by Brandon Summers | May 4, 2022
At a Board of Clark County Commissioners meeting on May 3, 2022, an ordinance to designate pedestrian bridges as crosswalks was set for discussion and possible adoption. But first, a presentation from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Captain Joshua Bitsko and Officer Monica Alnes of the Convention Center Area Command made an eighteen-minute video presentation to commissioners showing a variety of illegal acts that have occurred on the world famous Las Vegas Strip. The videos were sourced from surveillance cameras monitored and operated by the FBI/LVMPD Fusion Watch Center. Some of the illegal activity shown in the compilation included unlicensed vending, public nudity, public urination, drug use, public masturbation, three-card monty, and fights— activity that no sensible human being would find amusing or acceptable. However, when questioned on what data LVMPD had to justify a new zero-tolerance ordinance, they came up empty handed.
“We’re asking for the commissioners to deem the pedestrian bridges “no obstruction zones” twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Do you guys have any questions?“– Captain Joshua Bitsko #6928, Convention Center Area Command (CCAC)
Commissioner William McCurdy II (District D) asked Bitsko about data, and what proportion of incidents were violence versus lewdness. Bitkso’s response was that he could get data for commissioners, but that he didn’t have it available at the time of the meeting. Athar Haseebullah, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLUNV), had some strong words for Metro during public comment.
“The notion that data is not collectible when they [LVMPD] just put together a propaganda video to show a series of incidents from Fusion Center surveillance is ridiculous. Even the notion that the Tropicana bridge already has this regulation in place and no data has been provided from the Tropicana bridge to show what’s available.“Athar Haseebullah, Executive Director of the ACLU Nevada
Haseebullah went further, this time directing his frustrations toward county commissioners.
“I have not seen a non-data driven decision made by this county in some time. This would be a travesty of significant proportions.”
What is true is that ALL the activity described in copaganda presentation is already illegal and in violation of state statutes and/or county municipal code. If a cop wants to kick a sleeping homeless person off the bridge, it is within their power to do so. AND they already do this in addition to writing citations that funnel individuals (including street performers) into the Community Impact Court. At some point in the line of questioning, Captain Bitsko insinuated that his employees were powerless to enforce the obstructive use ordinance.
“Sometimes our officers ask someone to move along and they say no. And our officers don’t have the ability to conduct any kind of enforcement— even if they are obstructing, without being able to articulate why that’s a safety hazard“– Captain Joshua Bitsko #6928
It was silly but also infuriating when countered by the testimonies shared by street performers— many of whom had been arrested several times.