- Multiple arrests made on Saturday night during a police brutality protest on the Strip
- Protest partly organized by Organize the State Out Coalition Las Vegas lobbying for Las Vegas police defunding
- The organization in a statement terms the police as one of the branches of a ‘racist system’
- Whites protestors encouraged to stay on the front for ‘white privilege’ to protect the others
- Police use pepper spray to disperse the protestors and arrest some including legal observers
Saturday night, June 13, saw multiple arrests made on the Strip during a police brutality protest. This was after the police gave two orders to disperse and used pepper spray on the protestors. Of the arrested included legal observers.
Defunding the police
Organize the State Out Coalition Las Vegas were among the organizers of the Saturday protest. The organization lobbies for Las Vegas police defunding through community outreach.
In a statement released to the media before the initial march, the organization claimed that the police were an ‘enforcement branch of a racist system’. The statement went on to claim that the system ‘oppressed them, exasperates poverty, drained the already minimal resources unfairly and massively incarcerated them.’
At 5 p.m., the group of around 150 protestors began gathering outside Bellagio. They proceeded to march south along Las Vegas Boulevard at 6:30 p.m.
Fight for the minorities
24-year-old Emma Seplecha of Henderson said that her intention to come out every weekend was from the inspiration got from those who were protesting. For her, she is fighting for an end in police brutality and the protection of minorities.
21-year-old Jorge Salas of downtown Las Vegas, on the other hand, said that he came out to show solidarity being a child of Latino parents. He claimed that it was all about ‘dismantling a system’ and that if a teacher has to buy his/her books, then the police need to also buy their tank.
He was one of the protestors who spoke during the open mic session. The session was open to anyone who felt inspired.
23-years-old Michael Callas of east Las Vegas used the avenue to tell a Saturday morning story he got from a black Lyft driver he had ridden with. The driver said to him, ‘Our existence is resistance. There’s nothing more powerful than us living.’
The protestors chanted ‘Hands up! Don’t shoot!’ as they began walking with the roads blocked by dozens of Metro vehicles along the Las Vegas Boulevard.
They were met with a line of police with cars further blocking their path once the group was at the Tropicana Avenue. They would then start to circle filling the Las Vegas Boulevard intersection while cars stopped. More than a dozen drivers showed support by holding their fists up after they stepped out of the cars.
The protestors who marched with blow horns then asked the white protestors in the march to go to the front. This was argued that they would protect other protestors from harm thanks to their ‘white privilege’
At around 7:50 p.m., Russell Road was blocked from all directions forcing the protestors to head south on Frank Sinatra Drive. However, the police claimed that that was private property and that they should head back to Russell.
Pepper spray and arrests made
At around 8 p.m., it is reported that the police used pepper spray on the protestors. They then returned to Russell Road with their hands up past the police.
The group would then stop at Polaris Avenue and Russell before 8:30 p.m. Less than 50 people had remained and for protestors who wished for a ride back to their cars were offered free rides by the dozens of cars available.
The police left by 8:40 p.m. while the remaining crowd organized rides to get back to their cars or to get home.
In a tweet sent by the Las Vegas National Lawyers Guild, six legal observers were claimed to be detained by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department while two remained in custody. The tweet went on to claim that the legal observers were not demonstrators but rather law students, legal workers, and volunteer attorneys.
The Metropolitan Police Department did not provide any information on the Saturday night arrests.