Legal observer detained by officer claims footage does not show full picture of what happened

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New video released by Metro Police from a protest on the Las Vegas Strip this weekend doesn’t tell the whole story, according to one of the people who was involved.

On Tuesday afternoon, Metro Police gave its account of why legal observers at Saturday’s protest. Sheriff Joe Lombardo says the legal observers who were taken into custody were interfering with the events of the protest. According to Metro, the video released Tuesday backs up their claims.

But 8 News NOW Reporter Orko Manna spoke with a legal observer who was detained, and he says the video does not show the full picture.

“They detained me. They brought me back through the line, put zip times around my wrist,” said Christopher Peterson.

Peterson is one of at least six legal observers who was detained Saturday during a Black Lives Matter protest. According to Peterson, moments earlier, Metro police officers permitted him to go through their line, so he could document what was happening, which is what legal observers while being identifiable with red shirts.

“We try to get close enough without interfering or blocking any duty that the officers are doing to collect that information so that we can do our job,” Peterson said.

“It is the job of a legal observer to be neutral,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said. “This did not happen on Saturday.”

But Metro Police are pushing back saying that some legal observers were acting aggressively. The video shows them in between protesters and officers.

Sheriff Lombardo says they were antagonizing and obstructing the police.

“One of the legal observers shoved her cell phone camera up to an officer’s face in a confrontational manner,” Sheriff Lombardo said in Tuesday’s news conference. “Another legal observer left the median divider and approached a police vehicle and leans into the window, seemingly leading the crowd of aggressive protesters.”

Peterson says their proximity to the police is sometimes part of the job.

“Being close enough to an officer to make the necessary observations may put us relatively close to an officer,” he said.

Peterson says he wants more transparency and says the video released by Metro does not paint the full picture.

“If it was inappropriate and it happened, there should be body cam with a mic attached to it, making it clear about what was going on. I would like to see that,” he said.

The attorney representing Peterson, and two other legal observers told 8 News NOW they have their own video, that shows more of the story. That footage will be released later this week.

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