About 100 protesters gathered in front of a police department in northern Utah to demand that an officer who fired his gun at a 10-year-old boy last week be fired.
The crowd was carrying Black Lives Matter signs Friday night and others protesting against the incident, including one who said, "Hey cops! Do not shoot our kids."
The officer's actions sparked criticism after Jerri Hrubes declared that the white policeman had fired his gun at his black son, DJ, while he was playing on his grandfather's lawn. June 6, in a state where African Americans make up only 1.4% of the population. population, according to US Census figures.
The founder of Black Lives Matter in Utah, Lex Scott, said his group was inspired by the organization of the protest after learning that the officer would remain in office.
"I believe it was a hate crime," Scott said. "This child has been targeted because of the color of his skin."
Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe said last Monday that officials did not intend to fire the unidentified officer. He added that the police officer had used judgment and confused the boy with a potential suspect while pursuing armed suspects.
"We want to learn from this, we do not want community protection efforts to traumatize people," said Soffe.
Hrubes said that his son had no toys or objects in his hands. The agent told DJ to put his hands in the air and get off the ground and not to ask questions. After Jerri Hrubes confronted the officer, he got in his car and left, she said.
Soffe said the officer was part of a group pursuing suspects after the authorities had received reports of a shooting and had learned that the suspects were black, Hispanic or Polynesian. , did he declare.
Members of other civil rights groups, including Utahns Against Police Brutality and Mormon Women for Ethical Government, joined Scott's group on Friday night, although the latter group did not demand the firing. of the agent.
Heather White, a lawyer working with the police department, said Friday that the Utah Department of Public Safety would investigate the Woods Cross police officer and determine if he had acted with him. racial bias or unnecessary force and whether crimes had been committed.
The protesters called for greater police accountability and better training on how to defuse situations and identify prejudices.
A lawyer working with Hrubes said that the mother was happy that the state is conducting an investigation. But Scott and another protester have expressed concern that the investigation is not right.
"I've seen hundreds of investigations and guess who has ever been convicted? The police," said Jacob Jensen of Utahns Against Police Brutality to the crowd.
Scott said, "The police tend to investigate themselves and find themselves innocent.It is a conflict of interest.This is not OK."