SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City officials condoned violence after some individuals protesting the Utah Inland Port Authority clashed with authorities Tuesday.
Three people were cited and released by Salt Lake City police, but five were taken to jail on suspicion of charges ranging from assault and criminal mischief to trespassing and rioting.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert swiftly denounced the actions of the protesters and called on all elected officials and candidates for Salt Lake City Mayor to join him in condemning the protests “in the strongest terms.”
While addressing the media Wednesday, Gov. Herbert called for civility in demonstrations and disagreements. He thanked first responders for their quick actions during the incident.
In a separate news conference, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Chief of Police Mike Brown added to the chorus of those denouncing the violent and destructive actions by some protesters.
“As mayor, I support the right of all citizens and residents to peacefully assemble and protest the actions of government. It is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy to do such, and I do not condone violence of any kind- no matter the situation,” said Biskupski. “I believe that passion in public discourse is a powerful tool. It can move people toward change, and it can also open the eyes of others to new ideas—of what can be possible. Violence will do none of those things. It will only deepen the divide between us and shut the door on advancing us a community and our concerns. We are diminished when we use force as our sword.”
Mayor Biskupski has made it very clear where she stands on the issue of the Inland Port. She filed a lawsuit accusing the state of “unconstitutional of usurping land use and taxing.”
“The community can and certainly should be protesting what is happening, but we have to do this in a civil manner especially if we are going to be successful in our endeavor,” said Biskupski.
Chief Brown said he spoke with the district attorney, and they plan to open an investigation into the incident.