Black Lives Matter Utah Founder Reacts To New Legislation, Says More Must Be Done
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Black Lives Matter Utah founder Lex Scott on Friday reacted following the passing of new legislation that came as a result of nationwide protests.
H.B. 5007, which passed Thursday with bipartisan support in the Utah Legislature, bans officers from using knee-to-neck chokeholds.
“You know it’s really good every time police reform gets passed,” she said. “I’ll say that. It’s progress. Is it the end of police brutality? No, it’s not. We have several other bills coming up that we are really excited about, but I hope they don’t think this is it.”
After multiple days addressing recent protests, nearly every legislator voted in favor of the bill.
Rep. Sandra Hollins and other state leaders recognized H.B. 5007 as a first step.
“This was not a me issue, not a Democrat issue, not a Republican issue,” Hollins said during the legislature’s special session Thursday. “It was a human issue, and we all realized that.”
Under the bill, officers will face up to a first-degree felony if the violation leads to someone’s death. The bill would also make it a third-degree felony for an officer to put their knee on someone’s neck or throat, similar to the police tactic used in the death of George Floyd. If that results in serious injury, it would be a second-degree felony.
The bill also prohibits law enforcement agencies from teaching officers how to use chokeholds or any restraint that could cause unconsciousness.
The bill now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for consideration. His office said he’s looking forward to signing it.
Scott said there needs to be more legislation, including the repeal of Utah’s House Bill 415, which “prohibits a municipality from establishing a board or committee with certain powers over a police chief.”
“I want to see that police reform bill that regulates body cam footage, that says all body cam footage has to be released within 10 days of an officer-involved shooting,” she said. “I want to see a use-of-force bill that rewrites and regulates use of force, and obviously we want our independent civilian review boards, and we are hoping H.B. 415 is repealed.”
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