Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 03: Players from the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars kneel as the United States anthem is played before the start of their Western Conference Round Robin game during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff at Rogers Place on August 03, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Seventeen community organizations penned a letter to Las Vegas sports teams, thanking them for their response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The letter thanks the Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas Raiders, Las Vegas Aces and Las Vegas Lights for various acts of solidarity.

Last week, the Golden Knights and other NHL teams suspended play for two days in response to the shooting. Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas criticized the move, saying the team was "extremely quick to turn their back on law enforcement."

The Aces also suspended games, while the Raiders changed their Twitter cover photo to "Black Lives Matter." Wide receiver Tyrell Williams was seen entering practice wearing a shirt that said, "Stop killing Black people!"

The Las Vegas Lights stopped mid-game Aug. 30 to hold a demonstration against racism.

The letter reads:

Dear Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas Raiders, Las Vegas Aces, Las Vegas Lights and the Las Vegas Community,

The undersigned organizations represent people who share the Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas Raiders, Las Vegas Aces, and Las Vegas Lights' dedication to ending racism and police violence. In response to the continued racist and state-sponsored assaults against those who call out police violence, we write to thank you for following the legacy of revolutionary athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, Juan Carlos, and Colin Kaepernick in taking an affirmative stance for justice in policing. Words cannot express the positive impact that teams like yours have when they utilize their platform to speak out for justice because the media, corporations, and law enforcement continually ignore our stories and exclude survivors from meetings. We cannot end systemic racism without centering directly impacted people in decision making.

Amid the global pandemic, the uprising against racism and state violence has heightened. The world has not ignored the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, or the shooting of Jacob Blake, who is now paralyzed and fighting for his life. While we lift their names in solidarity, we must remember the fight at home. We’re asking for help to amplify the stories of local cases to help educate and galvanize our community.

Making a grassroots impact in our local community requires a coalition effort. We of the Las Vegas community, would like to express our gratitude and enthusiasm for our local athletes and sports teams for their bravery and courage to stand up and be on the right side of history.

Nevada law protects police from being held accountable for misconduct in all forms, including murder. Weak state laws on body camera evidence, high fees to obtain such evidence, and the lack of statewide procedures for discovery in criminal cases allow law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to tamper with and withhold critical evidence from victims of police violence, their families, and the public. Criminal proceedings are initiated by prosecutors, who are the chief law enforcement officers of the county; judges, who are often former prosecutors or receive campaign donations from police unions; and police, who are viewed by jurors as the “most credible” witnesses. Thus, in the unlikely event that a police killing goes to trial, law enforcement controls much of the courtroom. Moreover, qualified immunity protects police officers and agencies from being held civilly liable to victims for violence and misconduct committed while on duty. In this context, police unions like the one led by Steve Grammas are the political extension of the “thin blue line.” The police union funds legislative and judicial campaigns, lobbies for legislation, sends representatives to town halls, and successfully pressures the legal system and public opinion from every vantage point to protect its members. Standing up to the union and working toward justice requires action, including speaking out against injustice, especially by influential members of our community like our beloved local athletes and athletic teams.

Finally, we hope to strengthen our relationship as allies and request to meet with you to discuss how we can work together to change laws and unjust policing practices .. We also ask that you view the attached PSAs and utilize your social media platform to share the stories of people impacted by police violence locally. We look forward to working with you to lift up the voices of families that the system and law enforcement representatives have ignored.

Sincerely,

Families United 4 Justice Las Vegas

Forced Trajectory Project

ACLU of Nevada

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Nevada Coalition of Accomplished Teaching

Mass Liberation Project

Policing and Protest Clinic, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV

Black Lives Matter UNLV

No Racism in Schools #1865

The Lab LV

My Scars Are Beautiful

Battle Born Progress

Desert Arts Action Coalition

Sarah K. Hawkins, President, Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice

National Lawyers Guild, Las Vegas

National Lawyers Guild, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV

Minister Stretch Sanders, New Era Las Vegas

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

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(2) comments

Mediumjeep

Kneeling & support of a criminal isn’t something to be proud of ,take your attitude to some other country! Done with overpaid players!

brother leon

Thanks for giving airtime to every POS organization in NV. NBA, MLB and NHL players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, who was in violation of a restraining order and just sexually assaulted the victim was shot by police.” I guess you forgot to mention that part. Your bias is showing.

You read that correctly.

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