SLC Police, Protesters Come Together To Prevent Violence

Jun 2, 2020, 7:00 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Powerful images of Salt Lake City police officers kneeling with protesters Monday night may be the building blocks for dialogue and show of mutual respect between police and protesters during a turbulent week.

There were several tense moments Monday night when a protest could have turned violent as protesters marched around the city. In the end, police and protesters kept their cool and nearly everyone walked away. 

“If things stay peaceful, give them that space to exercise their voice, and in this troubling time in our nation people need that,” said Chief Mike Brown with them Salt Lake City Police Department.

During a one-on-one meeting with KSL, Brown said his officers used the same tactics as Saturday night.

During a tense standoff Monday night, protesters were boxed in by police after curfew. When it seemed violence might erupt, a meeting was held on the front line.

“They (officers) used their de-escalation, their ability, their judgment and said ‘hey why don’t we all just go home?’ And then we escorted them to their cars. And everybody went home,” Brown said.

Earlier, at least five officers took a knee in support of protesters.

“I was proud of them,” Brown said. “If they want to take a knee, that’s encouraging and that’s helpful, and you saw those relationships and people were hugging and crying.”

There was some violence that protesters helped to shut down.

 A man broke windows in a military vehicle with a golf club, another person brandished a gun and another fired a shot in the air from an AK-47.

All three of those people were arrested.

While police remain vigilant for violence, they hoped they were building mutual respect.

The chief has met with community leaders of color since he took the job and gets emotional when talking about that work. 

“I’ve gone out knowing that we had to do more to build those relationships, and that is what we’ve done for the last four years, and that’s what we will continue to do today,” Brown said.

See more of KSL’s coverage of the Salt Lake City protests here.

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SLC Police, Protesters Come Together To Prevent Violence