By Perly Viasmensky
Almost two years since the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, to some people it’s like it happened yesterday. The trial of police officer Derek Chauvin has been full of comments in favor of and against conviction, and more than anything else, threats and more threats to burn cities down and intimidate the selected jurors and their families.
Here in Las Vegas, after the verdict was read, during a news conference Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Chris Darcy said, “It’s a victory for Justice,” and that he was relieved to see Chauvin found guilty.
According to news reports and people who attended the news conference (not according to us, because the administration of Metro Police considers the Las Vegas Tribune persona non-grata), Undersheriff Darcy said: “What we saw was a person, who happened to be a police officer, commit murder and then stand trial for it and was subsequently convicted for it, and that shows that the system works.”
Undersheriff Darcy said Metro works to ensure that officers like Chauvin have no place in the department. I am very surprised that with almost 30 years in law enforcement, Undersheriff Darcy forgets that Las Vegas also has its fair share of police-involved killings of many years past and up to as recently as 2020. All police departments around the nation have their good and bad apples.
Almost two years to the date everybody is remembering George Floyd as a martyr, and displaying signs reading “Say his name.” How many people remember the two officers that lost their lives while having lunch in 2014? Alyn Beck, a 41-year-old father of three who had worked at the department for 13 years, and 31-year-old Igor Soldo, who had been on the force since 2006 and had a newborn baby. I don’t see anybody displaying a sign or screaming “SAY THEIR NAMES.”
Remember the Las Vegas Police Officer Shay Mikalonis, who was paralyzed from the neck down after he was shot in the head during a protest outside Circus Circus Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Blvd. on June 1, 2020, during a Black Lives Matter protest?
Mikalonis was shot in the back of the head by 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego, leaving the officer in that paralized state of affairs.
The young four-year veteran of the force collapsed as the bullet pierced his spine and lodged into the right side of his face, while Samaniego walked toward a nearby Travelogue hotel, also according to news reports.
Edgar Samaniego has been sitting at the Clark County Detention Center since he shot officer Mikalonis on June 1 and many of us in the Las Vegas community want to know when we can repeat the words of Undersheriff Darcy “It’s a victory for Justice.”
Shay Mikalonis was a victim of one of several violent clashes between police and protesters after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody following an incident under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin.
Davis Patrick Underwood, a 53-year-old Federal Protective Service officer, was shot dead in Oakland, California, while 13 other officers were injured on the scene.
Sergeant Stephen Williams, 50, of Moody, Alabama, a father of three, was shot and killed in the line of duty at a Super 8 Hotel on June 2.
SAY THEIR NAMES! I believe it is time for Undersheriff Chris Darcy to recognize that communities also have the right to stand by our police officers injured or killed by protesters and say loud and clear “Justice prevailed; it’s a victory for justice. SAY THEIR NAMES.”
* * * * *
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at email@example.com