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AM News Brief: Group Calls Out School Racism, HOA Apologizes Over BLM Signs & Utah Homelessness Up

Photo of homes at Daybreak.
The Daybreak Homeowners Association in South Jordan has apologized after asking residents to take down their Black Lives Matter signs. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, August 13, 2020


Group Calls Out Racism In Schools

As students get set to return to class for the first time since mid-March, Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah. said officials aren’t doing enough to address racism in the classroom. In a Facebook post, Scott said she’s willing to work with staff to address racism in schools. But she warned if concerns continued to be ignored, the group will protest and take legal action. BLM planned a Davis School District protest in March, but postponed it until the start of the school year. Scott said that there have been complaints about racism in the district for years. — Jessica Lowell

Most Students Enrolled For In-Person Classes

Results from a surveyfrom television station KUTV suggests that most students in Utah could return to school in-person this fall. The station queried five districts about how many of their students plan on taking online courses. The numbers reported are not final because thousands of students must still register. Ogden School District said about 9% of its students are currently enrolled online. Alpine, the state's largest district, said about 12% of its secondary school students have chosen the online option. Jordan, Granite and Canyons School Districts said about 20% of students will study online in some form. — Associated Press

Homelessness Increasing

Utah saw a 12% increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2020 compared to last year according to the state’s annual report released Wednesday. It found that about 10 out of every 10,000 Utahns experience homelessness which is a rate that hasn’t changed much over the last five years. But chronic homelessness has increased across the state, and the report highlights the need for more affordable housing options that aren’t just in urban areas. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Utah VP Debate Still On For Oct. 7

Vice presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will be in Utah Oct. 7 for their only debate scheduled before the general election. Campus leaders at the University of Utah said the Kingsbury Hall event is still on. Tickets are not yet available, and because of the pandemic, entry and audience size will be determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates, their Health Security Advisor and state medical officials. The debate will be broadcast live on the major television networks. — Diane Maggipinto

Homeowners Association Apologizes Over BLM Sign

The Daybreak Homeowners Association in South Jordan has apologized after asking residents to take down their Black Lives Matter signs. One resident, Dan Carlson, a professor at the University of Utah, posted a photo on social media of the notice sent to him by the association. Carlson said in the four years he's lived there, he doesn't remember any other instance where the association attempted to remove political yard signs. In a social media post, the association said the notices were sent in error. — Associated Press

Salt Lake Police Suspend Use Of Dogs

Salt Lake City police have suspended the use of police dogs in apprehensions after an arrest earlier this year in which officers ordered a dog to attack a Black man who was kneeling and had already put his hands in the air. Jeffrey Ryans was in his backyard when police were called to his home. Body camera footage shows a police dog latched onto Ryans' leg for about 20 seconds while he was being cuffed. The department said it was opening an internal investigation into the arrest and the officer involved is now on administrative leave. — Associated Press


Attorneys Seek Delay In Death Penalty Case

Attorneys for Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row, are asking a judge to delay his execution while they argue the procedures must follow Arizona law. Mitchell, who is Navajo, is scheduled to be put to death on Aug. 26. A U.S. District Court judge in Arizona heard arguments Wednesday and said he'll make a decision quickly. Mitchell was convicted in the 2001 killing of a Navajo woman and her granddaughter on the Navajo reservation. — Associated Press

BYU Study Says Healthcare Lobbying Is Up

The healthcare industry has been stepping up its lobbying efforts since Congress has put out roughly $3 trillion in coronavirus relief according to a study released Wednesday by Brigham Young University. The study found health sector lobbying increased more than 10% in the first quarter of 2020, while non-health sector spending only went up 1%. The biggest increases came from the pharmaceutical industry. The authors said the results show how much the health sector is willing to invest to influence where public funds go, and they say it suggests lobbying has a bigger return on investment than research and development. — Jon Reed

Aurora PD Under Investigation

A Mountain West police department is under investigation. In a statement, Colorado’s office of the attorney general said it has been looking into the Aurora Police Department near Denver for several weeks now. The investigation will include an examination of the death of Elijah McClain. Officers put the 23-year-old unarmed Black man into a chokehold. He was then sedated by medical responders and died a few days later. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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