LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three hours into what started as a peaceful protest in downtown Las Vegas became chaotic as over 1,000 protesters taunted police and threw water bottles and police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd.
According to Metro police, the protesters vandalized cars, broke windows and threw objects including Molotov cocktails. Police made several arrests, but do not yet have an exact number. Injuries are also unknown at this time.
There were also reports of looting involving around 50 people at the EZ Pawn shop in the 200 block of Las Vegas Boulevard, police said.
Metro told 8 News Now that it was “necessary” to deploy tear gas.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Container Park around 7 p.m to take part in the Black Lives Matter protest. Police estimated the crowd grew as large as 2,000.
The protest was to remember George Floyd, the man who died in Minneapolis police custody earlier this week. Protesters chanted his name as they marched from the Downtown Container Park to Las Vegas City Hall and the Clark County Detention Center.
The crowd then headed back toward the Container Park and remained mostly peaceful until around 10 p.m. when some protesters started taunting police and throwing water bottles at them. As tensions rose, police deployed the tear gas.
Following Friday’s protests, Metro Police, community and faith leaders held a news conference and are asked members of the community to “keep demonstrations peaceful and lawful.”
Saturday’s demonstration comes after hundreds protested to call for justice and action on the Las Vegas Strip Friday night.
Metro Police ended up arresting 80 protesters after they say the peaceful demonstration turned violent. Twelve LVMPD officers were injured during the incident that shutdown parts of Las Vegas Boulevard Friday.
Families United 4 Justice-Las Vegas, a local collective of families impacted by police murder and police brutality survivors, took part in the protest Saturday to “express their solidarity to the George Floyd family and all the recent racist and extrajudicial assaults, and speak about how their loved ones were senselessly murdered, or how they themselves were brutalized by police.”
George Floyd’s death has sparked outrage all across the country after video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck as he called out “I can’t breathe.”
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was taken into custody Friday and faces charges of 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.