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Vegas protest of man’s death in custody leads to 10 arrests

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Protesters block Las Vegas Boulevard in front of The Venetian to protest the officer involved death of Tashii Brown, Las Vegas. Authorities say 10 people were arrested after fighting erupted during a weekend protest on the Las Vegas Strip amid calls for a white police officer to face criminal charges in the death of a black man in custody.

LAS VEGAS >> Fighting erupted during a weekend protest on the Las Vegas Strip amid calls for a police officer to face criminal charges in the death of a black man in custody, leading to 10 arrests, authorities said today.

Three people were jailed and seven were cited and released following Sunday’s incident, Officer Jacinto Rivera said. No injuries were reported.

The protest had been organized by activists upset about the May 14 death of 40-year-old Tashii Brown.

Department officials say an officer fired a stun gun at him seven times, punched him and placed him in what police say was an unauthorized neck hold.

The county coroner says it is expected to take several weeks to receive test results to determine what caused the death of Brown, who also used the last name Farmer.

Las Vegas police and the Clark County district attorney are investigating the actions of the officer, Kenneth Lopera, who is on paid leave pending the review.

An NAACP leader and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada have called for Las Vegas police to stop using a neck restraint that can render suspects unconscious.

A police administrator identified Lopera as white, but the officer said through a legal representative that his heritage is Colombian and Puerto Rican.

Rivera said police were near the protest and didn’t initially act when demonstrators linked arms across the Strip between The Venetian and The Mirage resorts. Traffic stopped for several minutes.

Officers intervened when fighting broke out between a pedestrian crossing the street and some demonstrators, the police spokesman said.

Rivera didn’t provide the names of people who were told to appear in court on allegations of misdemeanor pedestrian, traffic and right-of-way violations.

Nicholas Bloom, 26, and Melissa Score, 19, were booked into the Clark County jail on battery and disorderly conduct charges. Rivera said James Cawthra, 24, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Bloom or Score had attorneys.

Cawthra is a transgender woman who uses the first name Ruby, said her partner, Wesley Carter of Las Vegas. Carter said Cawthra didn’t immediately have a lawyer.

Carter, who didn’t attend the protest, said Cawthra carries a retractable baton but didn’t use it and had been at the event to support “Black Lives Matter” activists.

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