UPDATE: During the press conference on Tuesday, Sheriff Lombardo said at least 7 legal observers were detained or cited during a Black Lives Matter protest on the Las Vegas Strip.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo defends Vegas officers
The sheriff said that in at least one case, a legal observer was “antagonizing” a police officer by shoving a cellphone into the officer’s face. The sheriff said another observer left a median, approached an officer’s car, and leaned into the window.
Officers are told to give 3 dispersal orders before taking action during a protest. But, they can make an exception if there’s an emergency of some kind. Lombardo says this was the case on Saturday when protesters tried to occupy Interstate 15. The sheriff said that legal observers were part of that crowd.
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The sheriff told members of the media at the press conference that police officers have a huge level of discretion during these protests
Sheriff Lombardo says that he is aware of the comments made on social media about police officers being “very unprofessional” and throwing someone to the ground. He also said that he has not seen any video of the incident. However, he did point out that 42 police officers have suffered injuries during the recent protests.
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Additionally, Lombardo said 14% of arrests made during protests are people who don’t live in Clark County, predominately from California. There have been 87 protests in the valley in recent weeks, according to the sheriff.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo is holding a press conference Tuesday at 12:15 p.m., the department announced moments ago.
Lombardo will address interaction between police and protesters over the weekend. You can watch the press conference live once it begins here, or on demand in full after it is over.
On Sunday, Gov. Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford both released statements calling for an investigation after reports that legal observers were arrested during protests on Saturday.
Legal observers are trained lawyers who act as impartial witnesses and answer questions about how to lawfully express your rights at protests.