LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Police and Gov. Steve Sisolak both said outside groups that were bussed in were to blame for many of the clashes during protests in Nevada.
In Reno, Sisolak blamed those outside agitators for vandalism at City Hall and the courthouse. The National Guard was activated in Reno to protect the state’s capitol buildings.
Sisolak said he would address the injustices protesters were raising.
“If you are a bad actor, and you are from out of state to cause problems in the State of Nevada, you are not welcome in the State of Nevada,” stated Sisolak. “You are not welcome in Reno. If you came to cause destruction, go home, get out of our state, get out of our city.”
Local organizers said they believe peaceful protesters for the Black Lives Matter movement are getting blamed for actions of others: people who are coming to Las Vegas specifically to create chaos.
“The Ahmaud Arbery into the Breonna Taylor into the George Floyd all kind of put me in a place where I am struggling to eat,” said protester Charles Walker. “I was breaking down a lot.”
Walker said he is using his pain to peacefully protest.
“A lot of change comes from being uncomfortable.”
He attended the Black Lives Matter protest Saturday night in downtown Las Vegas, explaining, “My priority going into that night was if I saw anything that I, in my heart, felt like was wrong, I had to say something about it.”
He witnessed vandalism.
“I didn’t want to resort to violence to stop people from spray painting, but I was making sure they knew that’s not why we’re here,” said Walker.
Community organizers told the I-Team much of the chaos is being caused by outsiders.
“I did notice there were some people who were not at all for the black community,” noted organizer Natalie Lena. “I guess they played the role while they’re there just to commit crimes.”
Organizer Joseph Bryant said, “We’ve seen minimal damage in Vegas compared to other cities. But it’s really hard to tell who was a threat from the outside and who was not.”
The Las Vegas Urban League, which provides services to underserved communities, is urging protesters to be vigilant.
“There are some people out there that their own main goal is to cause destruction, and I’m really glad that that distinction is being made,” said Tony Bourne of Las Vegas Urban League, “because it still does allow for the people who want to truly protest the right way peacefully.”
Community organizer Shaheem Faliniko said his focus is a march for peace Wednesday.
“We’re trying to educate the people and let them know to be vigilant. See something. Say something,” urged Faliniko. “If they do see some opportunists or vandals, point it out so that we can handle them accordingly and ensure the safety of all.”
Walker said he will continue to speak for the movement and against bad actors.
“That’s not the purpose of me protesting for my black life,” stated Walker. “That’s not the purpose of any of my black brothers and sisters, any of the black children that were out there. We’re not out here to vandalize anything. We’re out here to speak our truth.”
The March for Peace is scheduled Wednesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall. The memo circulating on social media for the Black Lives Matter event states no arson, no looting, no harming or throwing things at police officers.