The first of several public forums to discuss Las Vegas police use of force drew a modest crowd Tuesday night.
Several people shared their stories of unfavorable police interactions, but only two had experiences with Las Vegas police using force.
One of those was Jose Perez, who said his dog was shot while police served a search warrant on his home.
“They completely destroyed our place,” he told several dozen people, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and the Mexican Consulate, which hosted the event.
Another man, Jose Castillo, told the group through a translator that his son was killed by Las Vegas police last year. Alberto Castillo, 35, was shot after police were called when he held a pair of scissors to either his wife or girlfriend’s neck.
Police tried to use a Taser on him, which didn’t work. When Alberto Castillo reached for the device, another officer shot him.
Jose Castillo said his son’s two children witnessed the shooting.
The forum was the first of several the ACLU of Nevada and several other groups are hosting to reach out to the community and hear their stories about police uses of force.
“This is an important time in our community,” said Staci Pratt, the organization’s legal director. “The only way you create change is by shining a light on your communities.”
The Mexican Consulate is participating in the forums because it wants to know whether the rights of Mexican citizens are being violated, consulate official Octavio Perales Sanchez said.
“We’re not here to judge the policies of Metro police,” Sanchez said.
Several people at the Tuesday forum said that police were not recognizing their consular ID cards. One woman said she was arrested because officers didn’t recognize the identification.
“What’s the point of the consular ID if Metro is not using them or thinks they’re fake?” one woman said through a translator.
Pratt said the groups will host the forums in the seven zip codes that have seen the highest number of shootings by officers.
The next forum will be Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Third Apostolic Assembly church at 4509 E. Bonanza Road, near Lamb Boulevard. The event is open to the public.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440.