Like any other year, this year’s Burning Man challenged its attendees physically, mentally, and emotional. However, unlike past years, police presence was at an all-time high in 2018 with BLM calling it nearly unconstitutional.
That being said, police provide a much needed service on the playa. This year, 44 individuals were arrested, the majority which were for drug possession and trafficking drugs; one person was arrested for endangerment a child. Overall, this year’s arrests amounted to 14 fewer than in 2017.
“Citations are still being processed, however the arrests are accurate as today,” Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said Thursday, Sept. 6. “We are still attempting to break down our camp while still taking reports from a Festival that was supposed to be over on Monday.”
Police also responded to a 911 call on Sept. 4 from a female reporting her vehicle was stolen by a male with a knife outside the south gate the festival exit gate. Police were able to locate the vehicle in Gerlach, Nevada, a little over 15 miles southwest Black Rock City. After a brief chase, police arrested 32-year-old Tiago Gomez West Hollywood, CA on several charges.
Also on Sept. 4, law enforcement found one attendee “unresponsive and not breathing.” The deceased, Sherman Nicholson, received CPR from medical staff on-site but “died at the scene unexpectedly,” according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. Cause death is currently under investigation.
Lastly, the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the minor crash a Cessna aircraft taking f for a routine sightseeing flight over the playa. Property was damaged, but no injuries were reported.