Utah County officials release guidelines on lawful behavior during protests

Protesters in SLC react to the D.A.'s decision on Thursday, July 9, that police who shot Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal will not be prosecuted. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, July 13, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah County Sheriff’s officials have released a list of guidelines outlining what is lawful and unlawful during protests.

“Over the past several months Sheriff Smith and others at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office have received numerous inquiries from people who want to know what they can and cannot do in response to political and social protests we have all seen reported in the news,” said a news release from UCSO.

“Sheriff Smith wants people to understand that it is each individual’s responsibility to know the laws and how they apply to them. He recognizes that he cannot specifically address every possible scenario that could arise and how to respond to it, but he wanted to outline a few issues that would  apply to any protests similar to those that have occurred locally and nationally.”

Officials support the “constitutional right of the people to peaceably assemble” but want to ensure that those who may desire to exercise this right understand what it entails and what it doesn’t, the news release said.

“To ‘peaceably assemble’ means to gather as a group and, without violating any laws or violating any of the constitutional rights of others, express a point of view,” the news release said. “Megaphones and noisemakers are allowed unless they violate a noise ordinance. Time of gathering is not a factor unless it violates an ordinance. We welcome our community members to gather lawfully in the interest of political and social. When you gather in accordance with the law, we will protect and facilitate your right to do so.”

The news release added that violations of the law are not allowed, including:

  • Standing in the roadway, unless the roadway has been closed to traffic by law enforcement. Pedestrians in a roadway do not have right of way unless they are lawfully in the roadway; meaning in a crosswalk and crossing in accordance with traffic control devices.
  • There is no legally authorized method of obstructing traffic or stopping the flow of traffic. Blocking a vehicle from free and lawful movement may, in some cases, constitute unlawful detention of the vehicle’s occupants.
  • Threatening to do violence to persons or property or damaging personal property.
  • Assaulting individuals.
  • Making excessive noise.
  • Trespassing.

“We welcome and support lawfully assemblies,” the news release concluded. “However, we will not tolerate any behavior that is unlawful and will hold the perpetrators accountable.”


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