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Civil Unrest In Reno: May 30 Through June 3

The exterior of Reno City Hall. Police tape and a dumpster are surrounding the entrance. Broken windows are boarded.
Bree Zender
Many windows and doors were shattered at Reno City Hall on Saturday, May 30. City workers assessed and boarded the structural damage on Sunday, May 31.
Reno Police Department To Institute New Excessive Force Policy

4:55 p.m. | June 3, 2020

Acting City of Reno Manager Jason Soto is directing the Reno Police Department to craft a new formal policy where officers must intervene when they see other officers use excessive force.

During a press call Wednesday, Acting Police Chief Tom Robinson said it’s always been the expectation at the department, but there hasn’t yet been a formal written policy.

“We train that. We expect that of our officers. We verbalize that, our supervisors verbalize it to the officers. And, it’s probably time that we actually put it into paper and put it on our policy,” he said.

Community members have recently called for an excessive force policy in writing, with Robinson saying the department owes it to the community to do that.

City Of Reno Curfew Lifted

2:45 p.m. | June 3, 2020

The city of Reno's curfew has officially been lifted. But, acting city manager and former Reno Police Chief Jason Soto is still urging residents to avoid gathering in large groups.

Soto says he's taking his cues from the governor's guidelines of avoiding gatherings of 50 or more people.

“If we can do that, obviously that would be great. But I also understand that’s not really reasonable, and I certainly recognize that and I certainly understand that. So, my ask for our community is that we just do so in a safe and peaceful manner," Soto said during a press call Wednesday.

Soto says officers will not stop or detain people if they gather in groups of more than 50 people from gathering. He says since Saturday, the Reno Police Department has received thousands of tips of potential disruptions.

He adds that the curfew can be reinstated at any time, if conditions call for it.

Mayor Schieve Issues Ongoing Nightly Curfew For Reno

10:50 p.m. | June 2, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution for public safety, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve has issued an ongoing citywide curfew starting at 7 p.m. each night. 

The curfew will be in effect nightly from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. and will continue until terminated by Schieve.

In a statement, Reno officials say there are currently no known threats to the community. 

Schieve issued a Local State of Emergency on Saturday after violent rioting downtown, and the curfew is an extension of that declaration.

Residents are advised that there will continue to be a strong police presence throughout the city.

Local Law Enforcement Asks Public For Photos, Video of Reno Riot

9:48 p.m. | June 1, 2020

An evidence portal has been created for photos and videos from Saturday nights events after a peaceful protest against police brutality was turned into destruction.

The Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, a collaborative effort between the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, the Reno Police Department and the Sparks Police Department, is asking witnesses to send any evidence via the mobile link. 

The witness is not obligated to share their email or name, but they must share their cell phone number in order to send in material. 

The evidence will be used to identify those who participated in violent acts in downtown Reno on Saturday night. 

City of Reno Issues Curfew For Sunday Night

6:06 p.m. | May 31, 2020

Press Release by the City of Reno

Out of an abundance of caution for public safety, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve has issued a mandatory curfew within the Reno city limits starting at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Sunday, May 31. The curfew will go into effect beginning at 5:30 p.m. this evening and shall expire Monday, June 1 at 5 a.m. unless further extended. During the hours of the curfew only residents that have an essential reason to be out (i.e. people traveling to/from work, medical personnel, etc.) are permitted to be out past 5:30 p.m. in the Reno City limits. Residents are asked to please avoid the downtown area, and to adhere to the curfew to help protect the safety of our community. As a precaution, there may be a heavy police and National Guard presence in downtown Reno throughout the evening. The City of Reno also issued a mandatory curfew order last night, May 30, and Mayor Schieve issued a Declaration of the Existence of a Local State of Emergency.
Cleanup Efforts, Prosecution Following Saturday’s Civil Unrest

4:47 p.m. | May 31, 2020

Reno city leaders say they plan to prosecute anyone who participated in the violence that erupted after a peaceful Black Live Matter demonstration.

Two city employees standing while another employee is spraying the sidewalk in front of Reno City Hall. The sidewalk is lined by orange cones with tape that reads CAUTION. Many of the building's windows have been shattered and boarded with wood.
Credit Bree Zender / KUNR
Many windows at Reno City Hall were shattered on Saturday, May 30, by a group of protestors. City workers assessed and boarded the structural damage on Sunday, May 31.

Less than 24 hours after a protest turned violent in downtown Reno, residents, business owners and city officials were out in full force Sunday, assessing the damage and beginning cleanup efforts. 

While there are no official details on the extent of the damage, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve told reporters during a press conference Sunday, anyone involved in the vandalism or destruction of property will face prosecution. 

"If you were rioting in our streets and doing things that were harmful to our city, illegal activity, we will absolutely not tolerate that, and I want you to know we will prosecute,” Schieve said.

