Were Bernie Sanders Supporters Violent at the Nevada Convention?

bernie sanders

Bernie Sanders’ supporters are being accused of violence at the Nevada Democratic Convention. But delegates who were there say this isn’t true. (Getty)

The Nevada Democratic Convention last weekend was highly contentious, as many Bernie Sanders’ supporters and delegates felt that they were denied their voice. The key complaints included 64 uncredentialed delegates, a questionable voice vote, and a motion at the end of the night that was ignored by the party chair. But instead of these issues highlighting the news, attention turned to accounts of “violent acts” by Sanders supporters. However, delegates who were at the convention said there was no violence at all. Meanwhile, Sanders himself experienced violence back in January, when shots were fired at his Nevada campaign office while he was there, prompting some to question if the shots were aimed at Sanders.

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Sanders’ Supporters Were Angered After Their Voice Was Denied During the Nevada Convention

Roberta Lange Illegally Ends Nevada Convention #nvdemconventionRecorded by: https://twitter.com/jhfearless Petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/investigate-misconduct-chair-5142016-nevada-democratic-convention Basically, people waited more than 16 hours in the convention and temporary rules were introduced which included refusing 64 delegates from entering. The speaker actually asked for nay/yeas on whether or not to use the temporary rules, although she completely ignored the results and said it was incontestable. When someone called for a motion in recounting the delegates at the convention, Roberta Lange went up on stage quickly read from a piece of paper ignored the nay/yeas once again and abruptly ended the convention. This was then followed by outrage from delegates. I watched most of what happened on a periscope stream, democracy was ridiculed last night.2016-05-15T07:27:52.000Z

The entire day of the Nevada convention was hugely disorganized. According to Angie Morelli, a national delegate for Nevada, the main issues included a motion by Roberta Lange, chair of the Nevada Democratic party, to approve controversial rules of order. She approved the rules, stating the ayes outweighed the nays, despite numerous delegates reporting that this was not the case at all.

Another big point of contention occurred when the credentialing committee pulled the credentials of 64 Sanders delegates, Morelli said, six of whom were later re-approved. Most of the Sanders’ delegates weren’t able to have a hearing about their status, delegates reported.

Pat Barrett, a Clinton delegate in Nevada who was also uncredentialed, told The Young Turks that she was told certain party leaders could scrub any delegate they wanted, even if the delegate was properly registered.

The next big issue happened at the end of the night, when a motion for a headcount vote was given, Morelli shared. Before it could be considered, Lange motioned to adjourn the convention and approved the adjournment without giving the attendees a real chance to vote. (You can see what happened in the video above.) Barrett, a Clinton delegate, said the Sanders side was much fuller at the end of the day and they would have won the vote if listened to.


2. There Were No Documented Reports of Violence, Despite a Complaint Filed by the Nevada State Democratic Party

Bradley Schrager, general counsel for the Nevada State Democratic Party, wrote a complaint for the Nevada Democratic Party that claimed that there was “actual violence” in the convention. He added that there was “encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats.” You can read the complaint at this link.

Much of what is in this letter is at odds with what Sanders’ delegates reported at the Convention.  In the CNN clip above, Van Jones reported that there were no arrests or reported violence from Sanders’ supporters, although there was one reported arrest of a Clinton supporter in an incident unrelated to the Convention itself.

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, addressed this complaint on his YouTube show, in the video posted below. He pointed out that there were no acts of violence caught on video. Uygur said his staff looked extensively through videos from the convention and found no violence, despite livestreams available for the entire day.

VideoVideo related to were bernie sanders supporters violent at the nevada convention?2016-05-18T20:22:00-04:00

In his complaint, Schrager wrote that Sanders employed delegates as “shock troops” who rushed the dais with screams and profanity. Attendees did, indeed, protest loudly. But videos don’t show any indication of actual violence, which the complaint claimed had happened.


3. According to a Nevada Delegate, the Only ‘Chair Throwing’ Incident Was One Person Who Tried, But Was Stopped by a Group of Sanders Supporters

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Sanders supporters stopped one intended act of violence at the Nevada Convention. (Getty)

Justin Grigg, a delegate who was at the convention, posted to Reddit about his experience. He later confirmed with Heavy what happened.

“Let me make something perfectly clear,” Grigg wrote. “WE. WERE. NOT. VIOLENT… There were no chairs thrown, and as far as I know, there was no kind of fight that occurred.”

In fact, one person caught that “chair throwing” incident on video. It shows one guy raising a chair, and then other supporters stopping him and getting him to the put the chair back down. They then hug each other. The video shows a scene of passionate protesting, but not violence:

He wrote that there were two photos circulating of security bending over people on the floor, but there had also been a couple medical emergencies where security was needed to help. He wrote:

We went out of our way to remain peaceful. One guy did rush the stage with a chair with the intent to throw it after Lange ended the convention prematurely, but the rest of us stopped him, because we knew that we had to remain peaceful… The notion that Bernie supporters were violent at the convention or at the protest is a complete lie.”

Another delegate shared on Reddit that many people claimed a Clinton supporter was assaulted and fell to the floor after Barbara Boxer’s speech. He wrote that he was there, five feet away, and the woman had actually fainted from heat and stress. She was not assaulted.


4. Roberta Lange Received Many Hateful Emails and Phone Calls

Lange, who ran the proceedings at the convention, received many hateful and even threatening emails and phone calls. The sources of the messages haven’t been tracked or verified, although she told KTNV some of them were from Sanders supporters. If any of them were Sanders supporters, they were not reflective of the Sanders’ campaign and message, according to Uygur, who frequently reports on Sanders on The Young Turks. Sanders is against violence and against war. He’s always been clear that he doesn’t condone these types of actions.

Some Sanders supporters have said that it is flawed to blame an entire group on the actions of a few, or to assume that Sanders’ supporters would approve of the threatening messages. Clinton supporters have also been known to send hateful messages to people who say positive things about Sanders. But her entire group of supporters haven’t been labeled as “violent” due to the very wrong actions of a few.

Sanders himself said in a statement:

Party leaders in Nevada claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence…’ That is nonsense… It goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence.”


5. Shots Were Fired at Sanders’ Nevada Office in January, Prompting Questions of an ‘Assassination Attempt’

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Shots were fired at Sanders’ campaign office in Nevada in January, while he was in town interviewing with local media. (Getty)

Although the unproven violence at the Nevada convention has been covered extensively, little attention was given to violence aimed at Sanders back in January. In his response to the Nevada convention, Sanders said in a statement:

When we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.”

This is true. Several articles from that time period confirm this, but the media did not pick up on it at the time. For example, this article by the Las Vegas Sun mentioned that police were investigating whether someone shot at Sanders’ campaign offices in Nevada in January, after a bullet hole was found in the office window.

The bullet hole was found on the same day that Sanders had been doing media interviews in the very same office. The Inquisitr even published an article questioning whether this was an assassination attempt. At that point in the campaign, Trump, Clinton, and even Carson had been given Secret Service details, but Secret Service had not yet been provided for Sanders.