SALT LAKE CITY – Policing across the country has come under scrutiny recently due to death of George Floyd. In Salt Lake City, there have been regular protests since Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was shot and killed by officers.
Those are some of the reasons Salt Lake City announced Thursday it has started the “Commission on Racial Equity in Policing”.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall joined councilmembers and those on the commission during a news conference at the International Peace Gardens.
Mayor Mendenhall said the multi-ethnic commission will review the police department’s budget, policies, and culture, and make recommendations.
“We are unleashing this commission to be a true voice of the community, and expect them to inform and advise us, even when what they’re telling us may be hard to hear and may be even harder to change,” Mendenhall said.
The commission has six members, including: Rev. France Davis, pastor emeritus of the Calvary Baptist Church; Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services; Verona Sagato-Mauga, Executive Director of Renew Wellness & Recovery; Darlene McDonald, chair of the Utah Black Roundtable; Dr. Moises Prospero of iChamps and a direct practitioner in the area of criminal, juvenile & social justice; and Nicole Salazar-Hall, attorney and current Salt Lake City Human Rights Commissioner.
More people are expected to join the commission in the coming weeks.
McDonald, who also spoke at the news conference, believes systemic racism is the root of the problems with police.
“This institution must be uprooted and reformed to weed out the inherited systemic racism. When you reform the institution, you reform the men and women within that institution,” McDonald said.
But McDonald also acknowledged that the changes may be slow coming.
Last month, the city council set aside $5 million to fund the recommendations the commission makes.
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