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Demonstrators call to defund West Valley City Police Department



Protests in Salt Lake County moved to West Valley City Saturday evening.

Demonstrators said it was important to move their fight to this side of the city, as city leaders have ignored their calls for reallocating police funds.

The group met here in front of the West Valley City Hall. The demonstration was organized by the Salt Lake City chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. An organizer, Amaal Sharif, said the demonstration was about hearing the concerns of the community.

Sharif says:

We have been calling for West Valley PD to be defunded and rather than the city council listening to us, they’ve made it harder and harder for people to actually voice their concerns.”

In the 2019-2020 west valley city budget police were allocated more than $28 million, 33% of the budget.

“There’s no reason for 34% of our budget to go to straight people that criminalize us and terrorize us. We have better outlets and better use of our money,” Sharif said.

Organizers said their ultimate goal is to put the money spent on policing back into the community.

“Putting it into housing, public transportation, or into even our public education system,” she said.

Sharif said it is time to question the current system, and in their opinion there is no compromise:

Either you are doing the right thing or you’re not doing the right thing. And any money that is being put into this institution is taking money away from our right to exist and our liberties.”

The group also called for justice for those killed by police in West Valley, like Chad Breinholt, Elijah Smith, and Danielle Willard.

“These cops have never protected us. And if they did there wouldn’t be so many people dying, there wouldn’t be so many false arrests, there wouldn’t be so many false charges.”

Organizers said they know what they are calling for can’t happen over night, and they are in this for the long haul.

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