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Black Lives Matter Utah
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Utah leaders call for peace following verdict in Chauvin trial

A peaceful protest sponsored by Black Lives Matter Utah on Friday, where demonstrators showed support for those who died at the hands of police both in Utah and nationally. (PHOTO: KSL TV screengrab)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Activists and law enforcement officers in Utah are preparing for a response to the verdict at the end of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Preparing for reaction to the Chauvin trial 

Both sides said they hope the response is peaceful in nature. Governor Spencer Cox has already come out and urged Utahns to respond within the bounds of the First Amendment. He added that all people have to respect personal safety, life and property.

Lex Scott, with the Utah chapter of Black Lives Matter, said talks are already underway in terms of what a response from their organization might look like.

“We’re just preparing because as you saw last year, we were not prepared,” she explained.

Scott has made it well-known what sort of outcome their organization is hoping for in the Minneapolis trial.

“A positive outcome would be a murder conviction with a life sentence,” she says. “Anything short of that is injustice.”

Will the end of one trial be the beginning of new reform?

Scott also hopes that further police reform is coming as a result of the trial.

Specifically, she’s looking for an oversight committee for policing and other checks and balances to increase accountability.

“There’s anticipation that with this trial and the end of this trial, change will be coming forward,” Chris Bertram, former Unified Police Department Deputy Chief and assistant professor of criminal justice at Salt Lake Community College said.

According to him, “laws have to be changed” to reach certain outcomes with police agencies.

“If we’re going to expect our law enforcement officers to act in a certain way, to respond in a certain way, we have to have specific guidelines, specific training, specific plans for how they’re going to get that job accomplished,” he said.