Sisolak calls for inquiry into Las Vegas observer arrests
LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s governor called for an investigation into the arrests of legal observers at a protest against police brutality on the Las Vegas Strip.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said there should be an inquiry into the arrests Saturday of six attorneys and law students who were documenting interactions between the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and demonstrators.
Attorney and lead observer John Piro said he and Belinda Harris, a Clark County chief deputy public defender, were “snatched” from a sidewalk, handcuffed with zip ties and arrested for what he said was no reason.
Harris said in a social media post that she was not protesting, but acting as one of 15 legal observers. She said five of the six who were arrested wore red shirts identifying themselves as observers.
Metropolitan Police Department officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment, saying in a text that he had not been provided with relevant information.
Reports indicate the march was mostly peaceful, with officers at some point blocking traffic so demonstrators could pass.
Information from the investigation should be used to develop long-term plans to avoid similar situations in the future, Sisolak said.
“Legal observers provide a valuable service as part of our system of justice by informing protesters about how to lawfully express their rights and answering questions about what conduct is lawful,” Sisolak said in a statement.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford echoed Sisolak’s call for an investigation.
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones said he worked as a legal observer at protests in the past and attorneys are trained to “take notes and not engage with either side.”
“It was very disappointing that Metro (police) appeared to have created chaos, and in the chaos arrested people who were simply there to observe,” Jones said Sunday.