Review of Inland Port protest exonerates Salt Lake City police officers

Officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department and other agencies responded to the scene of a volatile protest of the planned Inland Port on July 9, 2019. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 21, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake City Police Department announced the completion of a review of officers’ conduct during a July 9 incident in which people protesting Utah’s Inland Port spilled out of the City and County Building and into the building across the street that houses the Utah State Chamber of Commerce.

The review concluded that no charges would be filed against any of the officers involved in dispersing the protesters who went into the Chamber of Commerce building after staging a civil demonstration at the City and County Building, at 451 S. State St., on Washington Square.

The police department was aware of the demonstration at Washington Square and had officers in the area “to protect the First Amendment rights of those present,” the final review released by SLCPD states.

Police say they were called by management of the privately owned building, at 175 University Blvd., shortly after demonstrators entered and went up to the sixth floor offices of the Chamber, where they had a “sit in.”

More protesters also had entered the first-floor lobby of the building, and police were asked to remove them from the premises as well.

As demonstrators complied with orders to vacate the sixth floor, there were reports of some protesters committing acts of vandalism in the Chamber offices, which heightened the sense of urgency to get all of them out of the building.

Demonstrators came down to the lobby where officers were attempting to get those already there to leave, and a chaotic scene erupted when some protesters pushed back as the police tried to move them outside.

The final review says the Civilian Review Board looked at the Internal Affairs complaints received. The complainant was contacted repeatedly by Internal Affairs, who left messages to call them back, and the complainant failed to do so. The Civilian Review Board also tried to contact the complainant to set up an interview and got no response. According to policy, therefore, the matter was dismissed.

The Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office reviewed reports, video recordings, and other
evidence relating to use of force by an officer, the final review says. The District Attorney’s Office came to the conclusion that all known evidence supports the officer’s actions pertaining to use of force, so no criminal charge will be filed.

According to the final review, damage to the building was estimated at:

  • $7,000 cleaning (reported urine and human feces)
  • $2,000 lobby glass door replacement (damaged by demonstrators)
  • $150 receptionist desk damage (from demonstrators jumping)
  • $125 surveillance cameras adjustment
  • $25 keyboard replacement


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