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As #BlackLivesMatter Protests Reach Salt Lake City, Protesters Surround SLCPD and Utah State Capitol

After the release of a video of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, being murdered by Minneapolis police, protests sparked all over the country. On May 30, in downtown Salt Lake City, protestors hopped into cars and marched the streets demanding justice for Black Lives across America.

Protesters gathered at a parking lot at 500 South and Denver St. handing out signs and prepared to head out to the streets. Protester Rae Duckworth spoke about her experience with police brutality in her life and what it meant to find a community with the Black Lives Matter movement in Salt Lake City as an adult.

Duckworth’s cousin, Bobby Duckworth was shot by a police officer in Utah after her family called the police expressing concerns for Bobby’s mental health. She said her family had a fear he was going to hurt himself.

Rae Duckworth described her cousin as a big giant Black kid, but a teddy bear and a total sweetheart.

“You can tell from the body cam footage, [the officer] was scared and he was scared that a Black man was approaching him after he had just told him to come toward him,” she said. “And he gave my cousin six or seven bullets.”

After her personal experience with police brutality, Rae Duckworth decided to get involved with the Black Lives Matter chapter in Utah. She said even though Utah is majority white, there are still chapters here.

“I’m 28 years old and if I knew this establishment was here when I was a kid, I would have felt a lot more comfortable growing up,” she said.

Among the protestors were Naia James and Zela Long, who were at the rally to bring awareness to the cause. “Being Black in America does something to your mind, when you see people who look like you and talk like you dying on the streets,” Long said.

Long said they attended to protest the corrupt police system, she said there cannot be a good police officer in the system. “The system isn’t broke, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do which is oppress people of color and kill people of color,” she said. “So to be honest the system needs to be shut down and completely rebuilt.”

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