LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The City of Henderson must pay $450,000 in damages after a jury decided a former sergeant was negligent and violated a man’s civil rights when he used excessive force against him in 2018. A jury in Clark County delivered a verdict on Wednesday.

“It was never about money. It was about accountability. My only hope is, is that it’s enough that it will make Henderson change their ways. And I worry about that. And that’s how you punish people in our system is, you know, money,” Herndon told the 8 News Now Investigators. “Our hope was that it would be enough to make Henderson change.”

In 2018, Herndon was an assistant store manager at Sportsman’s Warehouse. Police responded to the store after a call about an armed shoplifter. Surveillance video obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators shows officers approach the suspect at gunpoint and then he runs.

Herndon said he worked for the Department of Wildlife as a game warden for more than two decades. He recalls his instincts kicking in.

“I didn’t know what he would do,” Herndon said recalling jumping on the suspect. He never expected what would unfold.

“I saw stars,” he said. “Somebody had like had their arms wrapped around my throat and was lifting me up, which so I peeled fingers off my throat, got hit a few more times in the face.”

Sergeant Michael Gillis is seen on video striking Herndon with an M4 rifle and using a stun gun.

Herndon said he suffered multiple injuries including a concussion, permanent nerve damage and some memory loss. There is one moment after the incident that he can recall though.

“They kind of chuckled and said, ‘Hey, we must have mistaken you for the bad guy,’” Herndon said.

Herndon said he reached out to the city of Henderson with the hopes for accountability. Frustrated that he wasn’t getting results, he connected with the attorney Marjorie Hauf of H&P Law who filed a lawsuit against the City of Henderson, Gillis and five other officers in 2021.

“It was very clear to me that, number one, the police had no plan, that they escalated the situation to a point that it did not need to escalate to,” Hauf told the 8 News Now Investigators.

Gillis testified that he wouldn’t do anything differently and the incident tarnished his reputation, a claim Hauf was ready for. She asked Gillis about his history which included five to ten inquiries that he had used excessive force, a complaint that he had punched a girlfriend in the face in 2006, and allegations that he harassed women at a Starbucks while he was doing his paperwork for the police department in 2015.

Gillis also voided traffic tickets for family members and friends. Gillis admitted that he had been placed on leave with pay four times. He testified that this typically happens following shooting incidents where an individual died or there was substantial bodily harm to that person.

Gillis is now retired.

After a long court battle, the case went to a jury in Clark County, and the verdict was reached on March 6.

The jury decided both Gillis and the city violated Herndon’s civil rights and were negligent.

Hauf said Herndon’s case demonstrated how the Henderson Police Department allowed incidents like that to happen.

“They had no intention of properly investigating either the incident or the internal affairs investigation,” Hauf said. “The whole thing was just a big rubber stamp. We’re just going to say they did the right thing.”

The 8 News Now Investigators reached out to the City of Henderson and did not receive a response by airtime Friday.

The case marked the first civil rights trial in state history under a new rule that came down from the Nevada Supreme Court. Previously, civil rights cases could only be handled in federal court.

To reach investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy, email

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