During a live news broadcast of the protests in Salt Like City this weekend, a police officer can be seen pushing an elderly man with a cane because he wasn’t walking fast enough. The police officer is now under investigation, according to SLC Police Chief Mike Brown.
In a video statement on Sunday, Police Chief Brown called the officer’s actions “inappropriate” and said that the video was hard for him to watch
Brown said the police department will follow its typical procedure for excessive force complaints, which includes an internal affairs investigation and a review by the Civilian Review Board.
“This is not what I would expect from Salt Lake City PD. My expectations are that if people are exercising their first amendment rights, we give them the space to do so peacefully,” Brown said.
ABC4 Utah captures police in Salt Lake City knocking over an elderly man while clearing the block.
Posted by Dustin Wilcox on Saturday, May 30, 2020
The police chief also said that he spoke with the man in the video personal to apologize for the incident and make sure that he was ok.
ABC4 was conducting an interview on the street when riot police came rushing down the street pushing people with their riot shields. However, there was not a large crowd gathered on the street, and no one near the police appeared to be protesters. In fact, there were two older men walking down the sidewalk when the police started rushing towards them. One man appeared to be waiting for the bus, while another looked like he wanted to walk in the direction that the police were blocking. Both of them likely had very little understanding about what they were in the middle of, and they probably didn’t expect to be assaulted by the police, so they didn’t run in the other direction, but merely went about their business.
When the men weren’t moving fast enough, police began to push them around. One of the men was walking with a cane and appeared to have trouble walking, but one of the police officers threw him to the ground anyway. Some of the other officers rushed around to help the man off the ground, but the damage had already been done. It seemed that one of the officers in the crowd was hyped up and looking for a fight, because it was the same officer that pushed both of the elderly men around.
In cities across the United States, police have responded with overwhelming force against protesters, which has sparked further protesters and unrest. This incident is just one of many that are happening across the country to further embolden protesters in their fight against police brutality.
In some cities, police officers have chosen to de-escalate the conflict by joining the protesters and supporting their message instead of meeting them with riot gear and tear gas.
Police departments are presenting these measures as a token of solidarity, but more than likely this is a strategy to de-escalate tensions with protesters and set a tone of peace for the demonstrations. Regardless of the intent, this seems to be a much smarter strategy than shooting the streets up with teargas.