This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
In the wake of a week of protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Gov. Steve Sisolak pledged that statewide policy changes are coming to address systemic racism and injustice faced by black and minority communities.
Sisolak — flanked by the state’s attorney general and two lawmakers — said it’s clear changes are needed, and the time to talk about what those changes will look like is now.
“I’m just starting to listen,” Sisolak said at a press conference Friday morning. “Unfortunately, sometimes as elected officials, we act and then we listen.”
Sisolak said the yet-to-be-determined policy changes will address the “double standard” in law enforcement that grants white people more rights than people of color — a double standard he said has been demonstrated here in Nevada when gun-toting protesters surrounded the governor’s mansion in Carson City to protest statewide COVID-19 restrictions.
“Those militia members — whatever you want to call them — were carrying AR-15 and AK-47s,” he said. “If these young black men that were out here protesting would have been doing that in the past few days, what do you think would have happened?
“They can’t carry a backpack, but it was OK to have 200 people in front of my house carrying AR-15s and AK-47s. That’s not right.”
Nevada — and the U.S. as a whole — has been shaken by sometimes violent protests in the wake of Floyd’s killing on May 25. One demonstration in the state turned deadly Monday night when two separate shootings occurred, one leaving a protester dead and the other leaving a Las Vegas police officer in critical condition.
Attorney General Aaron Ford, the state’s top law enforcement officer, said he understands when police tell him they place their lives on the line to protect the public.
“But as a black man, I also feel something else,” he said. “And that’s the need for improved relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Specifically for today’s conversation, the black community.”
To help facilitate that, Ford is holding a series of panels called “justice and injustice” with the goal of putting forth tangible solutions to better policing.
Sisolak and Ford were joined at Friday’s press conference by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, D-North Las Vegas.
A former corrections officer of over 20 years, Monroe-Moreno said she witnessed firsthand the systemic racism that exists in America today.
She said that when officers take their oath to protect the public there are committing to be held to a higher standard.
“It’s so much more than just the knee on George Floyd’s neck,” Monroe-Moreno said. “So Many people feel that there has been a knee on their neck for so many years, in so many different situations.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak will address ongoing protests against police brutality at a Friday morning press conference in Las Vegas.
Sisolak plans to talk about the “senseless killing of George Floyd and the systematic racism and injustice black and minority communities face,” according to a news release from his office. He will be joined by Attorney General Aaron Ford, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno. Sisolak is scheduled to speak at 9:30 a.m.
Friday’s speech arrives one day after Sisolak said Floyd’s death had prompted a “crisis of faith in our criminal and social justice systems.”
“It’s safe to say we’ve never been so greatly challenged in such a short period of time,” the first-term Democrat added in a video posted to his YouTube page.
The Reno Gazette Journal will cover the event live from Las Vegas. Check back here for updates.
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