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5th night of Black Lives Matter protests ends peacefully

Updated June 3, 2020 - 6:37 am

A Black Lives Matter protest that began near UNLV on Tuesday night and lasted nearly five hours ended peacefully for the first time in five straight days of demonstrations in Las Vegas.

Protesters began gathering around the university at 7 p.m.; shortly before midnight, they had left area peacefully.

It was a welcome contrast to protests over the past four nights that each ended in violence. At the tail end of the protests on Monday night, a Metropolitan Police Department officer was shot in the head and critically injured outside of Circus Circus, and an armed man was fatally shot by police downtown.

11:52 p.m.

A peaceful end

Protesters have dispersed. Fewer than 20 remain, heading toward the boulevard.

Police loading up and leaving while things were escalating was a positive move, and it paid off in no arrests, no injuries and no property destruction.

– James Schaeffer and Mick Akers

11:35 p.m.

To the Strip

A majority of the group has left, but the remaining protesters are heading toward Las Vegas Boulevard.

A black marcher and a black police officer discuss their experiences while the group moves toward the Strip.

“It’s my business to help my people,” the protester said. “How are you going to help my people?”

James Schaeffer and Mick Akers

11:22 p.m.

Many police vehicles leave

Demonstrators asked the police to take a knee with them. Officers responded by loading up and leaving, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, while protesters chant, “go home!”

Seven or eight squad cars left the parking lot, but there is still about the same number of police vehicles in the street on Harmon Avenue behind the protesters on the sidewalk.

Things seem calm.

Mick Akers and Shea Johnson

11:11 p.m.

7-Eleven standoff

About 70 protesters gathered outside a7-Eleven. There’s a heavy police presence, but no dispersal orders.

“There is no riot here,” the protesters chant. “Why are you in riot gear?”

– Shea Johnson and Mick Akers

11 p.m.

Tension rising

It got eerily quiet as the police presence increased at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue, with a few sporadic chants and the hum of a chopper. Things grew tense as SWAT lined up in the center lane.

Shea Johnson and Mick Akers

10:38 p.m.

‘Walk with us’

Protesters chanted, “Walk with us,” while passing a line of police officers. The officers did not respond.

Mick Akers

10:25 p.m.

SWAT arrives

More law enforcement, including the SWAT team, rushed to the area on Flamingo Road, heading west from Maryland Parkway, after the protester was detained.

Mick Akers

10:25 p.m.

Protester apprehended

Tensions rose as a protester was apprehended by police. The protester appeared to run from officers before they pinned him to the ground in front of a gas station and handcuffed him.

Officers began putting on masks after the man was detained.

Mick Akers

10:20 p.m.

Help from police

When a protester lost a piece of his vape pen, officers walked over with a light to help him find it.

“Oh hey, awesome!” the marcher exclaimed.

James Schaeffer

10:08 p.m.

Take a knee

The protesters took a knee outside Greenspun Hall at UNLV, chanting to passing cars.

Mick Akers

9:43 p.m.

‘Let her go’

A woman in a red SUV stopped across from protesters in the middle of Paradise Road, south of Harmon Avenue, and got out of her vehicle. A Metro officer pulled up behind her on a motorcycle and was met with chants of, “Let her go,” from the protesters.

He did, and they cheered. Now the group is in a parking lot outside of CVS at Paradise and Harmon.

Shea Johnson

9:10 p.m.

Changing course

The group crossed Harmon Avenue and stopped in the CVS parking lot.

Things remained peaceful, but the move deviated from the group’s initial planned path.

James Schaeffer

9 p.m.

Pause for prayers

The group, which has grown to at least 200 protesters, stopped for a moment of prayer at their original meeting place.

They took a moment of silence before praying.

“My people are sick and we’re tired,” one protester said. “We’re dying every (day), God. We are sick and we are tired of being killed.”

Mick Akers and Erik Verduzco

8:55 p.m.

‘I can’t breathe’

Protesters stopped near Get Booked, 4640 Paradise Road, to kneel and chant.

The group knelt along the sidewalks as one protester lay facedown in the street.

“I can’t breathe,” the group chanted, followed by, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Mick Akers

8:45 p.m.

‘Can you hear us now????’

Briana Mottley, 25, was holding a sign that read, “Can you hear us now????”

Mottley said she felt compelled to do more than just post on social media and decided to protest as a means to take her activism a step further.

“We can scream and shout as much as we want, but we also have to put action behind it however we can,” she said, including by speaking up when one sees injustice and becoming an informed and active voter.

“It’s no longer OK to be quiet,” she added.

Moriah Rosser, 29, agreed.

The way forward isn’t violence, Rosser said, but political activism.

And both women said it was important to support businesses with shared values while rejecting those without them.

“We’ve got to hit them in the pocketbook because that’s the only way they’ll listen,” Mottley said.

Shea Johnson

8:30 p.m.

Keeping the peace

As the group of about 150 demonstrators made a loop around University Center Drive, Tropicana Avenue, Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue, keeping it peaceful and organized, dozens of law enforcement officers flanked the group, driving within a few feet of them on the road.

Protesters kept things cordial and lawful, chanting various social justice rights themes, respecting property and business on the route.

A Metro motorcycle officer showed them the same courtesy, stopping traffic for a group of eight people who were on the east side of University Center, allowing them to cross and join the group.

Mick Akers

8:14 p.m.

Passing out water

A car stopped on Paradise Road with cases of water to give to protesters.

— Mick Akers

8:10 p.m.

Turning around

The group of about 100 protesters has turned around and are heading south on University Center Drive, across from the Thomas & Mack Center.

— Shea Johnson

7:52 p.m.

On the move

The march has begun northbound on Paradise Road. The crowd is chanting and is peaceful so far.

— James Schaeffer

7:40 p.m.

Avoiding the boulevard

Metro officers stressed to the protesters they are working to cooperate with them. The officer mentioned last night’s shootings as something he seeks to avoid tonight. The protesters concurred and said they are looking to avoid Las Vegas Boulevard tonight.

— James Schaeffer

7:38 p.m.

‘Very tragic’

Christopher Reardanz, 34, held a sign with a group of about 30 others near Paradise Road and Naples Drive by UNLV, protesting systemic racism and the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

“Unfortunately, it was very tragic what did occur last night,” he said about two shootings the night before, “but I want everyone to know that the people that peacefully protest and the people that incite violence are two different groups of people.”

He vowed to continue to protest for justice as he awaits other officers involved in Floyd’s killing to also be criminally charged.

— Shea Johnson

7:29 p.m.

Police talk to protesters

Metropolitan Police Department officers are talking with the crowd of protesters, saying if they feel people joining the march whose message isn’t representing their message, to let them know.

— Mick Akers

7:23 p.m.

Group growing

A group of about 30 protesters have gathered at Paradise Road and Naples Drive, holding up signs. Group looks likely to grow.

— Shea Johnson

7:05 p.m.

Protesters gather

Black Lives Matter marchers have gathered at University Center and Naples drives.

— James Schaeffer

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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