LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Police and legal observers are sharing different versions of what unfolded at a Black Lives Matter protest on the Las Vegas Strip June 13.
Police said they needed to use force to block protesters from walking on I-15, but legal observers said they were peaceful, and officers were heavy handed. Now, there is a question about whether one woman was thrown to the ground.
Belinda Harris wrote in a Facebook post Sunday that she was thrown the ground the night before at the demonstration. Harris is a public defender in Clark County and running for judge in North Las Vegas.
Now, two police departments are saying what Harris is claiming never happened.
“There were some very disparaging comments made on the internet reference officers throwing a person the ground and being very unprofessional, and I didn’t see that in the video,” said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo during a briefing.
Lombardo held the press conference Tuesday after leaders like Gov. Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones raised questions about the arrests of legal observers like Harris last Saturday.
Legal observers are supposed to be neutral, there to document police and protesters.
Lombardo called them antagonistic and showed several short clips. The same day, North Las Vegas released a 10-minute video clip showing Harris in custody and called her claim unfounded.
The video showed interaction between Harris and one of the officers, and at one point, she asks, “These (zip tie cuffs) are super, super tight. Can you, like, fix ’em? Can you redo ’em and fix ’em, please?” Less than three minutes later, her cuffs were removed and replaced shortly after.
In another Facebook post Tuesday night, Harris wrote:
On Thursday, the legal observers’ attorneys held a press conference and described police as heavy handed.
8 News Now asked Harris’ attorney whether she still stands by her claims she was thrown to the ground, to which she replied:
“Miss Harris is. What you don’t see is the manner from which she is accosted from behind without warning, basically. And then, perp walked essentially across Las Vegas Boulevard or across the street to a center median where she is then intricately searched, every pocket, her hair and then put down on the ground. So, if you take issue with the word ‘throw,’ I think the video speaks for itself, and it shows what happened to my client, Miss Harris.”