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Utah stands up against police violence, demands community control now

By Gregory Murray |
July 12, 2016
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Salt Lake City protest against police violence, for community control
Salt Lake City protest against police violence, for community control (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Salt Lake City, UT - Outraged at police violence across the nation, about 500 people took to the streets in the state’s capitol city to protest July 9. They stood together to raise their voices in mourning for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and against the brutality that police have used to tear apart communities from Ferguson to Baton Rouge, Baltimore and Salt Lake City.

The group marched through downtown demanding justice for Sterling and Castile, two Black men were murdered by police just days apart in Louisiana and Minnesota, sparking widespread protest throughout the U.S. They are among the more than 500 people killed by police in the first seven months of 2016 alone.

Chants of “It’s right to rebel!” rang out as people walked with signs like “Am I next?” and “No justice, no peace!” It sent a strong signal to authorities in Utah that the people will not tolerate police violence any longer.

Carly Haldeman, an organizer with Utah Against Police Brutality, called for a Community Police Accountability Council to hold police and other officials accountable for their crimes. She also called for the resignation of Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill, who has repeatedly found police killings justified, and has refused to file charges in the few cases where officers were found to have killed wrongly.

Gill is currently withholding body camera video of the shooting of Abdullahi Omar Mohamed, an unarmed Black man who was shot six times in the back by a Salt Lake cop. Mohamed survived the incident, but was paralyzed. Many feel a cover-up is being engineered – not only has the video been kept secret, but the name of the officer involved still hasn’t been released.

“We must see the footage,” Haldeman said. “We cannot be complicit with the murder of Black people in our community.”

Her speech was greeted with shouts of “Community control now!”