Utah troopers break protest line to talk to Black teen…what happened after changed their lives

News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- The events that transpired last week left a local West Valley teen upset, angry, and with a lot of questions.

15-year-old Aiden needed answers.

“I was frustrated about the extent of what things had to come to for us to talk about this situation,” Aiden said.

The death of a Black Minnesota man, George Floyd, set off protests across the nation. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after the white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

RELATED: Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death.

Utahns took to the streets last week to voice their frustrations and express their calls for justice after Floyd’s murder.

All of this left Aiden with a lot of questions, so he asked his mom to take him to the Utah State Capitol so he could speak with the troopers and officers himself.

“I wanted to know what they wanted to know what their view and George Floyd was,” he said.

RELATED: Houston to hold 6-hour public viewing of Floyd’s casket

Then something incredible happened.

These troopers broke the line to come talk to him.

He and his mother, Nakia, came to talk live on GTU to share their experience.

“I wanted him to be able to use his voice,” Nakia, Aiden’s mom told us.

Trooper Snapp and Trooper Ohlau, who spent the time to talk to Aiden during last week’s protests, joined us Monday morning.

“I have always taught both of my sons that people are individuals and that people need to be treated as individuals, not as a collective,” Nakia explained. “Not everybody that you run into from one thing are bad.”

Nakia said she wanted Aiden to have the opportunity to find that out for himself.

“For him to be able to talk to those troopers and for them to be so willing to come down and talk to us…made a difference,” she said.

The conversation on the steps of the Capitol changed each of their lives. Aiden wants to go into criminal justice. Watch our conversation with these four (attached) and read Nakia’s post on Facebook below.

WATCH MORE: Our own ABC4’s Brittany Johnson has been tirelessly reporting on protests, gathering interviews and putting together stories on the George Floyd protests all while trying to manage her own feelings the past several days. We asked Brittany what it’s like to be a black woman reporting on racism in Utah and across the country.

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