JUSTICE

Sen. Mike Lee discusses police reform bill, George Floyd, one year later

May 26, 2021, 5:35 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm
George Floyd one year later lee police reform...
(The portraits of George Floyd, Bernardo Palacios and Darrien Hunt, who were all killed by police, painted on the walls of a building near 300 West and 800 South in Salt Lake City. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(The portraits of George Floyd, Bernardo Palacios and Darrien Hunt, who were all killed by police, painted on the walls of a building near 300 West and 800 South in Salt Lake City. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Utah’s senior US senator weighed in on police reform, one year after the killing of George Floyd under the kneel of a cop, and also how Ogden’s protest at the time remains a unifying model for the nation.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to give an update on criminal justice-reform efforts on the federal level on the first anniversary of Floyd’s death.

Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died in police custody, became the symbol of nationwide protests to reform law enforcement.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is a civil-rights and police-reform bill drafted by congressional Democrats. They introduced it in the House on Feb. 24, 2021. The legislation intends to combat police misconduct, excessive force and racial bias in policing. It passed the Democratic-controlled House on a mostly party-line vote of 220–212, but it has not yet been voted upon by the Senate.

Lee on police reform efforts

“I want to get to some of the police reform conversations that are going on. Of course, your friend and colleague, Tim Scott from South Carolina, and Cory Booker from New Jersey, have been working on some things around police reform, which seems to be stalling just a little bit there. What’s your sense of what’s happening in in the Senate?” Boyd asked.

“There’s a lot of appetite to bring about police reform,” Lee said. “We certainly have jurisdiction over federal law enforcement officers [and] federal law enforcement programs. I believe it’s important for us to deal with that which is federal and to make sure that we don’t step on the toes of state and local law enforcement agencies.” 

Lee pointed to a hearing on police reform concerns, held a few months back in the Judiciary Committee. 

“We discovered that, especially in poor communities and in communities where there are a lot of racial minorities, the more you take away the accountability of the local officers, by, among other things, adding all kinds of restrictions through federal regulations or otherwise, you make them less accountable to those they serve, and that in turn translates to higher rates of crime, particularly violent crime. We got to be very careful of that,” Lee said.

Ogden protest — one year later

While violent protests broke out across the country, including in Salt Lake City on May 29, 2020, hundreds of people peacefully gathered on the steps of the Ogden Municipal Building to honor Floyd and call for police reform, Lee pointed out.

Malik Dayo helped organize the “Take a Knee” rally in memory of Floyd in Ogden.

“I wanna set the tone,” Dayo told the crowd from the start, according to the Standard-Examiner. “This is a peaceful protest. … This is not an anti-cop rally. This is a solidarity rally. This is a rally for police reform.” 

“I’ve been inspired by those words ever since then,” Lee said on Inside Sources. “I think it’s a good time to reflect on the fact that the people of the city of Ogden did it right. And in that in that spirit, the spirit of of solidarity, peacefulness and not being anti-cop that I think we can really accomplish a lot of good.”

Dayo said he was “extremely honored” that Lee chose to quote his words in “such a time of uncertainty and turmoil in our great country.”

“We can never lose hope in the goodness of one another as human beings. I promise you that I will continue to protest peacefully with honor and properly represent the state of Utah. I will always put the safety of the citizens first. Bless you for standing with the movement toward justice and equality,” Dayo posted on Facebook along with a video of Lee’s speech on June 3, 2020, quoting the pacifying words of Dayo during a Senate speech, as reported by Deseret News.

In the video below, Lee’s floor speech begins at around seven hours and 32 minutes in.

Honoring fallen officer

“I know you were up in Ogden last year and delivered really a landmark speech. Give us a little sense of where you think we’ve come since then,” Boyd said.

“Today’s the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd,” Lee said. “Next week, it’ll be a year since I spoke on the Senate floor and celebrated what had happened in Ogden. The people of Ogden. . . showed the rest of the country that the tragedy doesn’t have to be the catalyst for division.

“We had a lot of people in Ogden coming together to honor the memory of George Floyd and simultaneously to call for nationwide police reform. They did so in a spirit of unity. It wasn’t a divisive event designed to make people choose between police and protesters. Those who gathered also came independently and simultaneously to honor the memory of Ogden police Officer Nathan Lyday, who was 24 years old. He was killed 15 months on the job on May 28 while responding to a domestic-violence call,” Lee said.

“One more great example of the the Utah model working. I love the way you frame that, senator, that tragedy doesn’t have to be the beginning of division, but it can be the beginning of healing. So important,” Boyd said.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

Today’s Top Stories

Justice

Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...
COLLEEN SLEVIN, THOMAS PEIPERT, JESSE BEDAYN and BRITTANY PETERSON

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
6 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 21: Police Chief Adrian Vasquez gives an update about the Clu...
Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting is slated to appear in court today as prosecutors work to finalize formal charges

The hearing will include "the advisement of the arrest charges as well as advisement of bond conditions," according to Colorado's Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen.
6 days ago
The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the Internal Revenue Service to release former Pre...
Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

Supreme Court clears way for House to get Trump’s taxes

The court's move is a loss for Trump, who has sought to shield the release of his tax returns and is currently under multiple investigations.
7 days ago
A judge has denied a retrial request made by Jerrod Baum, who was found guilty in April 2022 in the...
Aimee Cobabe

Judge denies retrial for Jerrod Baum, convicted of killing Utah teens

Baum wanted a retrial so his defense could use statements made by a juror after Baum's murder trial concluded.
8 days ago
For a second time, Lori Vallow Daybell has been ruled competent to stand trial. She faces counts of...
Becky Bruce

Lori Vallow Daybell deemed competent to stand trial

Lori Vallow Daybell's trial was put on hold in October, but now that a judge has ruled that she is competent, the trail can move forward.
13 days ago
nicholas rossi will be prosecuted by the utah county attorney's office, pictured here, if extradite...
Becky Bruce

Man accused of faking his own death to evade rape charges officially identified in Scotland

A judge in Scotland has identified a man as Nicholas Rossi, the man charged with a 2008 rape in Utah, He now faces an extradition hearing.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Sen. Mike Lee discusses police reform bill, George Floyd, one year later