Activists rallied in Salt Lake City on Saturday to protest George Floyd’s death ahead of the trial of the police officer who killed him.
Floyd died last May after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck. Chauvin faces second degree murder charges. His trial is supposed to begin next week. Utahns joined people around the country in protesting Floyd’s death over the summer.
Members of Utah Against Police Brutality gathered in a parking lot on 500 block of Denver Street around 2 p.m. Saturday. Group leaders gave speeches to a group of 100 people before everyone got into their cars.
Jade Arter said people need to demand justice from power structures or else there won’t be accountability for police violence. She pointed to the death of Bryan Pena-Valencia, who was shot by police last March, as an example of things not working right now.
Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill said last week that Pena-Valencia’s death was unjustified but Gill won’t press charges against the officer. He said he doesn’t think a jury would convict the officer.
“In what other situations do we have murderers come out and then the prosecutor decides ‘well, we’re not going to press charges because it’s unlikely you’ll be convicted?’” she asked.
Carl Moore, a Hopi activist who was arrested Thursday at a homeless encampment cleanup, said he survived his encounter with police but many others have not. Moore said police officers are “legal domestic terrorists.”
Protesters then circled the area between 300 East and Main Street while honking and waiving signs that said Black Lives Matter and Justice for George Floyd.
The Salt Lake City Police Department tweeted earlier in the day that the protest might slow traffic. A spokesperson for the department said later in the day that there were no issues with the protest. He declined to comment on Moore’s characterization of police.