Human rights group highlights Nevada City protest violence |

Human rights group highlights Nevada City protest violence

An Amnesty International report released last week includes Nevada City’s August counter-protest violence as an example of police departments nationwide failing to protect peaceful protesters.

The report documents roughly 200 demonstrations across the country between May and September that became violent, and claims to have confirmed more than a dozen cases of police “demonstrably failing to keep assemblies peaceful and to protect participants from violent confrontations between protests.”

Police Chief Chad Ellis couldn’t be reached for comment.

The August counter-protest clash has since led to three arrests and two investigations into potential police misconduct, with one to remain a confidential internal investigation.

At a meeting following the protest, several demonstrators told the Nevada City Council were directly denied assistance by officers at the scene and claimed the department made it difficult for them to file reports.

On Aug. 25 Nevada City contracted with Paragon Investigative Services for an after-action report that would conclude whether allegations of police failing to take appropriate action are sustained, exonerated, not sustained, or unfounded. The report will not provide recommendations based on those findings. The contract allows for roughly 50 hours of work before it would need to go back before the council.

Mayor Erin Minett has said the report would take weeks to complete.

Nevada City Manager Catrina Olson could not be reached for an update on the investigation’s progress.

When Councilwoman Daniela Fernandez tried to get an update on the investigation during a council meeting Olson said it would have to be given in private.

Councilman Doug Fleming said he would receive an update today.

The human rights group report recommends additional training for police officers based on internationally recognized standards, including training to de-escalate and differentiate between violence and non-violent protesters.

It also highlighted the threat of armed groups opposing protesters and recommends local municipalities take proactive measures to prevent violent demonstrators from interfering with polling places.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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