A woman who took part in anti-police protests along the Las Vegas Strip two years ago is now suing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). She claims she was unfairly targeted by officers for her public support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Protestors at the Las Vegas Strip during a June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest, pictured above. A July 2020 protestor is now suing the LVMPD for civil rights violations. (Image: Desert Companion/Chris Smith)
In the recently-filed federal legal action, Alexandria Devore says the LVMPD, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Metro Police Lt. Kurt McKenzie, and 12 LVMPD officers violated her civil rights and other laws.
Specifically, the lawsuit claims local authorities used excessive force against Devore during a July 4, 2020 protest. They also allegedly violated her free speech and free expression rights, as well as the right to equal protection, right to assemble, and right to due process.
The lawsuit further claims she was falsely imprisoned. Officers allegedly inflicted emotional distress on her.
While at one protest south of the Strip, near a police substation on Las Vegas Boulevard, she attempted to move equipment from the substation lot. Metro officers blocked the lot after BLM protesters showed up, the suit said.
Cops Allegedly Made Threats
Metro officers were overheard saying they were going to “get the girl in the yellow shirt.” Officers also threatened to apprehend her, the lawsuit said.
Soon, Devore was charged. Officers “threw her against the police car and handcuffed her,” the lawsuit said.
When she was taken to the Clark County Detention Center, Devore was inappropriately touched by another inmate while in a cell, the lawsuit said. Other female prisoners alerted guards to the offensive behavior shown by the allegedly combative inmate.
Two months after her arrest, Devore’s charges were dismissed in local court. But the charges and police response against Devore were unfair to begin with, the suit claims.
The LVMPD actions toward her were “more aggressive than its response to other protests that did not involve messages criticizing law enforcement,” the lawsuit says.
Wrongful Arrest Claim
Also, Devore underwent a “wrongful arrest” that was “in retaliation for [Devore] exercising her First Amendment right to speak out about police brutality and systemic racism,” the lawsuit claims.
Devore “experienced first-hand the injustices she was protesting against,” the lawsuit continued. Metro officers threatened to cite her and other protestors with “spurious charges.”
Devore took part in several BLM protests in Las Vegas during the summer of 2020, after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minn. while he was in police custody. His death led to nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
LVMPD officers remembered Devore from prior BLM demonstrations, the lawsuit alleges. Her car was covered with pro-BLM statements, the lawsuit adds. She also challenged how officers handled other protestors and inmates.
Devore’s case was assigned to US District Judge Cristina D. Silva and US Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler. The lawsuit is asking for damages and legal fees.
LVMPD Declines Comment
Casino.org asked for comment on the allegations. LVMPD Spokesperson Larry Hadfield explained in an email the “LVMPD does not comment on pending litigation.”
Devore is represented by Margaret A. McLetchie, a Las Vegas attorney. McLetchie is a prior legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
Also, other Las Vegas residents have filed lawsuits against the LVMPD for alleged excessive force while they were bystanders at BLM protests along the Strip.
The Strip is one of the key locations of casinos, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues in Clark County.
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