Salt Lake City, UT – A Salt Lake City officer who was injured after being assaulted by a rioter wielding a cast-iron water valve cover in May has resigned from the force due to a lack of support from city and police leadership.
The 40-year-old, now-former officer – identified only as “Anthony” for his own protection – told KUTV that he was hit in the leg and the head during the May 30 riots.
He suffered a concussion and was hospitalized due to the attack, but he said he didn’t hear a word from Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.
“[I] didn’t hear nothing from him for, you know, days,” Anthony told KUTV. “In fact, I wrote him an email saying ‘hey, just wanted to let you know — see if you knew you had injured officers out there,’ in hopes they were getting more support than me and my family was.”
He said Chief Brown called him after he sent the email, which was days after the brutal assault.
Anthony said he joined the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) 18 months ago after working in the railroad business, KUTV reported.
“Loved it – loved every minute of it,” he said of his law enforcement career.
But when the riots broke out in the wake of the May 25 in-custody death of George Floyd, Anthony was stunned to learn that department and city leaders wanted officers to stand down.
“Property destroyed and livelihoods damaged while we was on the sideline watching for way too long, in my opinion,” he told KUTV. “I took an oath to not let that happen — vandalism — it’s against the law. It’s not my choice to decide what laws don’t get broke and which ones we’re going to let slide.”
According to Anthony, officers were told to stay back unless “there was actual life threatened.”
“That’s how I understood it,” he told KUTV. “We get hamstrung and not allowed to do our job a lot of the times by upper administration.”
Anthony noted that other law enforcement agencies’ administrators were out with the rank-and-file during the riots, but not those from SLCPD.
“Not having a whole lot of support from our upper leadership, yet looking around and seeing leaders from other agencies out there on the front lines with us — that says a lot,” he told KUTV. “When you don’t have no support from your leadership, from your city leadership and the city in general, good officers get that feeling —’Well, why are we doing this?’”
He became even more frustrated after Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall urged residents during a press conference on May 31 to file complaints against police if they witnessed or experienced any incidents of excessive force during the “protests,” KUTV reported.
Mendenhall’s statement came on the heels of Anthony’s release from the hospital.
“That’s a swift kick in your gut,” he told KUTV. “I lost so much respect for her.”
Without the respect and trust of city and department leaders, Anthony and his fellow officers “feel like you’re out there on an island fighting a battle by yourself.”
Anthony said he returned to work after the assault, but that he ultimately turned in his resignation in mid-July.
“More waiting in the wind and watching from the sidelines,” he told KUTV. “I didn’t sign up to protect and serve to watch people break the law. I just — I can’t swallow that.”
Mendenhall and Chief Brown declined to sit down with KUTV to discuss Anthony’s claims, KUTV reported.
“It’s always sad to lose employees, especially in circumstances like these,” Chief Brown told the news outlet in a statement. “I personally have spoken with several people who have left so that I can gain an understanding of their perspective.”
“We have invested a lot of time and money to train these employees — it takes 10.5 months to get them onto the streets — and their loss has a big impact,” he added.