KSL INVESTIGATES

NAACP: Grand Co. Sheriff agrees to diversity training after deputy twirled lasso in search for Black man

Nov 7, 2022, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITYThe Grand County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to hold sensitivity and diversity training following public outcry over a deputy twirling a lasso while searching for a Black man, the head of the NAACP in Utah told KSL. 

Sheriff Steven White made the commitment last week, according to Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP’s Salt Lake branch.  

“We had a good conversation,” said Williams, who got in touch with the sheriff following a KSL report on the deputy’s actions. “And in talking to him, I took him at his word. He’s going to ask for my input, and I told him to call me anytime.” 

Leaders within Utah’s Black community condemned the deputy’s actions, saying they evoke the nation’s history of slave patrols and of widespread lynchings of Black men.  

Deputy Amanda Edwards did not find the man she was searching for on July 10 in Moab, a tourist town in southeast Utah. She walked past homes and shops, twirling the lasso in the air intermittently for about a half-hour, telling onlookers about her plan to use the tool.  

Edwards later wrote in a report that she made the comments in a “joking manner.” White told the KSL Investigators in October that the deputy had taken responsibility for her behavior but offered no details. He did not respond to multiple requests for interviews for this story.  

The deputy was suspended for two days without pay, according to disciplinary documents obtained through a public records request. 

In tossing the lasso about while searching for the Black man accused of stealing sunglasses, the deputy violated the sheriff’s department policy, White previously told KSL. 

The move to provide training is no surprise to Williams, a 20-year veteran of the West Valley City Police Department’s civilian review board. Amid public outcry, the sheriff’s office “had to do something,” Williams said.  

“It wasn’t a situation where, ‘We’re just not going to do anything. We’re just going to ignore it, and hope that it will go away,’” she said. 

Utah Highway Patrol: Trooper’s comment to deputy twirling lasso in search for Black man was inappropriate

It’s unclear whether the training will happen before White retires in January, and if not, whether the incoming Sheriff will follow through with that commitment. Grand County voters will choose his successor in Tuesday’s election.    

If the deputy repeats the behavior, a letter addressed to Edwards and signed by her supervisors states the conduct “will be promptly dealt with and could result in immediate disciplinary action,” including potential termination.  

Edwards was also placed on a 90-day corrective action plan that appears to order 18 hours of training on topics including standards of conduct, use of force, and defensive tactics, the records show. 

But the corrective plan wasn’t part of the discipline, the letter states.  

“The plan is not designated to be a punishment; rather, its purpose is to support you in succeeding in your work assignments,” the letter says. “Please recognize the plan as such.”  

The letter includes a nationally recognized law enforcement code of ethics that directs officers to respect “the constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.” The code applies to “all calls for service to our community,” the supervisor wrote.    

It also contains more praise than criticism, commending Edwards’ communication skills and professionalism toward members of the public she did encounter during her search. The body camera video shows Edwards stopping to chat with several people that day, including speaking with a passerby in Spanish.   

“I feel strongly that with your limited time of service in our agency, an uncanny potential for an outstanding career along with a core value of outstanding ethics remains intact,” the letter states. “As your overall supervisor the outstanding performance you exhibit on a daily basis is very noteworthy.”   

The deputy’s actions don’t affect her supervisor’s trust in her, the letter continues.  

“I commend your honest integrity in divulging the totality of the incident and remain convinced you will grow in your ability overcoming this matter,” it says. “My trust and confidence in your ability has not waivered as you continue your career as a member of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.”  

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you. 

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Judge in robes sits in courtroom...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public gets to see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

A judge sided with KSL, finding the Utah Attorney General’s work calendar is a record the public has a right to see.

20 hours ago

FILE: Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shoppi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Utah family says their bank refuses to reimburse fraudulent charges

A Taylorsville family says a hacker drained thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts and left them overdrawn by tens of thousands more. They thought federal banking rules protected them, but they say their bank has refused to reimburse them for those losses.

2 days ago

Judge Patrick Corum hears arguments about Attorney General Sean Reyes’ work calendar on Monday, F...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public can see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

KSL and the Utah Attorney General’s Office squared off in court over whether the A.G.’s calendar should be publicly available.

2 days ago

(KSL TV)...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

How much should Utahns get to know about how elected officials spend their time on the clock? The question is at the center of a legal fight taking KSL to court Monday.

2 days ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

6 days ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

NAACP: Grand Co. Sheriff agrees to diversity training after deputy twirled lasso in search for Black man