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Protest against police violence at Inland Port sit in

By Carly Haldeman

Salt Lake City, UT – “Protect and serve, that’s a lie! Speaking up is not a crime!” chanted protesters, outside the SLCPD Public Health and Safety Building, July 23. More than 60 people had gathered for a Utah Against Police Brutality (UAPB) rally held in response to the excessive police violence used against the peaceful protesters occupying the Chamber of Commerce in downtown SLC on July 9, in response to the proposed Inland Port development.

At the Inland Port protest, police responded to protesters with violence, pushing and shoving community members, including those in the designated ADA section, injuring protesters and making multiple arrests.

Psarah Johnson, chairwoman of the Disability Rights Action Committee, said she was recording a video when Deb Blake of UAPB, who is undergoing cancer treatment, was assaulted. Blake had revealed the site of a medical port on her chest to an officer whose response was to shove her on the site with enough force to break the pin she was wearing on her shirt that day. Johnson recalled that it was then when another officer “grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me to the ground.” A fellow protester helped Johnson back to her feet, and the same officer threw her to the ground again. Blake, who also spoke at the rally went on to say, “Because of politician’s callous comments, because Governor Herbert publicly declared this act borderline terrorism, they have put targets on our heads.”

Dave Newlin, an organizer of UAPB, was punched in the face repeatedly by police as he was defending others at the protest on July 9, “Our community is fighting for peace. At the Inland Port protest two weeks ago, and here at this rally, today.”

Newlin went on to explain that, “peace can never be achieved while brutal police forces are only too willing to intimidate and use violence to try to suppress and silence community members fighting for justice. Through their actions, it has been made clear to us that the police are not interested in the well-being and safety of our communities, and the actions they will take in defense of ‘private property’ and profit, including their unapologetic brutalization of unarmed and non-violent community members who dare to speak out, is shameful.”

UAPB demands that all charges be dropped against the protesters, an end to all retaliation and political repression by local officials and law enforcement, and for community control of the police.

#SaltLakeCityUT #OppressedNationalities #PeoplesStruggles #AfricanAmerican #ChicanoLatino #IndigenousPeoples #PoliceBrutality #UtahAgainstPoliceBrutality #InlandPort