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Utah's governor to meet with Black Lives Matter leader to talk police reforms

Black Lives Matter Protest SLC
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 22, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has scheduled a meeting with the head of Utah's Black Lives Matter movement, FOX 13 has confirmed.

The governor will meet later this week with Lex Scott, who heads up Black Lives Matter Utah to discuss policing reforms.

"I want to talk about police reform. I want to talk about racial issues in this state and bring to the table Black issues for the Black community," Scott told FOX 13 in an interview on Monday.

The meeting came about after Black Lives Matter activists sent out a survey on policing accountability to political leaders across the state. The governor's office got hit with the survey more than 100 times. In response, the governor asked for a meeting.

"Gov. Herbert very much looks forward to meeting with Lex Scott later this week to share perspectives about how to promote greater inclusion and equity here in Utah," the governor's office said in a statement to FOX 13.

Scott said she will go into the meeting with Gov. Herbert with a list of things she'd like to see him push.

"We want de-escalation training, we want diversity training, we want data collection, we want independent civilian review boards that have the power to subpoena, investigate and bring charges against police," she said. "There’s so many things that we need and we can get that change. Right now."

The governor is not the only political leader to reach out to Black Lives Matter in response to daily protests across the state in response to the death of George Floyd. Scott is meeting with Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and has taken calls from Sen. Mitt Romney and Congressman Ben McAdams.

"For six years we’ve been fighting for this. It feels like a revolution," said Scott. "However, we’ve seen the crowds with Michael Brown. We saw the crowds with Eric Garner. We seen the crowds with Freddie Gray. We know the crowds will go away and we know we have a short period, a small moment, to get the change we want."

The Utah State Legislature moved quickly to pass a bill last week that banned police from using a "knee on the neck" that was used to kill Floyd. The state has also now forbidden its police academies from even teaching chokeholds. Other policing reform bills are in the works on Capitol Hill.

Gov. Herbert previously had an emotional meeting with members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission, who shared stories with him of experiencing racism in Utah. He promised to come back to them with policy proposals (and a meeting is tentatively set for early next month).

Scott said even if protests wane, Black Lives Matter still needed people to push political leaders to pass reforms. She told FOX 13 her group is no longer seeking financial contributions but instead is asking people to contact their local elected officials to demand changes in policing.

"Stay involved. Call your senators, call your congressmen and women, call your governor, call your mayor, call everyone. Stay engaged and definitely show up to vote," Scott said.