Weekly protests cause concern for Carson City officials

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 9:23 PM PDT
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There has been a protest held in Carson City against Govenor Steve Sisolak's non-essential business closures and stay at home directive for the past three weeks.

"When I see crowds protesting and gathering my usual reaction is okay, First Amendment that's what it's all about," Bob Crowell, the mayor of Carson City said. "And then in today's age, I look around in these crowds and all I see is coronavirus floating around in the air."

Hundreds packed the state capital and the governor's mansion on May 2, 2020 demanding that all businesses be allowed to reopen.

Crowell said he understands peoples' frustration, but the lack of social distancing was disturbing to see. He said he is even more concerned for first responders.

"If something does get out of control you know you gotta get right up next to somebody and that's not easy to do when the person could transmit a virus to you could kill you," Crowell said.

Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said the rally's organizers have helped keep protesters from crossing the line. He added that officers did not have to detain or arrest anyone. His major concern was when the protest moved from the capital to the Governor's Mansion.

"You cannot be in front of the Governor's Mansion without impacting people who live in that area," Furlong said. "And a lot of the protesters brought visible displays of weaponry into the area and certainly elevates our concern."

Some protesters came from other states to participate. Crowell said at this point he doesn't foresee having to issue a non-essential travel ban for Carson City.

"I doubt that I would go down that road to tell you the truth. I 'd rather keep things open and try and work with people rather than put up a fence and say stay out," Crowell said.

Another protest is scheduled for May 9 and more are likely in the weeks to come. Furlong is asking that everyone practice social distancing and refrain from putting themselves or others in danger.

"Certainly people have the right to express themselves but we don't want lives threatened or property damaged," he said.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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