We left off talking about the commitment by the new U.S. Attorney in Nevada, Nicholas Trutanich, to combat human trafficking, that is, child prostitution (i.e. the rape of girls too young to legally consent to sexual acts) in Las Vegas. Here’s some shocking information.
About a year ago, I got a tip that the “Big Pimp” aka “Gorgeous Dre” (Andre Taylor) the predatory exploiter of children whom I led off our office’s pimp initiative against in 1999, was now working in law enforcement in Seattle. I found that to be incredible; it could not possibly be true.
A little investigation on Google and – what do you know? Andre Taylor is (or was) the co-chair of the city’s “Serious and Deadly Force Investigation Taskforce.”
So this scumbag was going to review police use of force in Seattle?
This all began when his brother–Che Taylor–who was a multi-convicted felon, including rape and robbery, was shot to death in a confrontation with Seattle police. At the time, Taylor was under surveillance in an undercover drug operation, and was observed reaching for what police believed to be a firearm. As a felon, Che Taylor was a person prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. After the shooting, police recovered both a handgun and drugs.
Outraged, Andre Taylor started a pressure group called “Not This Time” which I am told received “subsidies” from the city–as well as, among others, the Seattle Seahawks. It sounded like he was trying to become the next Jesse Jackson.
In an attempt to appease the “community”, the city established a panel which managed to change the law regarding police use of force through initiative I-940. This bill amended prior law that police can be criminally prosecuted for using deadly force only if it’s shown they acted with malice. The standard is now whether a reasonable officer would have done the same thing. The bill was the first was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in 2019.
I have recently been advised that Andre Taylor is seeking the establishment of a position for him as liaison between the police and the community, in cases of alleged police “use of force.”
Given Andre Taylor’s criminal history, I was beyond shocked to learn that the Mayor had appointed him to any job.
Then I learned that she is the former United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, appointed by President Obama!
Three weeks ago I sent the mayor the following e-mail:
Hon. Mayor Durken,
I, like you, am a former federal prosecutor.
Approximately a year ago I became aware of your initiative to de-escalate police violence. I am not conversant with the specifics; on it’s face it sounded like a worthy endeavor. However, I was appalled to learn that Andre Taylor is, or was, a co-chair of your “Serious and Deadly Force Investigation Task Force”.
I would respectfully suggest that while you succeeded in passing Substitute House Bill 1064, his involvement critically undermines the credibility of your effort and your city. I must conclude that nobody involved ever performed their due diligence in vetting Taylor with even a cursory background check.
In 1999 I prosecuted Taylor at the at the request of Las Vegas Metro Vice. They had been becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of state action against pimps who routinely trafficked juvenile girls along the “track”, so I suggested that Metro’s point man, Sgt. Vic Vigna, bring me the offender they thought most worthy of federal attention.
They selected a notorious, child-abusing, low-life who called himself “Gorgeous Dre” or alternatively “The Big Pimp”: Andre Lavon Taylor. Metro identified him as a major interstate panderer of juveniles, and added that he was so obnoxiously ego-maniacal that he regularly chided the police, guaranteeing them that he would never be successfully prosecuted, because none of his girls would ever turn on him.
We took a decidedly different approach to these cases than did the state; the kids were victims, not criminals.
In my case alone we proved that Taylor moved several girls to and from several U.S. cities, making a small fortune; that he never made a penny from his claimed rap music business; and that he had never filed federal income taxes.
We intervened regarding a 16 year old victim at the request of her grandmother, resulting in her return to Florida. Taylor orchestrated and paid for her travel back to Las Vegas, and within 24 hours of the child reuniting with him in Vegas she was on a plane to SF with him and hooking for him again. In our case there was travel between Florida, Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco–three girls total.
It may be of interest to you that during our investigation, we learned that ”Executive Entertainment,” his alleged music business office, came back to a mail drop, and the mail drop referenced an apartment in Seattle. He also had an arrest in Blaine, Washington on 11/22/92 for failure to appear on a traffic ticket and a domestic violence arrest in Seattle on 10/21/82. He was also arrested in Seattle on a California fugitive warrant 1/19/94.
According to United States Probation, as of 2000, his record included:
He was convicted of pandering here in Clark County (NV) on 3/8/98.
He had arrests for Pandering in SF
He had arrests for living off the earnings of a prostitute in Las Vegas on
Under “Misc” he had arrests for
– ADW – LA 10/21/82 (juvenile)
– Battery – LA 7/26/95
Of course he was also convicted in our “inaugural” pimp case.
I’d lost track of Taylor since his sentencing and then I learned of his new employment with the City of Seattle. As you must know, given the above history he would NEVER be considered for ANY federal employment, particularly in a quasi-law enforcement capacity. Moreover, I have no idea what he was doing after his release from federal prison and before your city hired him.
I have been told that Taylor is seeking a new position as liaison between the police and the community in police use of force matters.
In my view, this would be highly inappropriate, and seems a significant step backwards in the era of #MeToo.
I thought the above should be brought to your attention.
Thomas M. O’Connell, Esq.
U.S. DOJ (ret.)
At an event held for me when I left the Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2003, our U.S. Attorney, Kathryn Landreth, called the pimp initiative the most important work I’d done. Call me old fashioned, but I believe Andre Taylor is one of the last people whose credentials merit sitting in judgment of the police, who protect children from predators–like him. I have not heard back from Her Honor, perhaps I will at some future date.
When I left the office in 2003 the program fell into the very capable hands of Howard Zlotnick, with whom I’d founded our version of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”). Fortunately, there was a constant–IRS Special Agent Shaun Healy, who would help pass the reins from me to Howard and other AUSAs when Howard himself left for greener pastures.
Interestingly, in 2006, the then U.S. Attorney, Daniel Bogden, whom I used to supervise as OCDETF boss when he was a line AUSA in Reno, disingenuously credited the program to another AUSA. She received a Director’s Award (kind of a big deal) for her–that is my–efforts in 1999. Given the precedent our 9th Circuit opinion created and the extensive press coverage of the case, even Bogden had to have known the other AUSA did not start the program. Only in Vegas!
In an ironic twist, she later filed an EEO action against Bogden’s Office and…. I was called as a witness in a hearing, via telephone, while working in as an AUSA in the Northern District of California. Only in Vegas!
Moving on, note that the Las Vegas Sun article linked in Part I revealed that a 2011 report by the nonprofit Shared Hope International graded Nevada with an “F” in dealing with facilitators, victims and traffickers. Just one of several programs we initiated back in the late 90’s which had practically died on the vine after we (Howard, Peter Ko, and myself) left, all within a year of each other after Bogden’s appointment. (Matt Parrella also joined the exodus, although the program he headed was not in my section, but in White Collar–Cybercrime.)
However there’s good news – the article goes on to report that in 2019 they earned an “A”. Hopefully Mr. Trutanich can keep the ball rolling on this worthy endeavor, as he has said he will with PSN.