LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and the Rio Hotel on Monday claiming a group of Black partygoers were unjustly detained, searched and arrested at a birthday party in 2018.
Nine people, who LVMPD says were “documented gang members,” were arrested at the Rio Hotel-Casino on numerous charges after police broke up a party on August 19, 2018.
ACLU says their plaintiffs, and many others, were celebrating a birthday party.
“No Nevadan should have their civil rights violated just for attending a birthday party, yet that is exactly what happened to the plaintiffs in this case,” the ACLU stated.
According to the ACLU, the hotel was aware of the party that night, and staff discussed the hotel’s noise policies with the group. After 2 a.m., the ACLU claims police officers, escorted by hotel staff, stormed into the suite.
“Each of the 34 guests was searched, handcuffed, and forced to sit in the hallway for up to 6 hours without access to water, food, or restroom facilities,” the ACLU noted.
A Metro Police Captain told media that noise complaints and the smell of marijuana tipped off hotel security to the party.
Police arrested two people for carrying a concealed weapon and reported that seven of the partygoers had active warrants for their arrests for charges unrelated to this incident.
LVMPD says five weapons were confiscated that night.
Metro Police Capt. John Pelletier said those arrested posed “a significant risk to the safety of the community.”
The ACLU claims that police officers “administered pat-downs and record checks indiscriminately without any reasonable suspicion” that the group had, or would have engaged, in criminal activity.
The ACLU notes that no person at the party was arrested for criminal gang activity.
“Las Vegas police and the Rio violated our clients’ rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. We filed this case to confront police policies that allow officers to conduct these