Ogden group protests police brutality in Missouri

Saturday , August 16, 2014 - 12:19 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN -- As the country has its eyes on Ferguson, Missouri, and the protests against police that are drawing criticism and controversy, one St. Louis native living in Ogden says she is doing her part in spreading awareness of police brutality all around the country.

Angel Scott said she knows family and friends in the St. Louis area who were protesting and protecting themselves from the escalating violence. If she were back home, she’d be marching alongside her fellow protesters. But since she’s in Utah, she decided to do her part by holding her own rally in front of the Ogden City Public Safety Building on Friday.

“It’s been painful for me, being from there,” Scott said. “I couldn't sleep at night.”

Scott and her friend Rich Lines walked around the block with signs showing support for the people of Ferguson and all victims of police brutality. 

The controversy that erupted in the town of Ferguson last week after police shot and killed a young, unarmed African-American man has had a profound impact, as has the police response to the protests, which many say was heavy-handed and overmilitarized.

“The whole thing was mishandled and it’s just a show of how the police have lost touch,” Scott said.

Race is also a large part of the issue. When living in St. Louis, Scott said she saw firsthand how police constantly harassed the black population. She said she has experienced similar prejudice here in Utah. 

Before the small group’s protest began, they were met by Ogden Police Lt. Kevin Cottrell, who chatted with the two about their intentions and the rules for protesting around the department.

“I’m glad to let you exercise your First Amendment rights,” Cottrell told the group. “As long you’re not obstructing the sidewalks or blocking driveways for firetrucks.”

Cottrell said the group was free to use the building’s bathrooms and water fountain.

Scott said the protest was to raise awareness of police brutality around the country in general, and that Ferguson was just one example of reports of an officer using unnecessary force against citizens.

A recent incident in Salt Lake City was also cause for concern, Scott said.

On Tuesday, Salt Lake City police shot and killed a man outside a convenience store. Police say the man failed to obey commands and was visibly upset. 

It is unknown if the man was carrying a weapon or threatened police officers. The shooting is being investigated by South Salt Lake police.

“It just seems like the police are afraid of the citizens they’re supposed to protect,” Scott said. “They continually have to justify their existence to them.” 

Scott said their protest was successful and that they were able to talk with plenty of people who stopped to chat and share their experiences with them. The group planned on returning with more people to continue the rally.

Another gathering related to the Ferguson protests took place in Ogden. On Thursday, multiple church groups rallied in downtown Ogden in memory of Michael Brown. Two dozen people showed up in support of the Missouri teen and his family by throwing their arms up in surrender, the same position Brown was reportedly in when he was shot.

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