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Citywide curfew draws criticism from civil rights leaders

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A 7 p.m. citywide curfew was issued for a third night Tuesday in Reno, and Mayor Hillary Schieve says they’ll continue until further notice. The curfew is in effect nightly from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning, established in the interest of public safety.

The curfew follows Schieve’s Declaration of the Existence of a Local State of Emergency on May 30 after riots rocked downtown Reno following a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

According to a statement from the city, “no person—with the exception of law enforcement, military and other emergency response personnel, government officials and authorized media—shall enter or remain in the public right of way, public parks or any other public place in Reno unless they have an essential reason to be out.”

Reno Police patrolled downtown Reno to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew Tuesday, May 2. Image: Ty O'Neil
Reno Police patrolled downtown Reno to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew Tuesday, May 2. Image: Ty O’Neil

Those reasons to be out include traveling to and from work or seeking emergency care.

The city said their intent isn’t to prevent lawful protests and demonstrations, but mixed messages are coming from city leadership. Reno City Councilmember Devon Reese shared the mayor’s order on Facebook with the added guidance, “Business can stay open….just no large gatherings in open space.”

The Nevada ACLU’s Executive Director Tod Story said the order “undermines the people’s right to peaceably assemble.”

“The Mayor’s announcement of a potentially indefinite curfew tonight for the entire City of Reno raises serious constitutional questions that need to be remedied,” Story said. “Any curfew order requires an imminent threat of danger or harm and must be limited to the specific places in the City where the harm is likely to take place, not the entire City. The order fails to identify a present state of civil disorder to warrant even one evening of a forced curfew.”

The city’s statement indicates, “There are currently no known threats to the Reno community.” Despite that, the curfew order is accompanied by a strong police presence throughout the city as law enforcement officials monitor protests and demonstrations throughout the area.

Story said both the curfew and stepped up policing create greater risks for demonstrators.

“It places all members of the community, especially people of color, at risk of engaging in the hostile interactions that demonstrations across the country seek to eradicate. … We encourage the Mayor to rethink this strategy immediately.”

Reno Police patrolled downtown Reno to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew Tuesday, May 2. Image: Ty O'Neil
Reno Police patrolled downtown Reno to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew Tuesday, May 2. Image: Ty O’Neil
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