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Utah Against Police Brutality proposes law to allow civilians investigate, discipline police

(Photo: Mario Beauregard, Fotolia)

SALT LAKE CITY — A local civil rights advocacy group is calling for a new law which would give civilians the ability to investigate and discipline police agencies.

Utah Against Police Brutality is calling the proposed law the Salt lake Civilian Police Accountability Council. It would create an elected, independent board with the power to oversee, investigate, and discipline law enforcement. UAPB Organizer Dave Newlin explains the importance of people being able to express how they really feel about police.

“This would be a democratically elected body specific to Salt Lake City,” says Newlin, “that wouldn’t be subject to the party politics or other kinds of politics that get in the way of actually holding police accountable.”

Newlin says a current civilian review board has ‘no teeth’ and doesn’t have the power to effect any meaningful change.

“We want to create a body that would have real power to be able to fire officers, discipline officers, to be able to investigate crimes, to be able to investigate possible police conduct,” says Newlin.

Police Chief Mike Brown has a community advisory board. In a statement, he says, “We are always looking for new partners and input.”

Another proposed function of the council would be community outreach, including walking people through the process of filing complaints against law enforcement.

A number of civil rights advocacy groups have endorsed the SLCPAC, including Black Lives matter, Utah Students for A Democratic Society — University of Utah, Rose Park Brown Berets, Freedom Road Socialist Organization — Utah, and others.

Utah Against Police Brutality says it will continue seeking endorsements and building a coalition until community control over Salt Lake City police becomes a reality.