Press Release: Better Utah calls for external investigation into Cottonwood Heights Police Department response to peaceful protests


Salt Lake City, UT – Yesterday, the Cottonwood Heights Police Department, along with other local police departments, responded to a peaceful protest that ended in protestors being pepper-sprayed and detained. Cottonwood Heights City Councilwoman, Tali Bruce, was in attendance at the protest and had to seek medical treatment following her interaction with a police officer.

Chase Thomas, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:

“These protests are forcing us to confront the failings in our society and discuss how we can create a better future. To shut down peaceful protesting and dancing in our streets as the work of ‘rioters’ is not only a gross overreaction by Chief Russo and his department, but also an unfortunate way to avoid important conversations this city needs to have about how it reacts to the concerns of marginalized communities.

“After a long history of controversial practices, the Cottonwood Heights Police Department is already long overdue for a serious conversation about reforming the department and its leadership. This unwarranted escalation by CHPD on peaceful protestors deserves an independent, external investigation by the proper authorities to determine how and why this happened in one of our cities.”


Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at

Leave a Comment

1 thought on “Press Release: Better Utah calls for external investigation into Cottonwood Heights Police Department response to peaceful protests”

  1. “Peaceful protest” is a euphemistic or aspirational term that doesn’t describe what really happened in this instance. The same term is being used by non-objective reporters in other cities such and Portland and Seattle where the video evidence shockingly suggests it is anything but peaceful, unless we have changed the meaning of the word to include arson, explosives, laser injuries, throwing rocks and bricks at police officers. The term has lost its meaning and the public doesn’t buy it anymore. A more accurate description would have been “a protest intended to be peaceful but turned violent because some of the protesters decided to assault police officers who told them to protest legally, i.e. on the sidewalks in a residential neighborhood instead of blocking the streets, per the city ordinance”.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top

Join us for Better Utah's Moving Forward Virtual Fundraiser!

This year's event will be held virtually and will feature a conversation with Kate Kendell, Co-Interim Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the former Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.