SALT LAKE CITY — In response to protests that turned dangerous Saturday night, state and city leaders have issued an emergency curfew to begin at 8 p.m. and last until 6 a.m. on Monday.
The restrictions prohibit anyone from being on a public street or property, including for the purpose of travel, in Salt Lake City during the curfew hours. Exceptions include:
- Law enforcement, fire, paramedics or other medical personnel
- News media
- People traveling directly to and from work
- People traveling directly to and from the Salt Lake City International Airport
- People traveling directly to obtain food
- People seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances
- People caring for a family member, friend or animal
- People attending church services and patrionizing private businesses
- People experiencing homelessness
Private businesses may remain open, but people may not be out on the streets or in public places for any reason other than those listed above, according to a tweet from Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.
In response to the violence and destruction of property in Salt Lake City today, I have issued a curfew that will apply to all of #SLC extending from 8 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Monday morning. #utpol— SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) May 31, 2020
An emergency alert was sent just after 9 p.m. reminding Utahns of the curfew. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said officers have been driving around downtown announcing the curfew and will now start making arrests.
So far, there have been six arrests from Saturday's protests.
"Unfortunately, what I have seen in the past few hours has gone from a peaceful protest to criminal behavior," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in an evening press briefing. "Make no mistake that we will do whatever necessary to restore order to our state, our capital city Salt Lake."
Mendenhall said the intention of today was to give protestors the space to exercise their legal right to protest in response to the death of George Floyd. The demonstration turned dangerous as two cars were set on fire in downtown Salt Lake City.
"As a city, we have been through a lot together," Mendenhall said. "I'm angry and I'm heartbroken with you."
Herbert tweeted that he had activated the National Guard to help control the escalating situation in downtown Salt Lake City. "I once again call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully,” he said.
The state of Utah has requested the assistance of up to 200 National Guardsmen, according to Brown. The police chief said 13 Utah cities have provided aid in the unified effort to respond to the protesters.
About one hour into the curfew, KSL TV talked with Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, who said she is “willing to come to the table” and talk with whomever wants to talk about necessary reform.
A message on the Salt Lake City curfew from @ChiefMikeBrown from @slcpd and @andersonljess from @UtahDPS— Utah Public Safety (@UtahDPS) May 31, 2020
It's in effect until 6 a.m. Monday, June 1.
Keep Utah safe. @SLCgov@UtahGovpic.twitter.com/SyPLXQhcDD
“Let’s get together at the table and let’s make the changes,” she said, but for now, she encouraged protesters to go home.
“We’re trying to keep the peace,” she said, adding that she is also a person of color and wants to see change, too.
She added that reform is necessary, but changes in culture are also important, including hiring a more diverse police force, which she is trying to do. She emphasized that it’s important for officers to communicate as well as to listen.
Shortly after the interview, police continued pushing forward on their line and several protesters began heading away from the scene.
Brown and Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson tweeted a video announcing the details of the curfew Saturday night. "Please, we ask, help us out during this most difficult time, stay home and obey this curfew," Brown said.
"Whatever you do tonight, please help us to keep Utah safe," Anderson added.