On Saturday, the death of George Floyd, who died while in Minneapolis Police custody, inspired hundreds of peaceful protesters to gather in Reno at the Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building and Reno City Hall. The peaceful event turned violent as evening approached.
Sometime around 6:30 p.m., the First Street door of Reno City Hall was smashed. A fire had reportedly been started. Graffiti was spray painted around the door. Reno Police and officers from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in riot gear established a barricade around City Hall at the intersection of First and Virginia streets.
The confrontation had a cycle.
Rioters would congregate in gradually growing numbers at the line of police. Some taunted the officers with shouted insults. Others sat in the middle of Virginia Street or just stood in the street next to the police.
The police did not engage the protesters verbally, and seemingly, when protesters got too close, too boisterous, or too large in number, they would deploy pepper gas and concussion grenades that reverberated off downtown buildings. No obvious arrests were made.
By 11:00 p.m., the Nevada National Guard had been deployed in support of Reno PD and officers from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. The Nevada Highway Patrol, Sparks Police, the Washoe County School District Police Department, and Douglas County SWAT officers also assisted.
Here is a brief audio montage produced from ambient recordings made while taking the photographs below.
Brian has been a public media producer for the better part of 25 years. He has been news director at three public radio stations, KRZA serving Alamosa, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico, KUNR in Reno, KVMR in Nevada City, California, and Brian was a co-founder of KNVC community radio in Carson City, 95.1 FM. He has reported for Capital Public Radio, Nevada Public Radio, and has filed numerous reports for the Pacifica Network News and National Public Radio. He holds a BA in English from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, and an MA in English from the University of Nevada Reno. Brian is a veteran of the sea-going US Navy, ‘79-’85. He and his wife have lived in Reno since 1999.