By Ty O’Neil and Bob Conrad
The person at the protest who was getting loud with the protesters, first reported by Our Town Reno, was today confirmed to be an ambassador for the Downtown Reno Partnership.
“The actions of the Ambassador in question do not reflect the Downtown Reno Partnership or Streetplus’ mission and values,” said Mike Higdon with the Partnership. “We are sorry about what happened. Even though he was off duty, he was suspended and an investigation is in process. It is Streetplus’ employee and they will make a decision based on their findings and employment policies.”
Street plus is the company the Partnership contracts with for the ambassador services.
A small group of demonstrators gathered at City Plaza Saturday afternoon for a rally against police violence. The protest was hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Individuals who spoke at the event talked about the killing of Minneapolis, Minnesota man George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the recent conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the crime.
They pointed to those events as signs of an evil system and called for it to be torn down and replaced with a system for the people.
After initial remarks by the organizers, comments that acknowledged the list of deaths at the hands of area law enforcement, the group marched through downtown chanting anti-police slogans.
They also encouraged people to say the names of those killed, including Sparks teen Miciah Lee.
While the protest remained relatively small, the group did garner attention as they marched. A few cheered and a few jeered the marchers, but nothing more than the exchange of words took place.
In an odd incident before the event officially began, a large shirtless man became hostile to the group. He continued to argue with protest attendees even after separating from the main group, but eventually left.
Our Town Reno, which had reporters on scene, reported that the man was a Reno Downtown Partnership Ambassador. The downtown partnership, in a comment on Instagram, apologized for the man’s behavior.
Medics say a downtown #Reno ambassador tried to disrupt their pre protest safety event today and then returned ripping his shirt off and making strange threats before bring escorted away. Photo and reporting by @RachelJacksonNV pic.twitter.com/HLvcKz9ZEB — Biggest Little Streets (@OurTownReno) April 25, 2021
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.