SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 9, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Protesters gathered in front of the downtown Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office Thursday evening to protest the ruling earlier in the day on the shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal by police.
District Attorney Sim Gill ruled that the May 23 fatal shooting of Palacios-Carbajal, 22, was justified, and the involved officers will not face charges.
Gill quoted interviews in which the Salt Lake City Police officers involved said they feared for their lives after a prone Palacios-Carbajal appeared to raise a gun he had dropped three times as he fell on slick surfaces on the rainy night.
Gill noted that as the officer was gaining on him, Palacios-Carbajal slowed down three times to retrieve the fallen gun.
Between 100 and 200 protesters gathered at the District Attorney’s office at 35 E. 500 South at 6 p.m., sticking dozens of signs on the doors, bearing messages including “Justice for Bernardo” and “Sim Gill, their blood is on your hands.”
The protesters left red hand prints and threw red paint, symbolizing blood, onto the sign in front of the office and the street, also writing “F— your police department” in paint on the road. One protester wrote in large chalk letters on the street in front of the office: “Respect existence or expect resistance.” Another climbed a ladder to post “Justice for Bernardo” signs above the windows of the building.
Protesters then gathered along State Street in the area of 500 South, with some taking a knee. Others held black umbrellas in front of news cameras, saying that videos had previously been used to find and arrest people.
Just before 8 p.m., reports from the scene indicate protesters returned to the DA’s office broke three windows.
Officers in riot gear with shields broke the protesters into two groups in an attempt to disperse them, while a Utah DPS helicopter hovered overhead.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown tweeted at 8:30 p.m.: “It was my sincere hope that the protest tonight would remain peaceful as it has night after night. Sadly, as they began to break windows at the Salt Lake County DA’s office, we declared it an unlawful assembly.”
Salt Lake City Police Department tweeted: “Officers are sustaining injuries and have been sprayed with pepper spray. A medical team is responding to assist.”
Gephardt Daily’s crew at the protest said one female protester also was injured.
As of 8:30 p.m., the following streets are closed: 500 South between 200 East and West Temple, 400 South between 200 East and West Temple and State Street between 400 South and 600 South.
Gephardt Daily will be following the protest as it develops.