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Salt Lake City cop injured in protests resigns, citing 'no support from leadership'

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Salt Lake City cop injured in protests resigns, citing 'no support from leadership' (Photo: KUTV)

One of the officers injured in the May 30 protests downtown has quit the force, citing a lack of support from the city.

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His name is Anthony. He asked — and KUTV agreed — not to share his last name for his protection.

He has no beef with protesters — acknowledging even that police need reforms. His problem is square with the city and police administration.

“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 said.

2News made repeated offers to both Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown, but each declined to do interviews.

Anthony says he was hit in the leg by a cast-iron water valve cover during the protests and suffered a concussion from a blow to the head.

He showed up to police the protests a year and a half into his police career — one he greatly enjoyed.

“Loved it, loved every minute of it,” he said.

Anthony, 40, had a career in the railroad business before becoming a cop. But his entire perspective began to change May 30.

“Property destroyed and livelihoods damaged while we was on the sideline watching for way too long, in my opinion,” Anthony said.

For hours, there was chaos and mass vandalism. Anthony says police orders were to let people vent and step in only as a last resort.

“Until there was actual life threatened,” he said. “That’s how I understood it.”

It’s a decision he still doesn’t understand.

“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,” he said. “We get hamstrung and not allowed to do our job a lot of the times by upper administration.”

Anthony says the leaders that showed up May 30 wore different uniforms.

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“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 said.

He’d not made up his mind to quit May 30. He worked from home May 31 and then returned to protest duty on June 1. Shortly thereafter, he went on medical leave and turned in his two-week notice in mid-July.

“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” he said.

Anthony was insulted by remarks Mendenhall made May 31 in a Zoom address to the city.

After what Anthony calls an “iffy thank you,” to police, Mendenhall said she’d ordered a thorough review of the police response and urged residents to file complaints about any instances of excessive force they witnessed.

It didn’t sit well with someone who’d only just been released from the hospital because of civilian-inflicted wounds.

That’s a swift kick in your gut,” he said. “I lost so much respect for her.

What about Brown — did Anthony hear from him?

“Didn’t hear nothing from him for, you know, days,” Anthony said. “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.”

Brown called him after the email, Anthony said.

From home, Anthony watched as protests continued. Damage to the district attorney’s building, he said, wasn’t necessary.

More waiting in the wind and watching from the sidelines,” he said. “I didn’t sign up to protect and serve to watch people break the law. I just — I can’t swallow that.

Anthony said not everyone will love officers — even the good ones — but if officers don’t have trust and respect from their employer, “you feel like you’re out there on an island fighting a battle by yourself.”

The president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association said Wednesday that officers like Anthony are not anomalies. Officers are leaving cities all across Utah.

Chief Mike Brown issued a statement to 2News:

It’s always sad to lose employees, especially in circumstances like these. I personally have spoken with several people who have left so that I can gain an understanding of their perspective. These are individuals who are part of our police family and it’s hard to see them go. 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.