On September 9th, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Downtown Las Vegas. Things were pretty quiet and peaceful until a bunch of gang members working for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) showed up to harass and intimidate us, even though we weren’t doing anything illegal or in any way disruptive.
They started out by admitting that we weren’t being detained (and therefore not suspected of a crime), but stated that they would like for us to leave. I politely told them (and wrote, as you can see to the left) that we would like for THEM to leave.
At that point, the sergeant (badge #5906) and several (but not all) of the other officers, did in fact leave. However, as they were (jay)walking away they indicated that they were going to go call some patrol officers because it’s illegal for us to chalk there, which is very much not true.
Shortly after, they returned and began making it very clear that they didn’t understand the First Amendment or that wacky Free Speech thing that it protects. The sergeant stated that he was concerned about the content of the messages we were writing. Then when questioned about what the 1st Amendment says and how that might apply to his concerns, he seemed to genuinely not know and kinda just repeated variations of his concern about what we were writing as if it was a mantra they taught him in the academy.
He did briefly manage to expand on that once by stating that he was concerned the content of our First Amendment protected speech would incite people to violence against cops, in spite of the fact that nothing we wrote was violent or urging any sort of violence against anyone. It was merely an exercise of our Constitutionally protected right to Free Speech to protest police brutality and murders by cops.
I pointed out that it is all the blatant instances of police murdering people, often on video, that is inciting people, not us telling people about it. He didn’t seemed to be able to grasp the connection and actually stated that all those videos of cops murdering people were “irrelevant.”
That is actually really telling, in regards to the current attitudes and actions of many police officers. Many of them seem to actually believe that manufacturing a fake “War On Cops” and using that as a justification to double down on their own violence is the solution to all of the hatred and even violence that they are beginning to feel from the public. It certainly is one of the reasons that the police in Las Vegas have such little support among the residents here.
Then everyone stood around for over half an hour while they tried to intimidate us and we waited for these patrol officers to show up and harass and/or threaten us. At one point, someone who appeared to be an off-duty cop drove up, parked facing the wrong direction, and had a little chat with them. Afterwards, he did an illegal U-turn and parked the wrong direction (this time also in a fire lane) on the other side of the road, so he could chat with another officer on that sidewalk.
I got kinda bored then, so I started asking some questions. For the record, I never did get an answer on whether there’s a basketball court upstairs in the jail. Nor did they give me a clear answer on whether they still use those old-timely jail house keys or if there’s any correlation between the shade of their uniforms and their rank. I’m still considering whether to file a FOIA request on those, but I probably won’t.
Then they apparently got word from the patrol officers that they were full of shit, we weren’t doing anything illegal, and nobody was going to waste their time coming down to tell them that. So they (jay)walked back over to the jail and went inside.
All in all, the eight or so cops (five jail guards, one officer who appeared to be with the gang unit, an undercover unit, one patrol unit that was parked around the corner, and a Nevada Highway Patrol unit that might have just been passing through) that wasted about an hour on something they should have known was legal in the first place, served as a great example why the LVMPD keeps claiming it needs to extort Las Vegas citizens for even more money to hire additional cops.
(Note: This video is pretty long, so I tried to shorten it as much as possible by literally cutting out any pauses. For the sake of accuracy and transparency, I’ve also embedded the full 36+ minute raw video below. So you can watch the full unedited version, if you are inclined to do so. Mostly what was cut out was about ten minutes of dead air when we were just waiting for the patrol officers they had called to show up.)
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.