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Steve Griffin, KSL file

Mayor ending nightly Salt Lake City curfew after more peaceful protests

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Jun. 3, 2020 at 1:32 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 3, 2020 at 1:11 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — A nightly curfew scheduled this week for Salt Lake City will be discontinued, Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Wednesday.

“After seeing the respect that protestors have largely shown for one another, police, and our city, I believe that Salt Lake City is once again proving itself to be a place of peace and progress,” she said in a tweet Wednesday.

The curfews had been scheduled to be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night until Monday, June 8.

Mendenhall enacted the measure over the weekend following Salt Lake City protests seeking justice for George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. On Wednesday, prosecutors planned to elevate charges against a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck to second-degree murder, as well as level charges against three other officers at the scene.

Protests on Saturday in downtown Salt Lake City turned dangerous after protesters flipped and burned a police car and dozens of officers responded to the scene in riot gear.

A civilian also brandished a bow and arrow and attempted to shoot it into the crowd, and a police officer pushed down a man with a cane who was observing the protests. Multiple protesters and police officers had injuries, and the situation prompted Mendenhall to enact the curfew. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also activated the National Guard to respond to the scene.

However, the curfew was met with controversy, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah suggesting it was a violation of citizens' constitutional rights. Dozens of people have been arrested for failing to disperse or violating the curfew order.

Monday and Tuesday saw more protests downtown, but they have been more peaceful, with fewer arrests and injuries and little property damage. Wednesday, Mendenhall didn't apologize for the curfew, but encouraged people protesting to channel their frustration into action.

"I want you to know that I see all of you out there doing your best not only to keep things peaceful, but also coming together across lines to communicate and connect," she tweeted. "I don’t want this simmer of frustration to disappear, but I want to work together to direct it toward positivity and progress."

Mendenhall acknowledged that racism and bias creates barriers for people of color to access healthcare, education, food and other needs. She added on Twitter that she is committed to working for change.

"I’m committed to the work, and I know you are, too."

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