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Salt Lake Police Association reflects on May 2020 riots, thanks supporting agencies

Posted at 11:45 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 14:00:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly one year after protests against police turned into riots in Salt Lake City, officials with the Salt Lake Police Association reflected on the events of May 30, 2020 in a news conference Wednesday morning.

Last spring, protesters gathered in Salt Lake City and other cities around the world in response to the murder of George Floyd, who died while in Minneapolis police custody last Memorial Day.

During the riots in Salt Lake City, an SLCPD car was overturned and set on fire. The first officers who tried to bring the situation under control were quickly outnumbered.

“Kind of hard to believe that where we are standing right now was basically ground zero for what turned into a battlefield that Saturday afternoon and evening of May 30, 2020," said SLPA President Joe McBride during Wednesday's news conference. "In 13 years of law enforcement, I never thought I would see that or experience that and it was absolute insanity!”

At one point that day, a rare "10-33" call went out over police radio waves in Utah. The 10-33 code is a request for immediate assistance. Law enforcement officials with nearly three dozen Utah agencies responded to the cry for help.

"The call went out and the call was answered. Officers from across this state poured into Salt Lake City. Without thought for their safety, without thought for their lives, they responded. The call they answered that day saved the lives of officers and of citizens in this city," McBride said.

McBride said the stressful events of May 30 are among the many factors that have prompted dozens of sworn SLCPD officers to either retire, resign or move to different agencies.

“It changes every day but we’re about 90 officers that have left the department in the last year," McBride said. “A lot of officers that have left the department, it wasn’t necessarily one thing, right, it’s the combination of the entire year.”