Utahns concerned about citizens being killed or injured by police spoke up at Tuesday night’s Salt Lake City Council meeting. They’re asking for more accountability from law enforcement.
The group of about 30 people held signs that said “Justice for Abdi” and “community control now”. Somali teen Abdullahi Mohamed was shot by Salt Lake City police in February outside the homeless shelter downtown. Justin Trent asked for the video footage of the shooting to be released to the public and urged the council to create a community-controlled police review board outside of the city’s existing Police Civilian Review Board.
“I would charge all of you to seriously consider how you would feel, if you or children were being victimized and or killed by the police and there was no democratically elected organization to hold them accountable,” Trent says.
The existing civilian review board consists of 14 members, two from each council district who are appointed by the mayor. Currently the board shares legal counsel with the Salt Lake City Police Department. The city council is poised to support Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s proposal to provide $30,000 for outside legal counsel to the board. Biskupski says that would prevent a conflict of interest.
“If the CRB doesn’t agree with the investigation of our law enforcement department, there could be a conflict there,” Biskupski says. “So let’s just make sure that they have their own legal counsel.”
Rick Rasmussen the CRB investigator says the board has sought legal counsel one time in the last eight years.
The council will likely make a decision on the funding in April.