Utah passes bill limiting power of police-review boards

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP/KTVX) — The Utah Legislature passed a bill on Thursday banning oversight powers for civilian review boards that were established to review different police agencies.

The Senate and House approved the bill Thursday, even though a sponsor of the bill said it would not change their procedures.

The bill was created as a result of the anti-police activist groups that are on the rise in Salt Lake City.

The bill indicates independent civilian groups can still meet to discuss police policy but lose the ability to override a police chief’s final decisions or policies. 

While those who created the bill say right now there isn’t a problem, they felt that in the future it could be.

The bill was created as a response to a proposal by the group Utah Against Police Brutality who feel an elected board should be able to veto powers over the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Dave Newlin, Utah Against Police Brutality said they are not anti-police but they are anti-brutality, anti-abuse and anti-misconduct.

“We specifically pointed out that this term is a slur in an earlier statement regarding HB415 and our SLCPAC proposal, said Newlin. Neither is any other group that opposes HB415 and supports SLCPAC accurately described as “anti-police. Lex Scott of Black Lives Matter made this point very specifically in her testimony to the Senate standing committee.”

Opponents of the bill feel this prevents community involvement in response to what they believe is police violence.

Gov. Gary Herbert can sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his approval. He has until April 3 to make that decision.

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