weather icon Clear

George Floyd’s death ‘disturbing,’ ‘deplorable,’ Nevada law enforcement leaders say

Updated May 29, 2020 - 11:37 am

Joining a choir of disapproval on social media from police chiefs and sheriffs across the country, Nevada law enforcement leaders on Thursday distanced their agencies from the actions of a Minneapolis officer involved in the death of an unarmed black man.

“The deplorable incident in Minneapolis chills me and goes against all that I teach and have been taught in my career as a Trooper,” Nevada Highway Patrol Col. Daniel Solow tweeted on Thursday morning.

On Monday night, an employee at a Minneapolis grocery store called police after a man, later identified as 46-year-old George Floyd, allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

In widely circulated cellphone video of his subsequent arrest, Floyd can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while police officer Derek Chauvin presses him to the pavement, his knee on Floyd’s neck. Three other officers were at the scene.

The video shows Chauvin, who is white, holding Floyd down for minutes as the man complains that he can’t breathe. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.

Within 24 hours of Floyd’s death, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired Chauvin and the three other officers, identified as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.

Floyd’s death has sparked unrest in Minneapolis, where conflict between protesters and police officers has erupted two days in a row. On Tuesday, officers in riot gear fired tear gas at protesters, some damaging property as they marched more than 2 miles. During Wednesday’s protests, some protesters threw rocks and bottles at police.

‘Deeply disturbing’

Solow’s tweet on Thursday included photos of troopers interacting with members of the community.

“This is the face of policing: part of the community, never against it,” the tweet continued. “This career is about service & making everyone’s lives better and secure.”

Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Clark County’s top police officer, wrote on Twitter: “The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing. The officers’ actions and inaction are inconsistent with the training and protocols of our profession and the LVMPD. I can assure you the LVMPD will strive each day to continue to build your trust.”

Lombardo’s statement comes three years after then-Metropolitan Police Department officer Kenneth Lopera stunned an unarmed black man with a Taser seven times and punched him at least a dozen times before placing him in an unauthorized, martial arts-type chokehold for more than a minute. The encounter was captured on video, and the man, Tashii Brown, was pronounced dead at a local hospital less than an hour later. He was 40.

The sheriff’s sentiments on Thursday are vastly different from his comments in the days following Brown’s death. At the time, Lombardo asked the public for patience while the agency investigated the death.

“It’s too early in the process,” he said during a news conference on May 17, 2017. “We do not even know the cause of death right now.”

Las Vegas rally planned

In addition to the unauthorized chokehold, according to Lopera’s arrest report, the officer, who is white, also violated department policies when he stunned Brown seven times. Metro’s policy is to deploy a Taser only three times before moving on to another tactic. The report also stated that Lopera gave Brown contradictory demands, telling him to get on his stomach while also instructing him not to move.

The Clark County coroner’s office eventually ruled Brown’s May 14, 2017, death a homicide. He died from asphyxia due to police restraint procedures, with contributing factors that included methamphetamine use and an enlarged heart. Had he survived, Metro has said, Brown would not have faced any criminal charges.

Lopera was charged about a month after the death with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office. It marked the first time in nearly three decades that a Metro officer faced charges in connection with a police shooting or an in-custody death, though a grand jury in July 2018 declined to indict Lopera. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson stopped pursuing charges after the grand jury’s decision, and the charges against Lopera were dismissed.

Lombardo did not respond on Thursday to a request for further comment.

Nationally, Floyd’s death, which is under investigation by the FBI and Minneapolis law enforcement authorities, immediately drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.

