US Attorney’s Office says Las Vegas protest violence could lead to federal prosecutions

Local News

Las Vegas police disperse protesters with gas on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Las Vegas, during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Federal authorities will “investigate, apprehend and charge violent criminal instigators and organizers who have taken over peaceful protests and violated federal law,” according to a new release from the US Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.

US Attorney Nicholas Trutanich for the District of Nevada and US Marshal Gary G. Schofield released statements that their offices intend to protect the public’s “right to peaceful and legitimate protest, and uphold the rule of law.”

“Last night, violence in Las Vegas resulted in the senseless shooting of a police officer while he was protecting our community,” Trutanich said.

“Our thoughts are with the officer and his family. The right to peacefully protest and demonstrate is among the most fundamental rights held by all Americans,” he said. “Violence and looting not only interferes with that right, but they also put lives at risk. Defying those peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, and diverting focus away from the legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death, are unacceptable.”

Officials including Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak have alleged that people from out of state have played a role in escalating violence during protests here.

Attorney General William P. Barr has directed authorities to coordinate federal resources with state and local partners and the regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas.

Schofield said, “We continue to support peaceful protestors and reject what occurred after a peaceful protest over the death of Mr. Floyd last night. The violent criminal acts hijacked the message of the protest. We send our prayers to the officer and his family.”

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