at least, safe.

Critics say it isn’t. The real story, that is. Not safe because it’s going to be ground through a coroner’s inquest process, which is, as Gary Peck puts it, broken. Peck, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, and a “working group” including local members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spent a fair part of last year working to change the inquest process, asking for several modifications, the most notable of which was to allow a representative of the deceased to pose questions aloud, in open court.

This request was rejected by the Clark County Commission, as well as the Police Protective Association, a Metro Police officers union that was part of Peck’s working group. So the Selimaj family, and its attorneys, will be required to pose any questions they may have of police or witnesses through the long-standing means — in writing to a hearing master who will screen the questions and determine whether they will be posed at all.


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