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Lombardo latest politician to be accosted, insulted at public event

Updated March 29, 2022 - 9:29 pm

Clark County sheriff and Republican candidate for governor Joe Lombardo found himself on the receiving end of the latest example of someone accosting a politician and posting the exchange to social media.

A 23-second video posted on Twitter Monday night by Shaun Navarro, a member of the steering committee for the Las Vegas chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, shows Navarro appearing to pose for a picture with Lombardo before saying, “We’re here with Joe Lombardo, a real piece of s—.”

Lombardo starts to walk away only to be followed by Navarro, who continued to shout more insults at the sheriff that included references to Nazis and white nationalist groups as the video continued.

The video was taken Monday evening at a panel discussion at The Smith Center in Las Vegas put on by the Nevada Independent website.

“Last night, as I was leaving an education forum, I was accosted and followed by an angry and disruptive person,” Lombardo said in a statement Tuesday. “While his behavior and invective were unfortunate, as sheriff, I deal with my share of unruly people every day. But, in politics, there should be no acceptance of this kind of vitriol and hate and it must be condemned in the strongest terms possible by Republicans, Democrats, and nonpartisans alike.”

The incident comes a month after Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and his wife, Kathy, were accosted while inside a Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas by two men who shouted racial and anti-government epithets at them. Sisolak’s ordeal started in similar fashion to the one involving Lombardo, with a man appearing to want a selfie with the governor before unleashing a string of profanities at him and chasing him around and eventually out of the restaurant. The governor later asked prosecutors not to press charges against the men.

Elected officials and groups from both sides of the political aisle were quick to denounce Navarro’s actions Tuesday.

“It’s important that when we disagree we don’t forget we are all Nevadans first,” Sisolak wrote on Twitter. “Name calling and vitriol have no place in Nevada and I condemn this rhetoric in the strongest terms. Let’s lead with kindness.”

“Like I said when this happened to Governor Sisolak last month, there is no place for the unhinged behavior Sheriff Joe Lombardo experienced last night, and the time and place to have your voice heard is at the ballot box in November,” Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald said in a statement Tuesday. “I know in my heart that these recent attacks on our officials are outliers. This is not the Nevada we all love and I join with leaders across the political spectrum in condemning this behavior and calling on it to never happen again.”

Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford said on Twitter that it was “another ridiculous example of a noxious, unproductive approach to expressing disagreement. Completely inappropriate and entirely unnecessary.”

Mallory Payne, spokeswoman for Nevada Democratic Victory, said in a statement that “as Governor Sisolak said, we are all Nevadans first and must treat each other with kindness. Hateful rhetoric has no place in Nevada and we condemn this behavior. Everyone — Democrats and Republicans — should follow that practice.”

But Las Vegas Democratic Socialists of America appeared to double down on and condone Navarro’s behavior in a statement Tuesday, saying that “Lombardo is despicable and his constituents should let him know that.”

Elizabeth Thompson, editor of the Nevada Independent, tweeted that she was “appalled and mortified” that the incident had occurred and that Navarro had been banned from all future events put on by the outlet.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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