LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Protesters in support of the Black Lives Matter movement met with members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday to discuss methods of keeping protests peaceful.
Shaheem Falaniko, March for Peace member, said the hour-plus meeting was designed to find common ground, air grievances, and ensure that the protest at Las Vegas City Hall remained peaceful.
Falaniko says it was important to establish open lines of communication between groups, so progress can be made in remedying an open divide between police and members of minority communities.
"What community programs that we can come together so that we can continue this relationship," Falaniko said. "We can continue that energy here in Las Vegas because it's very different from other cities. Us taking that approach will set the example for the entire nation."
A member of the local Flesh and Roots organization, who preferred to remain anonymous, said they were initially planning also to attend the meeting, but representatives withdrew.
That member said Monday's violent protests that resulted in a protester, Jorge Gomez, being shot by police and officer Shay Mikalonis being shot while trying to disperse unruly protesters lead them to withdraw from the meeting with police officers.
The member also said many members of FNR feared tensions were too high.
However, Falaniko says Wednesday's meeting could lay the bricks for future cooperation between police officers in the Las Vegas valley and communities alienated by police activity across the country.
"It's not easy, but the first step is to create action," Falaniko said. "Let the youth know, let our people know, let our communities know that, hopefully, what I'm doing they learn."
He also said he will tell protesters planning to gather at City Hall to remain peaceful and keep their eyes peeled for anyone in the crowd that intends to cause trouble.
Falaniko says the group could then stop any violence on their own before it starts.
Las Vegas police did not immediately respond for comment on Wednesday's meeting to 13 Action News.