Mendenhall calls protest violence an ‘opportunity’ for the nation to learn

20200531 Mendenhall CNN

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Sunday that the violence that happened in Salt Lake City and other areas around the country was an “opportunity” to address the systemic problems in the U.S. 

“I know right now were looking at the violence and the destruction of what is happening but the opening of Aerica to be able to unpack the underbelly of racism visible to us,” she said during an appearance on CNN. “It’s not really about a broken system. It’s about a system that has been broken from the beginning.” 

Salt Lake City was rocked by violence on Saturday afternoon and evening that broke out amid protests about the killing of George Floyd. Cars were turned over and set on fire, and vandals defaced the state capitol building. Mendenhall imposed a curfew for Salt Lake City residents that is in place until Monday morning. 

President Donald Trump blamed, without offering proof, the violence that hit Salt Lake City and other locales on Antifa. Similarly, others have blamed outside agitators for the violence, again making the claim without evidence. Mendenhall said she did not have any proof that outside groups were responsible for starting the unrest in Salt Lake City.

“Our protests started at 11:00 a.m. yesterday and at 4:00 p.m. they turned violent. It wasn’t a dramatic separation of peaceful protestors coming home and violent protesters coming out. There was a lot of mixing in the beginning and throughout. We have yet to unpack the data about the arrests we’ve made, who the instigators are and their locations. We’re anxious to find out,” she said.