A Black Lives Matter march is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the Miracle Mile Shops on the Las Vegas Strip, according to a flyer on social media.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Trustees approve CCSD fall school reopening plan with caveat - VIDEO
In a marathon meeting Thursday night, Clark County School District trustees approved a plan to reopen schools this fall with the caveat that additional details about how to do so would come back before the board. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jara says time for debate is over on CCSD reopening plan - VIDEO
With pressure growing for the Clark County School District to modify its school reopening plan, Superintendent Jesus Jara said Tuesday that the time has come to move forward on the existing blueprint. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RTC considers route changes as pandemic affects ridership, revenue - Video
Stung by a drop in public bus ridership because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is considering systemwide service changes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)v
Fireworks light up Las Vegas - Video
Las Vegas celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks lighting up the entire valley. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fireworks in the Moapa sky - Video
Fireworks explode near Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza during Fourth of July festivities in Moapa, northwest of Las Vegas, on Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fourth of July fireworks at Plaza in downtown Las Vegas - Video
Fourth of July fireworks at the Plaza casino lit up the night sky in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen shares COVID-19 story on social media - Video
Kaydee Asher speaks with the RJ about what it's like having COVID-19, how she may have contracted the virus, and how she's using her platform to tell other young people to be safe. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis moved to spinal cord center.
Paralyzed Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis was being transferred to an out-of-state medical facility Wednesday morning for treatment of a severe spinal cord injury. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mahagony fire timelapse
Timelapse of Mt.Charleston Mahogany fire as seen from Skye Canyon. (Andrea Leal)
Summerlin will have virtual 4th of July parade - Video
The Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade will be held virtually this year on July 4. Golden Knights players Nate Schmidt and Alec Martinez will take part. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Effort to fight illegal fireworks resumes for Fourth of July (PSAs) - Video
Law enforcement in Clark County will take part in the interagency "You Light It, We Write It” campaign to crack down on the use of illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas Valley this Fourth of July. (Clark County)
Henderson police officers test positive for COVID-19 - Video
Two officers with the Henderson Police Department received positive test results for coronavirus on June 21, 2020. The officers were assigned to the Training and Development Unit. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tech problems on DMV website cause long lines - Video
Las Vegas residents have been standing in line for hours frustrated because they can't make an appointment on the Department of Motor Vehicles website due to technical issues. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News COVID-19 testing site opening at Texas Station - Video
The Texas Station site is operating in addition to the drive-thru testing site in the UNLV Tropicana parking garage next to the Thomas & Mack Center. Both sites are operated by Clark County and University Medical Center in partnership with the Nevada National Guard. (Renee Summerour and Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Lives Matter protest mural on Juneteenth - Video
Amy Van Rosen with the Good All Day Collective joins volunteers to create a Black Lives Matter protest mural on the Majestic Repertory Theatre building in downtown Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada tribal nations keep their people safe from coronavirus - Video
Tribal members at Walker River Paiute Tribe's Walker River Indian Reservation in Schurz and at Reno-Sparks Indian Colony's Hungry Valley Reservation take care of their own in the age of coronavirus. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Victims of the Alpine fire discuss life after 6 months - Video
Residents who were victims in the Alpine Apartment Fire on Dec. 21 recall what happened and some of the struggles they are facing after six months. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family welcomes baby during pandemic in Spain - Video
Henderson native Air Force Maj. Chris Stein, stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, and his wife dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, diagnoses for COVID-19 and having an unexpected home birth for their third child. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jara to present school reopening plan to CCSD board next week - VIDEO
A much-anticipated plan for reopening doors at the Clark County School District will come before the board next week, according to Superintendent Jesus Jara.
Foster mom corrals an armful of kids at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children - Video
Tytaliayah Parker cares her five foster kids and her biological daughter at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Resident of apartment complex where fire occurred said he didn’t hear fire alarm - Video
Travis Mattsson, who has lived at Siegel Suites Las Vegas Boulevard for a year, said he didn’t hear a fire alarm in his unit. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vigil held in downtown Las Vegas - VIDEO
The Forced Trajectory Project conducted a vigil downtown on Saturday evening to honor those lost to police violence. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteer drivers deliver restaurant-quality meals to those in need - Video
Graffiti Bao, a restaurant, is partnering with Delivering with Dignity to provide restaurant-quality meals to those in need. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Black Lives Matter, anti-racism rally held in Las Vegas - Video
More than 1,000 people protested peacefully in Kianga Isoke Palacio Park near Doolittle Community Center in the Historic Westside neighborhood of Las Vegas on Friday night, June 5. It was a Black Lives Matter rally and candlelight vigil for George Floyd and other black Americans who have died in confrontations with police. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Soul City WiFi Project brings free internet to Historic Westside Las Vegas - Video
Steven Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation speaks at a press conference about the creation of a free WiFi network to help underserved communities, followed by a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Academic Excellence Awards 2020 - Video
The Las Vegas Review Journal's Academic Excellence program is designed to recognized 1st thru 12th grade students in Southern Nevada who exhibit academic achievement, community involvement, and leadership in and out of the classroom.
A motorist driving recklessly lost control of their vehicle and smashed into a house
Las Vegas police said a motorist driving recklessly lost control of their vehicle, which then smashed into a house at 401 South Torrey Pines Drive. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
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.
Areas of Red Rock Canyon reopen - Video
The BLM Southern Nevada District reopened access to areas of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on June 1, 2020, including; Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive, Red Rock Overlook, Late Night Trailhead, Red Spring Boardwalk, Calico Basin and Kraft Mountain Trailheads. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rebel store looted
The manager of a Rebel gas station talks about looting at the Tropicana and Koval store over the weekend. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train carrying decommissioned nuclear reactor passes through Las Vegas - VIDEO
The train carrying a decommissioned nuclear reactor vessel from Southern California is passing through Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Southern Nevada Health District COVID-19 update
Southern Nevada Health District staff conduct a video briefing to provide updates about the public health agency’s COVID-19 response in Clark County.
Neighborhood rallies behind grad amid the coronavirus lockdown
Riley Lynn Thacker's mom put a sign in their yard to congratulate her daughter completing her senior year and neighbors followed suit. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cherished Burning Man pit stop Empire Store in limbo

Located two hours north of Reno, the 5,000-square foot market has long served nearby rural communities including the 50-person company town of Empire and the 100-plus-person town of Gerlach.

Red Cross seeks volunteers to help during wildfire season

The American Red Cross in the Nevada region is looking to fill at least 75 positions monthly during the wildfire season, but will not turn others away if they would like to help out.