Troubled Nevada lawmaker banned from legislature
Created on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:32 Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:36 Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:32 Written by Associated Press Hits: 639
This Feb. 9, 2011 photo shows Assemblyman Steven Brooks on the third day of the 2011 legislative session in Carson City, Nev. A court date was canceled for the Nevada state lawmaker hospitalized for a medical and mental evaluation after being accused of threatening a state Democratic Assembly leader. (AP Photo / Las Vegas Sun, Sam Morris,File)
by Ken Ritter
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers on Monday banned troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks from the legislature and placed him on leave while an independent investigation into his recent bizarre behavior is conducted.
Brooks won't be allowed inside legislative buildings while the investigation is ongoing, Assembly Majority Leader William Horne said. He's also prohibited from acting as a legislator from outside the legislature's main building.
"We are concerned about the safety of people in the legislative buildings, as well as his ability to serve," Horne told reporters. "It's more than a distraction here for us being able to conduct our business."
Horne, D-Las Vegas, is chairing the Assembly committee reviewing whether Brooks is fit to serve in his elected position. The committee's decision Monday night to place him on leave followed his arrest in Las Vegas on Sunday after his wife called 911 to report a domestic disturbance.
That incident was the latest in a series of public acts that have unfolded since Brooks, 40, was arrested Jan. 19 on a felony allegation that he threatened Assembly Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick in North Las Vegas.
Last week, the Democrat from North Las Vegas announced he would take a three-week leave from the Legislature. He made the declaration just after Assembly Democrats expelled him from his party caucus.
Kirkpatrick has called Brooks' arrests a distraction for lawmakers who began their 120-day session a week ago. Brooks had drawn legislative police escorts in the main building, and officers wouldn't allow anyone to ride in an elevator with him.
Earlier Monday, Brooks told The Associated Press that police attacked him during the arrest on Sunday.
"I showed them my Assemblyman badge. They told me to get on the ground," Steven Brooks said during a brief telephone interview. "They tried to kill me."
Brooks was arrested a little after 12:30 a.m. Sunday on misdemeanor domestic battery and obstructing an officer charges that could get him up to two years in jail. He later was freed from the Clark County jail on $4,000 bail. Charges weren't immediately filed. Brooks is due to face a judge April 11.
His attorney, Mitchell Posin, said Brooks plans to plead not guilty and fight the charges "and any other charges that may arise."
In separate interviews, Posin and Brooks said Brooks had been scheduled to undergo surgery Monday for a leg ailment. They did not provide specifics, but Posin said the medical procedure was neither psychological nor psychiatric in nature. Brooks said the procedure was postponed due to his weekend jail stay.
In an arrest report made public Monday, police allege Brooks threw punches and at one point grabbed at an officer's gun as they scuffled in a driveway outside his wife's northwest Las Vegas home.
Brooks and his wife, Ada, are estranged after 13 years of marriage. Brooks told the AP they spent Saturday evening together.
Ada Brooks told police that Steven Brooks arrived unexpectedly at her house, said he wanted to retrieve his television and other belongings before heading to Carson City, then began yelling at her and physically restraining her by grabbing her hair on both sides of her head.
Police said Ada Brooks had a cut lip that she said she may have gotten when Steven Brooks pushed her face against a kitchen counter.
The couple also spent time together upstairs in the house before Ada Brooks ran out the door to a neighbor's house to summon police.
Officers found Brooks in the driveway, allegedly refusing to remove his hands from his pockets and resisting efforts to arrest him.
In his phone interview with the AP, which lasted less than three minutes, Brooks didn't answer a question about whether he tried to take an officer's gun. He pleaded for someone to help him, then hung up. He didn't accept a follow-up telephone call.
The arrest came with Brooks free on $100,000 bail on the Kirkpatrick threat allegations. In that case, police said they began looking for Brooks after being told he was angry with Kirkpatrick and was driving around North Las Vegas with a gun and ammunition in a shoebox in his car a little more than two weeks before the Legislature convened. Charges haven't been filed, and Brooks has denied wrongdoing.
The prosecutor in that case, Deputy Nevada Attorney General Thom Gover, said Monday he was reviewing the North Las Vegas police investigation.
On Jan. 25, five days after posting bail in the threat case, Brooks was detained and hospitalized for five days for a mental evaluation. Las Vegas police reported summoning medical personnel after officers responded to a disturbance at Brooks' grandmother's house that officials say involved a sword. No injuries were reported.
Contact Ken Ritter at http://twitter.com/krttr
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