LAS VEGAS (AP) — No one was seriously injured but more than two dozen people were taken into custody in Las Vegas after a fight broke out following the city’s annual parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Police said they had the situation under control shortly after a series of altercations in downtown Las Vegas about 4 p.m. Monday.
The Las Vegas Sun reported the only person who required medical treatment was a man who apparently was punched in the lip.
It’s not clear what started the fight that marred an otherwise peaceful celebration as thousands of people took to the streets for the parade off the Las Vegas Strip.
“We’re celebrating one of the most magnificent human beings ever,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said at the parade with the theme, “Living the Dream: Building a Bridge to Unity.”
Labor unions had their usual big presence on what would have been King’s 89th birthday, ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
Activists in northern Nevada made their 20th annual motorcade trek on a stretch of Reno freeway named after the slain civil rights leader.
In Reno, parents helped children decorate dozens of cars for the traditional caravan with signs, flags and balloons led by some of the organizers of the campaign that helped designate part of U.S. 395 as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway.
Onie Cooper Jr., whose father was an early civil rights leader in Reno during the 1960s, remembered a darker day a half century ago when the segregated city was known as the “Mississippi of the West.”
“It wasn’t a good place to be to be honest with you, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Cooper told KTVN-TV in Reno.
Black performers couldn’t say or eat in most of the casinos where they performed back then. It wasn’t until the 1970s that discrimination ended legally in Nevada with the passing of the state’s Open Housing Law in 1971.
“I try to think of the good things I went through, not so much the bad things to be honest with you,” Cooper said. “But yes, there was definitely racism here.”
Las Vegas police didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the fight following the parade.
Lt. Grant Rogers told KVVU-TV police received at least three calls from witnesses reporting fights had broken out after the parade on 3rd Street and Fremont Street.
Rogers said police took multiple juveniles into custody after the first caller reported juveniles were involved in a fight.
The second caller reported they had been punched in the face and requested medical assistance. He said the final caller reported about 100 people were pushing and shoving each other.