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What does the Durango incident tell us about police in Las Vegas schools?

Kristen DeSilva

In February 2023, a group of students from Durango High School were on the sidewalk near school. Police stopped and grabbed one of the kids. Lt. Jason Elfberg later said they were investigating a possible gun on campus. The kids were Black. Police didn’t find a gun.

And from audio, you’ll hear a slightly different rationale for the stop.

After the footage was released a little more than a week ago, the ACLU —which is representing parents and had sued to get the footage — said it was evident police lied about what happened.

On social media, some say the cops targeted the kids because they are Black, and others defend the cops, saying the kids were disrespectful. On social media, some are calling for CCSD Police Chief Henry Blackeye to resign. The officer in question remains on the police force.

We did ask a representative from the school police department to join us. From the school district, we got a statement that reads, in part:

As communicated to the ACLU in March 2023, we offered to release redacted copies of the video to them, provided they obtained permission from their clients. However, they refused and instead filed a lawsuit demanding the video footage.

Under Nevada law, we are required to protect the identity and safety of minors and the rights of police officers. Those laws were upheld, and the release of the court-ordered video shows that the rights of citizens were honored and laws were followed despite the challenges of that day’s events near Durango High School.

Guests: Athar Haseebullah, executive director, ACLU of Nevada; Mike Kamer, executive director, Project Real; No Racism in Schools

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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.
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