Local News


Anti-Trump protests: How far can you go?

Posted at 12:14 PM, Nov 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 15:14:25-05

Anti-Trump protests continue around the nation, including one Sunday night in Las Vegas.

The rallies so far in Las Vegas have been relatively peaceful. But that isn't the case in other parts of the country.

Some of the most violent demonstrations have taken place in Portland, where protesters were arrested for smashing windows and disorderly conduct, including hurling road flares at police officers.

That's something 13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert and retired Las Vegas Police Lt. Randy Sutton says won't be tolerated here. However, officers will do everything possible to allow protesters their rights.

"What is OK is free expression of speech and the peaceful expression of that and that can include some pretty vile stuff -- cursing and screaming," he says.

There is a line that can be crossed, and that is if you touch an officer, spit on an officer or any part of you threatens a police officer.

That's when police can declare the protest an unlawful assembly and the situation dramatically changes. Police may then order the crowd to disburse.

"If you disburse you're OK," Sutton says. "If you don't, then you now become one of the 'not' peaceful protestors and you will go to jail."

Police can also order a crowd to disburse when the rights of others not involved in the protest are infringed upon, especially when there's physical contact. That also includes things like blocking traffic, such as in Los Angeles.

Sunday's protest in Las Vegas is set for 8 p.m. from The Linq to Trump International Hotel.

Sutton told 13 Action News that Las Vegas police have enough resources to keep large crowds from disrupting traffic.

However, he points out that different police departments handle protests in different ways.