UPDATE: Nevada City police make arrest after violent protest | TheUnion.com
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UPDATE: Nevada City police make arrest after violent protest

James Steven Smith

UPDATE at 4:45 p.m. Aug. 14, 2020:

Nevada City police officers arrested a suspect Friday as a result of their investigation into Sunday’s violent clashes during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

The man, identified as James Steven Smith, 40, was described by Police Chief Chad Ellis as “one of the primary aggressors.”

Smith was arrested a little after 3 p.m. at a residence on Buckeye Road. He was booked into the Nevada County Jail on felony charges of robbery and assault likely to cause great bodily injury, Ellis said. He remained held that afternoon on $100,000 in bond, reports state.

Smith’s local criminal record consists of a number of misdemeanor cases. The most recent is over 10 years old, court records show.

According to Ellis, the investigation is ongoing and further arrests are expected.

“Throughout the week, investigators from the Nevada City Police Department have been working in partnership with investigators from the Grass Valley Police Department, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office,” Ellis said in a press release. “Many victims and witnesses have come forward as well as multiple video clips taken from community members’ cell phones.”

After the rally, multiple videos surfaced of apparent assaults and numerous calls were made for action. Nevada City resident Kim Musillani had videotaped one man aggressively confronting her and told The Union another man knocked her off balance by pushing her with his American flag, leaving her with bruises. Other videos showed men tearing signs out of demonstrators’ hands, grabbing a man and slamming him into the ground and hitting another man on the side of the head.

“The actions demonstrated by the counter-protesters cannot and will not be tolerated in any of our local communities,” Ellis said. “There is no place for the hatred and violence which occurred in our town last Sunday, and we as a community need to stick together and flush it out.”

Musillani and others said the initial confrontation came at the beginning of the march, when counter-protestors formed a line across Broad Street. Once demonstrators started to make their way past them, the men began following and pushing people. Then, on the other side of the highway, the counter-demonstrators began “herding” the Black Lives Matters group and causing more conflicts, Musillani said.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Smith is alleged to have body slammed one victim and thrown him to the ground. He forcibly took a cell phone from another victim and dropped it down a sewer.

Initially posted:

Nevada City police officers arrested a suspect Friday as a result of their investigation into Sunday’s violent clashes during a Black Lives Matter demonstration, authorities said.

The man, identified as James Steven Smith, 40, was described by Police Chief Chad Ellis as “one of the primary aggressors.” According to Ellis, the investigation is ongoing and further arrests are expected.

After the rally, multiple videos surfaced of apparent assaults and numerous calls were made for action.

Check back for more on this story.


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