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‘Black Lives Matter Utah’ leader says recent legislation fell short

Protesters at the Utah State Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020. (Matt Gephardt/KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The founder of ‘Black Lives Matter Utah’ says the state Legislature’s 2021 general session fell short of enacting real, meaningful police reform. 

BLM Utah leader says police reform bills fell short

Comparing the session to a football season, Lex Scott says their movement captured a couple victories, although plenty of work is left to do.

“We won some,” she explained. “Hey, you win a few games. But you know, you want to win the Super Bowl. And I don’t believe we won the Super Bowl.”

Scott is thankful some Utah lawmakers pushed for police reform and that some bills were passed as a result.

One example is HB84, which was sponsored by Representative Angela Romero.

“It adds use-of-force to the data required to be sent to the Bureau of Criminal Identification,” Romero said last month in session. “Many of us were meeting over the summer to talk about policing and policing reform and this bill is a product of that.”

A pair of bills dying in committee

What has members of the ‘Black Lives Matter Utah’ organization frustrated is the handful of police reform bills that died in committee.

Two bills, HB74 and HB133, were struck down in the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. It should be noted both bills were not supported by law enforcement groups. 

HB74 looked to establish police oversight boards, while HB133 called for body camera video to be released within 10 days.

Some worried a 10-day timeline was too short and it could have an adverse impact on a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

“It’s the dream that police officers are held to the same standards as the communities that they police,” explained Scott. “The public wants independent oversight of police. The entire world rose up and screamed for real police reform. So we’re not going to stop.”