Local leaders react to Saturday’s protest in Salt Lake City

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Violence, vandalism and looting. It all happened Saturday during a protest over the death of George Floyd. And Sunday, local leaders react to the situation.

“We just don’t want this to happen again we need justice,” said a protestor as she was taken into police custody Saturday night.

Related: SLC Mayor asks for the community to reach out and support each other

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said 46 people were arrested and 21 officers injured during the protest.  

Brown said the city welcomes people to express their voice but asks them to not do it in a riotous way.

Related: ABC4 News captures police officer armed in protest gear pushing down man with cane

“We hold sacred the First Amendment,” Brown said. “I will sit down we will sit down with anybody to talk about what we have done and what we can do to be a better police department,” Brown said.

Black Lives Matter Utah founder Lex Scott said her organization did not hold a protest Saturday, and she condemns the acts of violence.   

“If your activism only consists of destruction and not building, that is not activism. That is also not what this movement is about,” Scott said. This movement – the Black Lives Matter movement – has never been about inciting violence and destroying property. This movement has always been about fighting against police violence and fighting for black lives.”

Scott said when Black Lives Matter does protest it is used as a last resort and strategic reasons only – and only done peacefully. Scott also said the thousands who gathered at Saturday’s violent protest have not been seen at any Black Lives Matter events.

Related: Volunteers help clean up Capitol building after peaceful protest turns violent

“We have not seen those thousands of people attend our police reform meeting. We have not seen those thousands of people attend protests against police brutality. We have not seen those thousands of people sign our petition for police reform,” Scott said as she encourages activists to get out and show their “rage, pain and passion for justice”.

“Destroying property and setting fire cannot be your only activism,” Scott said.

Prior to Saturday’s protest, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said conversations with community leaders of color were in the works.  

“To help advise and review on our policies. We want to ensure transparent and equitable policing,” Mendenhall said.

Mendenhall and Brown said they are committed to creating lasting change and if anyone has a complaint, they can file it on the police department’s website.

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