In total, 23 people were arrested as a result of the protests. However, it’s unclear whether the individuals were local to the area or from out of town.

Governor Steve Sisolak said the riot does little to further the cause. 

"This destruction does not do anything for the memory of Mr. Floyd, nothing,” said Governor Steve Sisolak, who also spoke during Sunday's press conference. “You're bringing disdain, and that's not right."

There are no other demonstrations planned in Reno for the foreseeable future, but law enforcement says they’re prepared if another round of protests turns violent.

Reno City Hall Closed On June 1

4:47 p.m. | May 31, 2020
Press Release by the City of Reno

Reno, Nevada (May 31, 2020) — The City of Reno is advising the public and media that Reno City Hall (1 E. First St.) will be closed tomorrow, Monday, June 1 to staff and the public to allow for cleaning and further damage assessment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, City Hall has been open in a limited capacity for non in-person business, but it will not be on June 1. The City of Reno would like to thank all of our residents who volunteered this morning to help clean up our downtown.
Washoe County Sheriff Reports 23 Arrests Tied To Civil Unrest, Most Are Locals

11:44 a.m. | May 31, 2020

On Sunday, Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam released the booking information for people who were taken into custody during the civil unrest on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. 

There were 23 people taken into custody, according to a press release. They include 16 Reno residents and four Sparks residents. The others are from Fallon, Truckee, and Anderson, California. 

Most are being charged with trespassing and/or resisting an officer. 

Earlier on Sunday morning, Sheriff Balaam released the following statement, calling for peace moving forward:

Last night, a peaceful protest turned violent when a group of individuals threw rocks into Reno City Hall and a fire began. I am deeply, deeply disappointed and concerned. As Sheriff of Washoe County, my number one priority is the health and safety of this community – a community we are proud to live in and represent. What happened last night cannot happen again. Washoe County is a proud community – a community of diverse individuals who respect, honor and fight for one another every day. It has been this way my entire life. These are challenging times and I understand there are people in our community who do not feel heard or seen. Let me tell these family members – I see you, I hear you and I will continue to listen. But we must listen to each other peacefully and respectfully. I implore Washoe County to not tolerate the violence we witnessed last night. While the curfew is lifted, now is not the time to return to the destruction of last night. This morning is the time to return to the hope and promise of a new day, to look at ourselves and each other and ask how we can be better. How we can listen to the words our brothers and sisters are saying – silently and out loud.

Reno Police Chief Releases Statement About Saturday's Civil Unrest

11:44 a.m. | May 31, 2020

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto has released the following statement on Facebook about the civil unrest on Saturday.

A message from Reno Police Chief/Acting City Manager Jason Soto: I want to start off by stating that we at the Reno Police Department/City of Reno are extremely saddened and angry over the senseless killing of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of officers of the Minneapolis police department. Those actions do not reflect the values of our men and women at the Reno Police Department, and I think the actions of our officers last night showed just that on a very large scale. In terms of yesterday’s event, there have been many questions and/or critique in regards to our approach. Before I get into that, I want to speak to what was our greatest concern....which was the paramount safety of every citizen in our region, and the safety of every officer working the plethora of scenes. We were successful in that endeavor. Without getting into finite details....it was an extremely challenging and logistical stretch of hours. In addition to holding several key areas from being further destroyed and/or damaged, there were approximately 20 other locations of concern for RPD in terms of community safety that were being acutely balanced. It’s easy to say/or question our ability to make immediate arrests (which we did when appropriate), however, there was an incredible balance to do so without putting lives in danger. We had every resource from our agency, and that of our regional partners from WCSO, SPD, CCSO, NHP, federal partners and ultimately the National Guard working last night. A task that seems as simple as blocking off every entry point into downtown Reno, along with strategical placement at businesses, landmarks and areas is extremely taxing on manpower. This was focused not only on the Reno Police Station and City Hall....and our officers, along with regional assistance, did an incredible job of keeping additional persons, many from outside this region, from making an incredibly challenging scene worse. These were not the event goers of the Black Lives Matter demonstration. They held a peaceful protest and, for the large majority, left the area. Many of these individuals that created and caused so much damage to our Biggest Little City were from areas other than Reno. I am proud in the response of our officers and how they handled themselves last night. And although I too am disappointed of the physical damage that was caused, I am hopeful and convinced that all of us from Reno will move forward, into a better future for our children, families, loved ones, friends, and community. Thank you to all of our community for reaching out with overwhelming support of our officers.....the finest and most dedicated professionals in this nation~”

Reno Mayor Schieve Declares State of Emergency

2:23 a.m. | May 31, 2020

Mayor Hillary Schieve is declaring a state of emergency for the city of Reno that is expected to be made official later Sunday. That declaration can help the city apply for funding from FEMA. 

