GOVERNMENT

The Utah Attorney General’s Office suspends contract with Banjo over its founder’s past ties to the KKK

Apr 28, 2020, 7:54 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2020, 12:04 pm
most charitable state...
(File photo: Getty Images)
(File photo: Getty Images)

PARK CITY, Utah – The Utah Attorney General’s Office is suspending its $21 million contract with Park City-based Banjo after the surveillance system company’s founder admitted to having past ties to the Ku Klux Klan as a teenager.

Damien Patten also confirmed an earlier report from OneZero that he took part in a drive-by shooting of a synagogue in Tennessee in 1990.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office said it was, “shocked and dismayed at reports that Banjo’s founder had any affiliation with any hate group or groups in his youth. Neither the Attorney General nor anyone in the Attorney General’s Office were aware of these affiliations or actions. They are indefensible.”

The AG’s statement also addressed Patten’s apology for his past actions, while vowing to have a third-party audit.

“While we believe Mr. Patton’s remorse is sincere and believe people can change, we feel it’s best to suspend use of Banjo technology by the Utah Attorney General’s Office while we implement a third-party audit and advisory committee to address issues like data privacy and possible bias. We recommend other state agencies do the same,” the statement continued.

Banjo has been a controversial surveillance system. It claims it can scan social media messages, 9-1-1 calls, and traffic cameras to help law enforcement find suspects in minutes.

It has even been credited with alerting authorities and the media about the shooting at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas in 2017.

But others have called it “Big Brother”, claiming it can violate innocent people’s privacy. For that reason, Utah lawmakers have discussed whether to put more regulations on the technology.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
10 hours ago
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is his nominee to serve on t...
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox announces Utah Supreme Court nominee

Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is Gov. Spencer Cox's Utah Supreme Court nominee as announced Tuesday.
1 day ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Becky Bruce

Different abortion law now in effect in Utah

A different abortion law is now in effect in Utah, and it bans abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are several exceptions to this law.
1 day ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah primary election: Acceptable ID to bring for in-person voting

Utah's Primary Election is today. Voters need to be sure they have the right identification to cast their ballot.
1 day ago
Photo: Utah Department of Transportation...
Mark Jones

UDOT seeks public feedback on future of Bangerter Highway

UDOT is hosting scoping open houses on Tuesday and Wednesday at Granger High School to get feedback on the future of Bangerter Highway between 4100 South and California Avenue.
2 days ago
A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office suspends contract with Banjo over its founder’s past ties to the KKK