Las Vegas Casinos Start to Reopen in Hours, Trio of Alleged ‘Extremists’ Arrested
Posted on: June 3, 2020, 08:56h.
Last updated on: June 4, 2020, 10:25h.
Many Las Vegas gaming properties will begin to resume operations Thursday morning with some new health precautions in place as concerns also continue over recent violence.
Safeguards against the spread of coronavirus will be seen in all reopened venues. Visitors must comply with new rules.
We are all anxious to reopen the destination, and our resort partners have been working exceptionally hard and investing to ensure that we welcome our visitors back with enhanced safety and health protocols,” Lori Nelson-Kraft, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told Casino.org.
But beyond dividers, face masks, social distancing, temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, and reduced gaming floor occupancy to help curb COVID-19 transmission, there have been worries over safety, given the sometimes-violent actions seen in Las Vegas protests.
Boogaloo Suspects Charged
On Wednesday, federal officials announced that three alleged members of the “Boogaloo” movement — a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society — were charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas, and possession of a Molotov cocktail.
The three are: Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, all from Las Vegas. Each was charged by federal officials with a single count of conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and a single count of possession of unregistered firearms. Each was also charged by the Clark County District Attorney’s office for four related state violations.
To further reduce the risk of violence, the Nevada National Guard will be assisting local and state police. They were called out to Southern Nevada this week by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Injuries to Las Vegas Metro Officers
Over recent days, one Las Vegas Metro police officer was shot and critically wounded outside of Circus Circus Hotel & Casino. Many other Metro officers suffered a range of less-serious injuries during Black Lives Matter-organized protests over the weekend.
While most protesters were peaceful, some threw rocks at officers. Many also failed to disperse when asked to do so by officers.
The protests are in response to last week’s death of George Floyd. A Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, while three other Minneapolis officers at the scene failed to intervene.
Each of the four officers was arrested. Each was also fired by the police department.
Floyd’s death and underlying issues have led to protests globally. Hundreds of protesters in Las Vegas were arrested in the last several days.
“Violent instigators have hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death for their own radical agendas,” Nevada US Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement on Wednesday. “Law enforcement is focused on keeping violence and destruction from interfering with free public expression and threatening lives.”
Bans on Backpacks Debated
To reduce the risk of violence, two Clark County governmental bodies this week took up a proposed ban on containers at protests.
On Wednesday, the Clark County Commission delayed voting until June 16 on a proposed ban on backpacks, strollers, and other carrying devices at protests. Such a prohibition could conflict with free speech rights and limit opportunities for carrying food or water on hot summer days, opponents charge.
But the Las Vegas City Council agreed to temporarily ban most purses, backpacks, strollers, suitcases, and similar containers at protests. Someone who violates the new ordinance, if convicted, may spend up to six months in jail and/or pay a $1,000 fine, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said.
Metro police Director of Intergovernmental Services Chuck Callaway noted how some protesters in Clark County concealed Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and rocks in bags. The city of North Las Vegas may also enact a similar ordinance, the Review-Journal reported.
Protesters continued to gather in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. A Black Lives Matter-organized demonstration began outside of Las Vegas City Hall and may be headed to the Strip.
Despite the protests and COVID-19 requirements, many casinos in Las Vegas will reopen Thursday, the earliest allowed by Gov. Sisolak. Among these are Wynn Resorts’ two Strip properties, which will reopen at 10 a.m., and downtown’s El Cortez Hotel and Casino, which is opening at 8 a.m.
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