LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New video shows tense moments of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest on the Las Vegas Strip, where protesters were arrested. It demonstrates how police tracked it unfolding along the Strip, minute-by-minute.
Metro Police observed the June 13 protest on surveillance video, nine days after casinos began to reopen after being shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The demonstration began peacefully near the Bellagio Fountains. Protesters then moved into the street.
While motorcycle officers appeared to block some traffic lanes, a many carrying a flag laid down in front of a police car. Protesters continued through an intersection as officers blocked traffic for them.
The man with a flag appeared to taunt a motorcycle officer. Protesters kneeled in the street, and after a few minutes, the group continued through stopped traffic.
Officers lined up in front of the Tropicana. Police approached the man with a flag, who appeared to resist and got away.
At least one protester was taken into custody.
Protesters crossed the street, then moved south. It appeared some protesters eventually ran.
Later, some legal observers seen in red t-shirts approached a police vehicle. Shortly after, police and protesters continued on, with one protester urging others to stay on the sidewalk.
Numerous police vehicles were near the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Near Russell Road, tensions rose.
Police formed another line, and some protesters confronted them, several of whom were taken into custody.
The group walked toward the entrance of I-15. SWAT vehicles, additional officers who appeared to be in tactical gear and Nevada Highway Patrol got involved. Eventually, protesters retreated.
Some of those involved told 8 News Now they were hit with pepper balls.
“There is a real danger here, and particularly on Saturday night, when it appeared that the protesters were trying to access I-15 to occupy the freeway,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo during a press conference.
Lombardo held the briefing three days after criticism over several legal observers being arrested. He showed several short video clips of legal observers. They are tasked with remaining neutral and documenting the protests.
“Several of the observers were actively engaged in the protests,” Lombardo stated. “These people were antagonizing and obstructing our officers.”
What the video does not clarify is why some protesters and legal observers were taken into custody, while others were not. Lombard said they were not following commands to disperse.
“It’s definitely going to rub people the wrong way because you have this large group that is just absolutely peaceful,” said protester Ray Gaspard. “I mean, it’s a confrontational kind of matter like no one wants to back down, and then it becomes kind of a problem.”
They are two different stories from police and protesters about the same event.
A public defender for Clark County, who is also a judicial candidate in North Las Vegas, claimed police threw her to the ground. Police said that never happened.
The surveillance video did not show everything that unfolded at the protest. However, none of the surveillance video rom the Strip cameras the I-Team obtained show Harris being thrown to the ground by police.