The Nevada State Democratic Party warned the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Monday about the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying that they have a penchant for violence. They also alleged that Sanders' supporters may seek to disrupt the party's national convention in July, as they did during the Nevada convention Saturday, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
On Saturday night, a divisive Nevada Democratic convention had to be shut down after security at the Paris Las Vegas hotel could not maintain order after Sanders' supporters got unruly. According to reports, Sanders' supporters began throwing chairs and created a chaotic situation, following which some also made death threats against state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange. On Monday, a letter by the state party's general counsel, Bradley S. Schrager, warned that similar violence could erupt in Philadelphia, site of the Democratic National Committee's July convention.
"We believe, unfortunately, that the tactics and behavior on display here in Nevada are harbingers of things to come as Democrats gather in Philadelphia in July for our National Convention," Schrager wrote in the letter to the co-chairs of the DNC Rules and By-laws committee. "We write to alert you to what we perceive as the Sanders campaign's penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior — indeed, actual violence — in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting, and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats."
The supporters of Sanders had been protesting convention rules that eventually led to Hillary Clinton winning more pledged delegates. Clinton won the state's caucuses in February, 53-47.
The state party alleged in its letter that "the explosive situation arose in large part because a portion of the community of Sanders delegates arrived at the Nevada Democratic State Convention believing itself to be a vanguard intent upon sparking a street-fight rather than attending an orderly political party process."
According to the AP, a day before the Nevada convention, Sanders urged supporters to work "together respectfully and constructively" at the convention.
"We do not condone violence or encourage violence or even threats of violence," Michael Briggs, a Sanders campaign spokesman, reportedly said, adding that the campaign "had no role in encouraging the activity that the party is complaining about. We have a First Amendment and respect the rights of the people to make their voices heard."