Vigilante justice: Are white supremacists getting special treatment from Utah law enforcement?

Eric S. Peterson explored the criminal justice system’s sometimes double standard in dealing with armed militias at protests in Utah.  In a series for the Utah Investigative Journalism Project, which Peterson leads, in partnership with the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune, Peterson found the Salt Lake District Attorney had dropped charges against a militia member who pepper-sprayed a Black Lives Matter protester in the face. After he asked to see the investigative file and asked why charges were dropped, the office reopened the matter and refiled charges. Examining police bodycam footage of violent protests, Peterson found an instance of police officers quickly jumping to conclusions about a man alleged to have driven through a protest, suggesting he was a victim. Using open-source investigative techniques, Peterson discovered a video of a protester at the Utah State Capitol being intimidated by Proud Boys while a state trooper nearby barely seemed to care and even appeared to tell the Proud Boys that they are “awesome.” The series has helped shed light on how the justice system appears to crack down on Black Lives Matter protesters with zeal but gives militia members more leeway.