FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2020
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, Alliance for a Better Utah called for the recall of the Utah National Guard presence in Salt Lake City. Earlier on Wednesday, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall lifted the city’s nightly curfew after days of peaceful protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The Utah National Guard was deployed to downtown Salt Lake City to help enforce the city’s curfew.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert also deployed 200 soldiers from the Utah National Guard to Washington, D.C. at the request of the Trump administration. Rather than using the community police force to protect residents, the federal government, through the Department of Justice, has directed an aggressive response to continued protests, including the highly controversial dispersal of peaceful protestors on Monday evening to enable a political photo-op by President Trump.
Chase Thomas, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:
“While Saturday’s protest in Salt Lake escalated beyond most people’s expectations, protests since then have remained peaceful. We appreciate Mayor Mendenhall’s decision to end the curfew, and call on Governor Herbert to respond in kind by pulling the National Guard out of downtown Salt Lake City.
“Alongside the rest of the nation, Utahns are protesting our nation’s ongoing institutional racism that led to last week’s unjust killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by a police officer in Minnesota. Utah should not respond to protests against police brutality by maintaining an unnecessary and increased law enforcement presence, or dictating to protestors how and when to raise their voices.
“For these same reasons, it’s alarming that Utah soldiers are being used by the federal government to support its forceful shutdown of peaceful protests in our nation’s capital. We all watched in disbelief as peaceful protestors were driven from the White House before curfew with gas canisters, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades. In response, neighboring Arlington County, Virginia pulled out its troops from the District. We call on Governor Herbert to uphold the constitutional rights of protestors and do the same.”
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 www.betterutah.org.