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SALT LAKE CITY — On Saturday afternoon, a white male stood on top of an overturned Salt Lake City police vehicle holding a sign that read, “B.L.M.”
Lex Scott, the founder of the Utah chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, believes there is a better way.
“To the people that came that claim to be part of the movement, I just want to say they don’t understand the movement at all,” Scott said. “And they are damaging the movement.”
The movement’s goal is to stop unnecessary police violence. To Scott, that doesn’t mean more violence or trashing a city — it means actual change to policies and behavior.
That’s why Scott has prepared a proposed national police reform bill that she believes would help create more accountability and help stop police brutality, such as the kind that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that's led to unrest across the United States. Scott started a petition for the proposed bill on change.org for supporters to sign.
“We demand a bill that requires all police departments in this country be investigated by democratically elected, independent civilian review boards; which have the power to investigate police, and also bring charges against police,” the petition said.
The proposed bill would take the officer investigations away from police departments and give them to an elected independent agency.
“This agency must not consist of current or former police officers,” the proposed bill says. “This agency must conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation of the shooting, the officer, and the suspect.”
The goal, Scott says, is to avoid a conflict of interest in these investigations.
Under the proposed bill, deadly force could not be used to solely prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect, and shots could not be fired solely to disable a moving vehicle. The proposed bill states that officers “must not discharge their weapons simply because they fear for their lives.”
Police chiefs would also have to provide Director of the Department of Justice comprehensive stats about their respective departments.
The proposed bill also pushes for more de-escalation training (including training on how to better handle individuals with mental illness), regulated bodycam footage release policies, and implicit bias training for all police officers.
Under the proposed bill, all officers will have to go through bias and diversity training while in the police academy and then each year they are on the force.
"The police are here to protect and serve the public. Give us justice," the petition says.