LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro Police say 80 protesters were arrested Friday after peaceful demonstrations turned violent on the Las Vegas Strip as hundreds joined the rest of the country in a call for change following the death of George Floyd.
A total of 12 LVMPD officers were injured after aggressors threw rocks that hit them. Property “in small pockets throughout the Strip” were damaged, according to the news release from Metro.
The death of George Floyd has sparked outrage all across the country after video surfaced of his death while in police custody.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was taken into custody Friday. He faces charges of 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.
The incident set off a series of fires and looting on the streets of Minneapolis, as well as protests all across the county, including here in Las Vegas.
Metro provided a few updates throughout Friday evening, including the first reports of approximately 30-40 arrests made and two officers injured.
During the briefings, Metro reiterated that police are there to ensure that the public can exercise their First Amendment rights, but will arrest people for acts of violence and vandalism.
“The officers and everyone at the LVMPD sees this situation with great empathy. While we understand people are hurting, we are here to see that more people aren’t hurt in clashes. It does not serve the memory of a man to destroy, loot, and hurt others in his honor. It does honor him by standing up for what is right. And in that case, the LVMPD will stand with its citizens as they exercise their freedom to speak out.”LVMPD Sheriff Joe Lombardo
Police say Friday’s demonstration began peacefully, with about 200 to 300 protesters gathered by the Miracle Mile shops near Las Vegas and Tropicana Boulevards to protest.
After the protest began to wind down, police say a group of agitators arrived and created tension. Officers then ordered the crowd to disperse after agreeing it became “unruly or unsafe for citizens.”
Metro says its officers issued several orders for the crowd to disperse, but the citizens who refused to comply were arrested.
As police prepare for another round of possible protests on Saturday, they ask members of the community to “keep demonstrations peaceful and lawful.”
On Saturday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Nevada State Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson released the following joint statement about last night’s protests in Las Vegas:
“George Floyd was killed by a despicable and loathsome Minneapolis police officer. He and the other officers who watched, and didn’t come to Mr. Floyd’s aid, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Of that, we have no doubt.
Here in Nevada, while racial, social, and cultural divides still exist, we have made significant strides in confronting these schisms. In the past 20 years, community, law enforcement, and government leaders have been working together in efforts to address the issues that divide us and the tragic consequences of bigotry.
In just the past few years, Nevadans have elected the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Speaker of the Assembly, Attorney General, Congressman and the first Latina to the United States Senate. Despite those proud accomplishments there is so much more we must do to ensure social justice, equal opportunity, better education, and the overall eradication of all forms of racism in our communities and our State.
To the protesters…we hear you and we are listening, and more importantly, we invite you to be part of a constructive solution, and the healing our community desperately needs. We respect and defend your right to protest, but please express yourselves peacefully.
And, be assured we will not rest until everyone in our community feels safe and respected.”Governor Sisolak, Attorney General Ford & Speaker Frierson