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From: Devin Thorpe
To: Rep. Briscoe, J.,
Subject: The Future is Bright
Date: 2020-06-10T20:59:25Z

Good Afternoon Friends!

These past few weeks of protests against racial inequality and for police reform have led me to reflect on my responsibility as a citizen and as a future congressman. I have been moved by the tributes to George Floyd and pray that they become symbols of hope and a more peaceful and inclusive future. I have also witnessed the many peaceful protests throughout our state and the country, as well as in so many countries throughout the world. We can already see the impact that they are having in not only bringing people together to advance equality, but spurring conversations and, perhaps more importantly, legislation to reform certain police practices. 
Devin Thorpe at peaceful Black Lives Matter rally at the Salt Lake City and County Building on 6/10

Thoughtful Police Reform

I had the opportunity to do a two-part interview with James and Colleen Copple, two consultants for the Obama administration on 21st Century Policing, who have specific experience with the state of Minnesota on the use of deadly force. We discussed the death of George Floyd, and so many others, at the hands of the police. We also discussed the important role of police unions in changing systems and processes to better reflect community values. 
Interview with Colleen & James Copple, Part I
Interview with Colleen & James Copple, Part II


There are a number of actionable items the Copples identified that I believe can restore trust and enable our police to better serve and protect our communities:
  • Sanctity of Life: police officers must immediately render aid to gunshot victims, even if the police were the ones to shoot the victim
  • Mandate to Intervene: if a partner is using excessive force, an officer must be compelled to intervene
  • End the Militarization of Policing: reduce the amount of military equipment provided by the federal government to local police departments (if the police are equipped as though they are going to war, they are apt to attack instead of protect)
  • Change the Philosophy of Police Unions: unions must condemn police brutality and protect life instead of ignoring the voice of the community in favor of supporting their officer
I have seen what good policing looks like and know that there are many great law enforcement officers out there serving our communities. Thoughtful reforms and realigning our fiscal priorities will create a better relationship between the police and our communities. We should be fighting poverty, not the poor; drug addiction, not the addicted; unemployment, not the unemployed; inequality, not those with unequal opportunity. I am committed to advocating for police reform, whether on the local or on the federal level, to bring about this change. 
Devin Thorpe with members of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Protecting Our First Amendment Rights

When Gail and I were living in China, we had the opportunity to visit Tiananmen Square. As I walked that famous Beijing plaza, I was instantly reminded of the horrific images from the 1989 Tiananmen Square democratic protests. There, the Chinese government advanced tanks and assault rifles on the peaceful student protests marching for freedom and equality. Those same images came to mind when President Trump violently dispersed a crowd of peaceful protesters in front of the White House in order for him to walk to a nearby church for a photo-op. 

Our right to peacefully assemble and seek redress of our government is at the core of our country's history and essential to maintaining our democratic principles. Utahns deserve a representative that will condemn such attacks on our democracy and freedom of assembly.
#plugintodevin We Must Preserve Our Constitutional Right to Peacefully Protest

Race and Policing Roundtable

It is important that we continue the conversation around racial inequality—to listen and learn. I am hosting a live roundtable to allow experts in our community to teach us about issues of racial inequality and police brutality. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to find out more about the Race and Policing Roundtable.

Let’s be bold together!
Devin Thorpe

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