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Protesters gather peacefully, two days after violence in SLC

Cadets in the Utah police academy will soon receive additional training about how to effectively defuse a situation with their hands, rather than using a weapon. (File photo: Dan Rascon, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two days after protests turned violent in Salt Lake City, protesters gathered peacefully to speak out against the death of a black man in police custody. 

The “speak-out” started around 6 p.m. near 200 East and 400 South in Salt Lake City. That’s the same area where protests Saturday took a turn into chaos as protesters flipped a police car over and set it on fire. 

Monday’s event was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, whose members said they were committed to keeping things peaceful. 

Organizer Deja Jaston is worried about her brother and all black men. 

“My brother gets harassed by the cops just for being big and black. They follow him and profile him down the street. It’s not even just George Floyd; it’s every single life that has been killed because of some form of police brutality,” Jaston said.   

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Speakers read out the names of those they say were killed by police brutality while chanting slogans like “No Justice, No Peace! No racist police!”

 

 

The group eventually marched to the Public Safety Building a block away. Many took a knee in honor of George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck to restrain him. They asked officers who were surrounding the building to also take a knee, and many of them did. 

Then, the group headed toward the state capitol and back towards the City-County Building. 

A citywide curfew took effect at 8:00 p.m., and by 9:00, state troopers at the capitol began to arrest those protesters who stayed out past curfew.

 

 

Troopers issued warnings to those still gathered after curfew before beginning to make arrests. Salt Lake City Police said they also arrested a man with a loaded gun.

Organizers eventually negotiated with police and convinced people standing at State Street and South Temple to go home. 

John Ause, who has worked with Black Lives Matter and Utahns Against Police Brutality, feels like their message is being heard. 

“[George Floyd’s death] seems to be changing perceptions even within city and state government. I mean, we’re starting to hear sympathy all of a sudden,” Ause said.