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Breonna Taylor protest spreads to downtown Las Vegas

Updated September 24, 2020 - 6:12 am

Half a dozen people were detained Wednesday night during a confrontation between Las Vegas police and a group of more than 100 protesters calling for justice in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury indicted former Louisville Metro Police Department officer Brett Hankison on charges of shooting into neighboring apartments during a raid of Taylor’s home on March 13. No other officers were indicted.

The protest started at Downtown Container Park at 7 p.m. and was critical of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s statement regarding the officers who shot Taylor.

Metro Lt. Frank Humel said 150 people participated and Metro arrested six people.

“The grand jury determined that there is no evidence to support a criminal violation of state law caused Ms. Taylor’s death,” Cameron said Wednesday. “The grand jury found that there was sufficient evidence to indict Detective Hankison for wanton endangerment for firing his weapon outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, with some bullets traveling through that apartment and entering the apartment next door while three residents were at home.”

Alex Gatica said they haven’t come to a protest since a Black Lives Matter event on June 1, when Jorge Gomez was fatally shot and Metropolitan Police Department officer Shay Mikalonis was critically wounded in downtown Las Vegas, because of the way police handled the crowd that night.

“I’m always showing up anytime in solidarity with injustice,” Gatica said.

Organizer Gary House, 28, stopped outside a courthouse and told the group that Metro hasn’t released footage from Gomez’s shooting despite the “at least 30 cameras looking at us.”

House told the Review-Journal that police are “acting without accountability.”

“How today went was not suitable to the American public,” he said of the grand jury findings.

At 8:30 p.m., about 75 people took over the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street to kneel for a moment of silence.

Malia Akana, 27, got off a 12-hour shift as a lab tech Wednesday night and drove to the protest because of what she called Las Vegas’ “dangerous” police force.

“We think the problem is somewhere else, but it’s not,” she said.

At 8:50 p.m., during a discussion among House and several officers, police offered to escort the group to finish the protest, but House declined after several chants from protesters to disregard police.

The group, which had been blocking the intersection, marched east on Fremont and finished the protest at 9 p.m. back at Container Park.

On Sept. 5, about 100 people marched around the Fremont Street Experience calling for justice for Taylor and other victims of police violence.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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