— Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) May 31, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 31, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall shared a video message with residents Sunday morning following heated protests downtown Saturday over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“The streets of Salt Lake City are quiet and calm this morning and we are fortunate for that, compared to many other cities around our nation today,” Mendenhall said. “I want to thank the people who complied with the curfew last night; it was the right thing to do. I’m also really grateful for the work of the Salt Lake City Police Department and the support of many neighboring police agencies in addition to the Utah Highway Patrol and the National Guard.
“Yesterday morning along with the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake City Council I released a letter to our Salt Lake City residents about where we stand on transparent policing. As a city we meant every word we said and that statement is no different this morning than it was yesterday morning before the protest. We are united in our work and we acknowledge we can always do better as a city and as a police department. We’re committed to doing that work with our community.
“Even before yesterday’s events we had begun discussions with community leaders of color to help advise and review on our policies. We want to ensure transparent and equitable policing and we want that to be an evolving piece of work that is ever striving to improve. With that in mind, following yesterday’s events I’ve asked Police Chief Mike Brown for a thorough after-action review of our police department’s response to protesters.
“If you were downtown yesterday and you believe there were any instances of inappropriate force I ask that you file a complaint. You can do that through the web, email, phone, and the reports can be anonymous; there is no wrong way to make a complaint, and this is something that Salt Lake City Police Department has always had available.
“These reports are investigated by our internal affairs department, but I’m also making the request that the civilian reviewer board, which is comprised of volunteers representing all seven districts of Salt Lake City, that they review any allegations of inappropriate use of force. In addition, if anyone had any interactions with or witnessed the actions of a man with a bow and arrow yesterday who came into the crowd, please call and make a report to our police department. That information will help us build our case against him, and we ask that you reach out.
“Today, we will continue to see Salt Lake City Police Department on our streets and assisting agencies helping us keep the peace. Our city employees are in the process of assessing all the infrastructure damage and they’ve already begun some of the recovery efforts; I know our street sweepers have been out this morning and the streets are looking pretty good.
“I know a lot of people are reaching out and asking how they can help the city; I have heard from residents and mayors, people from areas even on the Wasatch Back asking if they can come in and help volunteer. We even saw this morning a pretty huge pile of yard trash bags that had been filled, tied up and left outside our City and County Building where people came out and did some cleanup on their own, between the time I went to bed and early this morning. Thank you. We’re grateful, and we hope to have some organized opportunities later today, we’ll let you know when those become available. We’re still assessing the damage and safety, particularly during COVID-19. We’re asking people to stay home for now and let us get our arms around the cleanup opportunities as we see them.
“We do want to direct any energy and spirit that is being felt around volunteerism and helping; it’s such a beautifully unique Utah quality that we have, and I again urge people to exercise grace. We are all hurting from this week, and yesterday in particular was heartbreaking for our city and cities across the country, but this is about something much deeper and longer lasting than a protest or a riot and we know that. Please be kind to one another, reach out to your neighbors, check in on each other. We will recover, and we will recover by coming together, to rebuild policies and to address, unearth, unpack this systemic racism that exists in this city and in every city across this nation. We’re ready to get to work.”