Cavazos, Segerblom targeted by protests.Clark County politician's homes under siege. No end in sight
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Under a heat lamp, she sipped a drink. The concoction, fruity and refreshing, was better suited for a scorching summer day than a crisp, fall afternoon. Yet, fall had finally arrived in the Las Vegas Valley and with its appearance came rapidly shortening days, and quickly dropping temperatures. So there on the terrace of a chic brunch spot in the west Las Vegas enclave of Summerlin, Clark County School District Trustee Katie Williams sat, finishing her meal, and the sweet drink, preparing to head home before the sun dipped down too much further, and the chill became much cooler.
Yet, as the controversial official engaged in a quiet Sunday away from the rancour that had consumed her tenure on the CCSD board, across the Valley, on the east side of Clark County, a gathering occurred, one which posed the most existential threat yet to her budding political career. There a group, going by the moniker Las Vegas Freedom of Choice / Worldwide Freedom Rally, convened in a Walmart parking lot, with plans to bring intense protests directly to the homes of elected officials including Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, and CCSD Board President Linda Cavazos.
As Williams left Summerlin, returning home to the District B neighborhood she represents, the Freedom of Choice caravan proceeded to the residence of President Cavazos. As news of the protests began ricocheting across multiple social media platforms, a consensus emerged. One which cast blame for the unprecedented actions on Williams and two organizations she had just met with the day before, ‘My Children’s Advocate’ and ‘Make CCSD Great Again’. However as the events of the evening unfolded, a review of social media posts and text messages, along with speaking to Williams and others swept up in the furor over the evening’s actions, seems to indicate a rush to judgment occurred. In fact not only did those above vehemently deny their involvement, but people close to FOC/WWFR actively mocked Katie Williams and others while praising a different, more infamous Nevada politician, one with direct ties to the January 6th insurrection and the highest levels of the state GOP.
As seen in video obtained from a source, FOC/WWFR arrived in Cavazos’ neighborhood in high spirits, an almost festive energy pulsing through the group. A gaggle of adults and children took over the quiet neighborhood street, and while some engaged in a variety of chants, others can be heard planning their visit to Commissioner Segerblom’s house. While the video cuts out as they crossed into the front yard of the Cavazos’ home, what happened next sparked tremendous outrage. In events, some of which were confirmed by Cavazos’ herself, a witness, identified as Justin G. sent us this statement “The protestors advanced onto Cavazos’ driveway and even breached her front door. Her neighbors and I heard one of them even threaten to burn down her house.” Multiple reports also indicate that this is the first time Katie Williams’ name was directly brought up, a fact confirmed by Justin G. as well, “One of them screamed, ‘Katie sent us!' ” He then added the following, “I’m not saying she did or didn’t, that’s just what one of them said.”
When reached by Political.tips upon the first reports of her involvement, Williams’ issued the following statement "I don't condone protesting at personal residences, and I didn't send anyone to Linda Cavazos' house." She then added a general statement on Twitter which read “Let me be clear. While I will always support the First Amendment and the right to peaceably assemble. I not now, nor have I ever, supported protesting outside of a personal residence of any public figure. Nor have I ever directed individuals to do so."
At that point attention turned to the aforementioned Saturday meeting between Williams’ and the parenting support groups she convened with. According to sources close to the meeting, a fierce debate broke out between those described as “renegades” and Williams. With Williams going so far as to warn one notable school board meeting attendee that no one took the lamentations of the anti-vax, anti mask contingent seriously, due to their arguments being drowned out by the stunts they were pulling. When reached for comment, another of the participants from that confab, a member of ‘Make CCSD Great Again’ referred us to their original statement. It read in part “No one from the Make CCSD Great Again Team was present at the protest, and we have no intention of supporting any protests that take place in private residences. We're sorry to disappoint our haters, but not us.” A 'The Make CCSD Great' social media manager also commented on Williams’ alleged involvement issuing a sweeping rebuttal “...And I hope there is an investigation. Because it will be shown that she specifically advised against it yesterday at the event we were at. Let the investigation begin!” Their version of events, and lack of participation, was confirmed by messages we obtained showing a mixture of frustration, dismay, and wonderment that anyone would engage elected officials in direct action at their homes. It seems as though the chants of “Katie sent us” was both an elaborate misdirection, and an attempt to tie her into a protest she was clearly against.
As the chaos of the day unfolded, anger wasn’t just confined to those in the twitterverse. In a message sent to us by Trustee Danielle Ford she was direct in her criticism and suggested that there was clear indication police knew beforehand these events were a possibility. “This is a very hostile environment for a CCSD Trustee to be put in. It makes me wonder why CCSD police weren’t prepared to respond to all eventualities when rumors were circulating the whole weekend that we were all potential targets. Who do they answer to?”
Eventually dispersing from the home of their initial target, night having fallen, the FOC/WWFR assemblage arrived at the home of longtime Las Vegas politician Tick Segerblom. In a livestream feed from the scene which can be viewed here, the mood of the activists swung between the earlier party-like energy seen at the beginning of their mission and, seemingly serious, demands for the immediate resignation of Segerblom. Amplified by the use of a bullhorn, and standing atop vehicles, different members of the crowd took turns spouting invectives toward District E representative and his family. Among the most vocal was an individual identified as Brandon. This was presumed by some who watched the video to be Brandon Burns, founder of Las Vegas Freedom of Choice. Burns, who received significant notoriety for serving the CCSD Board of Trustees with a $200 million dollar lawsuit, saw his followers spend a total of around two hours in front of Segerblom’s house.
Reached during the siege, Commissioner Segerblom defended the First Amendment while questioning the motives of those behind the protests. “They have a right to protest but I’m not sure this accomplishes their purpose.” Then he ruminated over the basis of their core complaints, “...I honestly don’t understand their denial of science.” Segerblom ended his comments by offering an observation “I think someone is paying these people - at least the organizers.”
While Commissioner Segerblom was unable to substantiate his allegations of payments, a larger, more overarching political ecosystem does have ties to Brandon Burns and the endeavors of FOC/WWFR. Just days prior to the November 21st rallies, Burns announced plans to raise funds for Joey Gilbert’s race for Nevada governor. Gilbert, the Reno based lawyer, is also a legal advisor of the virulently anti-vaccine, “pro medical freedom group,” ‘America’s Frontline Doctor’s.’ Gilbert and Burns also joined forces in August for a different WWFR event, one heralded in two different areas of the official Nevada Republican Website. Gilbert was also a notable participant in the January 6th insurrection, and more recently has seen his candidacy endorsed by General Michael Flynn.
Neither Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, nor state GOP Director Alida Benson responded to requests for comment. We also reached out to Joey Gilbert, and members associated with FOC/WWFR, none of whom responded to us by press time.
Already some elected officials, who refused to be named due to privacy worries, told us they have been told their homes will be targeted next weekend. When will this end? And will it escalate? No one knows, that said, as the questions of funding and associations grow deeper, more questions will certainly be asked before any are truly answered. One thing for certain though is that the anger and outrage, if not the crimes, of the Capitol breach reached Clark County, and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding anytime soon.