Also, a spokesperson with the Reno Police Department has told KUNR that the agency will not be releasing data on the number of arrests made until later Sunday. 

Law Enforcement Demands Protesters To Disperse; RTC Offers Alternative Operations

11:56 p.m. | May 30, 2020

There continues to be a heavy police presence in the downtown Reno area, and law enforcement is demanding that the remaining protesters leave the scene. The Reno Police Department expanded the boundaries of an earlier unlawful assembly designation to include the entire city on Saturday night. The department says anyone on the streets are to leave immediately, and violators are subject to arrest.

Law enforcement has been repeatedly using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd throughout the night. The crowd broke into city hall and started fires there Saturday evening. People in the crowd have thrown objects and shoved officers. They have also set a security cart on fire, which has burned to the ground, broke into an ATM, and smashed several windows of private businesses.

A small vehicle engulfed in flames next to a commercial building.
Credit Paul Boger / KUNR
A security cart was set on fire in downtown Reno on Saturday, May 30, and eventually burned to the ground.

Gov. Steve Sisolak activated members of the Nevada National Guard to secure government buildings. Members of Nevada National Guard's 137th Military Police Company have been called in to support local officers to keep the peace and protect property.

The Regional Transportation Commission has suspended regular service and its transit operator Keolis is helping people leave the area with emergency service. Vehicles labeled with the blue KEOLIS logo will transport individuals door-to-door to get them home safely from the following four locations:

  1. UNR / Lawlor
  2. Keystone Ave & 7th Street at Raley’s parking lot
  3. Renown Medical Center by Rt. 14 bus stop

Each transit vehicle can transport up to four passengers, who must wear face coverings when boarding the vehicle (face coverings may be available to those not having one).
For information please call (775) 434-8595 or email SAFE@KeolisReno.com. At this time, this service will be available until 2 a.m. Sunday.

NDOT is reporting that the downtown ramps to and from I-80 are closed from Keystone to Wells Avenue, including downtown.

The organizers of Saturday's march to seek "Justice for George Floyd" in Reno have released a statement on Facebook saying that they are deeply saddened by the events that occurred after their peaceful protest ended. The organizers went on to say that they asked all of the protestors to go home after the event ended and to keep the peace. They added that "this was not our people."

The Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster released a lengthy statement as well saying, "The Reno Sparks NAACP is well aware of the effort to create mayhem and corrupt the good work of thousands who have suffered and died to move our country to a better future. Disingenuous individuals are attempting to create a counter-productive and harmful situation for African Americans and other innocent and well-meaning civilians."

Sisolak Activates Nevada National Guard

9:52 p.m. | May 30, 2020

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that based on the violence in downtown Reno Saturday night, he has activated members of the Nevada National Guard to secure government buildings.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto declared that what's occurring is an unlawful assembly in downtown Reno. KOLO-TV is reporting that people who are on the streets in the area of Liberty Street to Interstate 80 and from Ralston Street to Wells Avenue are subject to arrest and should leave immediately.

Soto said on Twitter that along with Reno Police, Sparks Police, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office and federal partners are all en route to the scene.

Reno, Washoe County Under Curfew Through Sunday, May 31

9:52 p.m. | May 30, 2020

There is a curfew in place for Saturday night effective immediately for downtown Reno. In addition to the City of Reno, all of Washoe County is now included in the immediate curfew Saturday night.

Two public safety alerts. Reno curfew in effect. Heavy police presence downtown. Citizens avoid area and stay home. County Sheriff and Sparks Police Chief extend curfew countywide. Citizens stay home tonite.
Credit Screenshot / KUNR
Public safety alerts have been circulated throughout Reno, Sparks and Washoe County by phone or text message on Saturday, May 30.

Residents have been receiving automated phone calls or text messages saying there is a heavy police presence in the area and to please stay home. 

On Twitter, Mayor Hillary Schieve said: "Effective immediately, we have instituted a curfew for the City of Reno. Citizens are advised to stay indoors and avoid public gatherings. Peaceful protest and the right to assembly are sacred. Violence and destruction are not."  

A group of people has broken into Reno City Hall and started fires there. Reporter Lucia Starbuck was at the scene for This Is Reno. She has posted a photo on Twitter of a protester shot with a rubber bullet. 

KUNR's Paul Boger is on the scene at Reno City Plaza and felt the tear gas that's being used by law enforcement. Protesters are being asked to disperse. Boger explained that protesters have been throwing objects at law enforcement and shoving law enforcement. Police then released tear gas in the area to break up the crowd.

KOLO-TV is reporting that there are several police cars with broken windows at the Second Street Police Station in Reno.

The activity comes after Saturday's earlier protest of police brutality and the death of George Floyd, who said he couldn't breathe while a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

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