ACLU, Clark County School District appear in court as district is criticized for lack of transparency

ACLU, Clark County School District appear in court as district is criticized for lack of transparency

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Clark County School District (CCSD) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU) were in court again on Tuesday.

At issue is access to records in a case where a CCSD police officer used force against a student at Durango High School.

“I think CCSD answered some of those things and did not answer some of those things,” Judge Danielle Pieper of Clark County District Court said.

As both sides appeared in district court, CCSD’s transparency was the focus of the ACLU.

“They actually filed a declaration with [CCSDPD Chief Mike] Blackeye under oath saying, ‘Oh, there are no witness statements from the incident.’ And the second time it was ‘Oh, we can’t give it to you we have to protect the witnesses and their statements.’ Right, so we pivot over, ‘oh actually there are witness statements,’” Chris Peterson, senior staff attorney for ACLU of Nevada, said.

On Feb. 9, a CCSD officer is seen on video taking a Durango High School student to the ground near campus. The district cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, but that investigative record CCSD claims isn’t public.

“The district has maintained there are two separate incidents here,” Jackie Nichols, the attorney for CCSD, said.

According to CCSD, the first incident was a criminal investigation into several teens at Durango High School, and then a separate internal investigation was launched into the officer’s conduct.

Nichols said the ACLU didn’t know what it wanted.

“What exactly is the ACLU requesting? Are they requesting the investigative file? Or are they requesting the investigative report? I don’t think it’s clear,” Nichols said in court.

After Tuesday’s court hearing, the ACLU accused CCSD of muddying the waters on what records it has.

“Most recently in the last few months, we’ve learned that there’s a ton of other information, including information that’s in the investigative file, that they never disclosed in the beginning,” Athar Haseebullah, the executive director of the ACLU, said.

The district judge ordered CCSD on Monday to release the police department’s body cam footage and other documents related to that incident by Jan. 17.

Haseebullah said he expects CCSD to appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. The ACLU is also seriously considering filing a civil case against CCSD on behalf of the students it is representing.

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