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Salt Lake community members gather to demand justice in Derek Chauvin trial

By Darcy Chortkoff

Car Caravan in Salt Lake City demands justice for George Floyd.

Salt Lake City – On March 6, more than 30 cars gathered in a parking lot in downtown Salt Lake City, where activists, organizers and community members demanded justice in the upcoming trial of killer cop Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, nearly one year ago.

Organized by Utahns Against Police Brutality, a group that is affiliated with the National Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression, the crowd gathered to hear from speakers, passionately detailing what we need to do to keep our communities safe.

Devin Martinez from the Party for Socialism and Liberation spoke to the crowd: “When it comes to the struggle against racist police terror, the people’s demands seem pretty simple. We want more accountability for the police from the community.” Speakers from Black Lives Matter, Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement, Utahns Against Police Brutality, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization also issued calls for justice and repercussions for those who have murdered our family, friends and neighbors.

The topic of the day is community control of police, this demand is by no means new. Since its inception in 1973, the National Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression has been fighting for civilian control of police, the current focus passing legislation which would establish an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. Speakers emphasized the necessity to hold police accountable to the people and communities whose lives they affect. It is this lack of accountability that allows the police to utilize one of their favorite weapons, intimidation.

In regard to a recently passed House Bill 237 in Utah, Rae Duckworth, a family member of the recently murdered Bobby Duckworth, said, “HB 237 would have saved Bobby’s life.” She added, “so these baby steps, they mean something to me.” The bill, passed through hard work and pressure from activists like Duckworth and the larger Salt Lake community, makes it illegal to use deadly force in response to a mental health crisis. These small steps cannot be where we end things, they must be the beginning. Smaller victories like this bill lay the foundation for greater material change in our communities. Each win keeps the ball rolling, and as the ball rolls, the movement builds, more people pay attention, and greater pressure is applied to those who would rather ignore the ever growing contradictions in our society.

As the speakers wrapped up, participants began lining their cars up to caravan around downtown Salt Lake. The route passed by the Salt Lake courthouse, the district attorney’s office and the public safety building, honking, chanting and playing music. We can be sure that the people were heard, and our voices will only get louder from here on out.

#SaltLakeCityUT #PeoplesStruggles #PoliceBrutality #GeorgeFloyd #DerekChauvin