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Two Days After The Protest Shootings: What Now?

A protester near UNLV Tuesday night.
Brent Holmes/Desert Companion

A protester near UNLV Tuesday night.

Another protest is planned tonight. 


Maybe less than a protest and more of a vigil.


Because it’s been almost two days since separate shootings Monday night. In one downtown, officers killed a protester who reportedly raised a gun to them. And in the other, a Las Vegas cop was shot in the head by a man. The shooter is in jail; the officer clings to life.




Aaron Ford, attorney general, State of Nevada 


"We know that our criminal justice system has a lot of discretion in it and people who look like me and who look like my sons when they encounter the system don't receive the discretion necessarily that a cop could offer white people. They don't receive the arrest discretion in that regard. They don't receive the discretion on a charge that prosecutors may exercise in other circumstances or they don't receive discretion in a sentence that a judicial system would give another individual. These types of instances continually bring to the forefront the necessity of addressing a criminal justice system that has been out of whack for generations. It hurts me to my core every time I see this happening."



Capt. Harry Fagel (ret.) LVMPD


"We get up and we want love and peace and safety for our families. Every person wants that I think in America. That's one of the parts of our American Dream is to live and equal and safe life. And equal doesn't mean fair because we know that fairness is a constant shifting paradigm but equality is something we need to keep striving towards and this is something that is not happening in the speed that you would hope a civilization - a civil place - is managing. And after 25 years of watching it cycle through again and again, it's frustrating... the police department has an impossible task.. you go out there and you have to keep the peace. How do you use violence to keep the peace? It's a total conundrum. But at the same time, when somebody is doing something that is dangerous inherently to other people, you have to step in it's your duty."


David Olmeca Barragan, LatinX/gender/ethnic studies, UNLV


"It's is true though that Latinx experiences with police officers, though it's severe, it's not at the rate of black youth. For example, the black community suffers from young men being killed by the cops three times as much as white folks, and although it's a large number, the Latinx is twice as much. It's not like an oppression Olympics type of approach here. It's about addressing a systemic problem that interferes with the lives and the safety of many, many, many people of color."


"We shouldn't expect the same type of behavior from the general public that we expect from a police officer. As much as we want to humanize the police officers that are out there working, I have to humanize the people who continue to get killed by and at the hands of the police."


Marcia Wells, niece of Byron Williams, a black man who died in the custody of Las Vegas Metro Police in 2019. 



"It was so devastating. It was like I died with him. That was our loved one. He was loved and he was outstanding. I know the things he had done weren't great but who is perfect? He wasn't bothering the police. He wasn't committing a crime. It hurts the way he died. I could see if he died by natural causes but being taken away by not breathing that's what hurt the most."


"I think [police] should take the time out to not torment and to listen and just put themselves in our shoes. Not all officers, just some show lack of care. Instead of looking inviting and loving, they look like they're ready to charge and hurt. They look and make us feel... like we're just scared."


U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV.


"We need to listen to the community. Everybody should be listening, showing compassion, hearing the pain that is out there and then working together to bring about change. There's no doubt there's still systemic racism in this country but we have to address it and we can only do it by listening, understanding... what it's like to be in their shoes and understand from their point of view and then work together to bring that change."


"There is a bill I'm supporting, which is the Police Training and Independent Review Act. It establishes a new grant under the Office of Justice for states that enact training on fair and impartial policing. And it creates a structure to independently review law enforcement's use of deadly force."


Nissa Tzun, activist, The Forced Trajectory Project and Families United 4 Justice


"Right now, everybody is standing behind the George Floyd family, which is great. That's what every single case needs. Not just the George Floyd case but all the people that have died since George Floyd has been killed. Statistics show three to five people are killed by law enforcement every day. What's happening in those cases? How are families impacted in those cases?" 


"I do think as a community, a nationwide community, we need to bring those directly impacted to the forefront to listen to their experience if we really want change." 


Protesters near UNLV Tuesday night/Brent Holmes/Desert Companion


Protesters walk along University Center Drive on the UNLV Campus Tuesday night/Chris Smith/Desert Companion


A Black Lives Matter protester shakes the hand of an officer protecting the protesters from traffic during the protest near UNLV, Tuesday June 2, 2020./Chris Smith/Desert Companion


A protester on the corner of Paradise Road and Harmon Ave. Protesters walked up and down the streets near UNLV in protest of the death of George Floyd, Tuesday June 2, 2020./Chris Smith/Desert Companion




U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV.; Aaron Ford, attorney general, State of Nevada; Nissa Tzun, activist, The Forced Trajectory Project and Families United 4 Justice; Capt. Harry Fagel (ret.) LVMPD; Marcia Wells, niece of Byron Williams; David Olmeca Barragan, LatinX/gender/ethnic studies, UNLV

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.