weather icon Clear

Strip protest of Minnesota man’s death led to 80 arrests, police say

Updated May 30, 2020 - 3:49 pm

Las Vegas police said they arrested 80 people Friday night during a protest on the Strip.

Twelve officers were injured, the department said Saturday, although the extent of the officers’ injuries was unclear. Two of the people arrested were journalists; police did not comment on or acknowledge the journalists’ arrests in a Saturday afternoon news release, despite a request for comment that was emailed to the department Saturday morning.

Las Vegas Chief Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum said Saturday that none of the people arrested on the misdemeanor charge of failure to disperse should have had to post bail. Due to the coronavirus, those arrested on misdemeanors should be released on their own recognizance, with few exceptions, she said.

Anyone who remained jailed on the charge as of Saturday afternoon was being processed, and would not need to post bail to be released, Baucum said. Those who posted bail will get refunds, she said.

“That should never have happened,” Baucum said. “But there was a miscommunication from one of the chiefs at the jail — I don’t know who that was — to a supervisor at the jail via a telephone call to Las Vegas Justice Court pretrial services. I’m still working through that.”

“These people should have never been held on these misdemeanors,” she said. “It’s a travesty.”

The Review-Journal identified 50 people who were still listed in the Clark County Detention Center website as of about 1 p.m., all of whom face a failure-to-disperse misdemeanor, which appeared to be connected to the protest. Thursday was the first day this year that someone had been booked into the jail in connection with a failure to disperse charge, according to booking log records.

Metro said protest was violent

Police on Saturday afternoon characterized the protest, which occurred in conjunction with others nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, as violent and said demonstrators damaged property. Graffiti was seen in multiple places on the Strip during the protest, and demonstrators were seen throwing water bottles.

A small group of protesters threw rocks at officers later Friday night. Metro said that several officers were injured by the rocks.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo was quoted in the release stating that the department “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,” he said. “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.”

On Friday, Metro said that one officer was hospitalized with a hand injury. The department on Saturday did not say if any of the other 11 officers were hospitalized.

The two journalists who were arrested — Review-Journal photographer Ellen Schmidt and photographer Bridget Bennett — also face misdemeanor failure-to-disperse charges. Both were released from jail early Saturday after posting bail.

A statement released by Gov. Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson condemned Floyd’s death at the hands of “a despicable and loathsome Minneapolis police officer.”

“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,” the statement said. “We respect and defend your right to protest, but please express yourselves peacefully.”

Dispersal orders

Metro on Saturday said the protest, which reached nearly 400 people spread throughout the Strip at its peak, escalated when “a group of agitators arrived to ratchet up tensions.” Metro officers then began ordering the crowd to disperse, which happens “when a crowd has become unruly or unsafe for citizens,” the release said.

The department said that after “several orders for the crowd to disperse,” officers began arresting people who didn’t follow orders. A few people were also seen being led away in handcuffs earlier, before dispersal orders were given.

Officers arresting people were seen tackling protesters, oftentimes with multiple officers arresting and tackling one person. The officers pushed a group of about 100 protesters onto Flamingo Road, east of the Strip, and were seen rushing the crowd in order to get people to leave.

Metro said that “property damage” was seen in several areas on the Strip, which “appears to have occurred as small groups splintered off from the large crowd.”

“As police prepare for another round of possible protests on Saturday, they ask members of the public to keep demonstrations peaceful and lawful,” the release said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Staff writer David Ferrara contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Arrests Made In Murder Investigation
Nickolas Vonalst, Monika Gonzalez, and a juvenile were arrested following a murder investigation that began on June 23rd, 2020. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/YouTube)
The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a homicide
The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a homicide at the area of East Flamingo Road and Palos Verde Street on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Police investigate officer-involved shooting in northern Las Vegas - Video
An individual who police say was brandishing a sword was shot and injured by Las Vegas police, prompting a barricade situation in the central Las Vegas Valley on Monday, June 23. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman steals truck, fires at officer - Video
Shanita Hearns, 34, of Las Vegas shot at Henderson Police officers after stealing a truck from a gas station at Horizon Drive and Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson on May 31. She was eventually arrested near Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard after Nevada Highway Patrol officers jumped a median to ram into the side of the truck. (Henderson Police Department)
Mobbed Up - Part Five teaser
A look at some of the interesting reminders of a mob life in the home of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, featured on the fifth episode of the Mobbed Up podcast. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shootings during Las Vegas protest leave 1 dead, officer in critical condition
A Las Vegas police officer was shot and critically injured Monday night. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police briefing on shooting during Black Lives Matter protest
Sheriff Joe Lombardo briefs the media on shootings during the Black Lives Matter protest that left one man dead and a Metro officer in critical condition on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Customer reacts to store looting
Longtime customer Najja Hashim talks about the looting of a neighborhood convenience store. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search continues for homicide suspects - Video
In October 2017, 62-year-old David Rathbun was reported missing by family members and later found deceased in Arizona. The Las Vegas police homicide section is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 55-year-old Charles Ausiello and 45-year-old Jolene Hibbs who are suspects in Rathbun’s death. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two men were stabbed Thursday morning at a central Las Vegas home - Video
Two men were stabbed at a central Las Vegas home, Thursday morning, May 21, leaving both with life-threatening injuries. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Cellphone tower destroyed In Nye County - Video
The Nye County Sheriff's Office is investigating a cellphone tower being destroyed in Pahrump. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Shots Fired in Downtown Las Vegas
Police reported that they were investigating a shooting in which a suspect fired a weapon at officers on Fremont Street on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Police briefing on officer-involved shooting northeast of Las Vegas - VIDEO
Metro Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter gives a briefing from the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Apex Road and Interstate 15, northeast of Las Vegas, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police ID man killed in officer-involved shooting - VIDEO
A 24-year-old man with a sawed-off shotgun was shot dead by Las Vegas police in front of a red car the man allegedly tried to steal toward the end of car a chase Tuesday with speeds of more than 100 mph through multiple areas of the valley. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide after a man was found deceased in the parking lot of a strip mall at 9640 W. Tropicana Ave. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Homicide briefing
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate homicide
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate officer-involved shooting in east valley - VIDEO
Las Vegas police on Tuesday were investigating an officer-involved shooting in the east valley. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye county detective returns home from hospital - VIDEO
A Nye County Sheriff’s Office detective who was shot in March was released from the hospital Wednesday and is recovering at home with family. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)