22 March 2023
Clark County schools Superintendent Jesus Jara declined to respond to questions during a Tuesday press conference about records requests for a February incident involving district police and students that the district has denied.
The press conference came a day before Jara and district’s police chief, Mike Blackeye, are set to appear at a joint legislative hearing by the Senate education and judiciary committees, where they are expected to field questions about the school police department’s policies in response to multiple officer-related incidents at Clark County schools.
“We have entrusted the Clark County School District (CCSD) Police Department with keeping our schools safe, and recent incidents have been a significant deviation from that mandate,” said Senate Education Committee Chair Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas). “Senator [Melanie] Scheible and I are holding this hearing to learn more about the Clark County School District Police Department’s policies and what has led to these unacceptable outcomes.”
Multiple news outlets and the ACLU of Nevada have asked for records, including body camera footage and an incident report stemming from the Feb. 9 incident near Durango High School in Las Vegas. A video of the incident shows a Clark County school police officer pushing a Black student to the ground and placing his knee on the student’s back to hold him down while other officers detain two additional students. The news outlets and ACLU of Nevada say the district has denied those requests.
“CCSD police have repeatedly and falsely suggested our clients were involved with guns in order to justify their officers violently attacking and detaining our clients without cause,” the ACLU of Nevada said in a statement Monday. “Our clients demand this slander cease and that the bodycam footage be released immediately.”
The district held the press conference to announce the launch of its new data dashboard, but it later shifted to questions about why the district is refusing to release those records. A Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter asked Jara to commit to releasing those records.
“I’ll commit to releasing the data dashboard that we have in front of us because this is what this is about,” Jara said. “It’s not about the request that you have. We’re here to celebrate the great work that’s happening in our schools, in our community, in our school district.”
The ACLU of Nevada, which is representing the students involved in the February incident, has said if the requested records are not released within the next 30 days, it plans to take the matter to court.
The post Jara dodges questions on police report ahead of legislative hearing on school policing appeared first on The Nevada Independent.