Sheriff Joe Lombardo during a press conference at LVMPD headquarters. (FOX5)

Sheriff Joe Lombardo during a press conference at LVMPD headquarters. (FOX5)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Sheriff Joe Lombardo with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said Tuesday legal observers began participating in Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend, leading to their subsequent arrest.

LVMPD addressed the arrests in a briefing Tuesday afternoon at police headquarters. 

Lombardo said one legal observer "shoved" a cell phone in an officer's face and that some observers were "antagonizing and obstructing officers."

According to ACLU guidelines, legal observers are supposed to remain neutral and not participate in the protest.

North Las Vegas Police Chief Pamela Ojeda released 10 minutes of body-camera footage shown in the LVMPD press conference with the following statement:

We take allegations of improper conduct extremely seriously and a thorough investigation showed that our police officers acted professionally and courteously, as we train and our department requires. The body worn camera footage contradicts all false claims of rough or rude treatment; in fact, it shows our officers treating the woman gently and respectfully. NLVPD looks forward to continuing to partner with the community in ensuring justice, equality and fair treatment for all.

REACTION TO ARRESTS

Local officials and political groups expressed concern and outrage — and called for action — after Las Vegas police arrested several legal observers along with protesters on June 13.

In a statement on Monday, LVMPD said "people who choose not clear the area" during a dispersal order during protests are subject to being detained, cited or arrested.

Gov. Steve Sisolak called for an investigation into the arrests.

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. Any reports of police action against legal observers should be fully investigated and reviewed so a full understanding of what happened can be determined. That information should be used to develop long-term solution to avoid a similar re-occurrence in the future. - Gov. Sisolak

Lombardo said 42 officers have been hurt during ongoing protests around the Las Vegas Valley. During a Clark County Commission meeting earlier Tuesday, Lombardo said there have been 378 arrests from 87 total protests on various charges.

Protests have been largely peaceful after Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot during a protest near Circus Circus on June 2.

FOX5 has reached out to the ACLU for comment on Lombardo's comments.

WATCH LVMPD BRIEFING:

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

 

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(3) comments

escapelv

Legal observers should be observing not inserting themselves into the situation. It appeared to me from the videos that the "observers" were engaging with police as opposed to watching & recording what was happening. They deserved to be detained.

vegasdawn

From above - "Protests have been largely peaceful after Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot during a protest near Circus Circus on June 2." That is not 1 oz. of peaceful!!!

AmericaFirst

Observers? Or Soros loving scum.

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