SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Detectives with the Salt Lake City Police Department are looking for a man who broke an officer’s hand during the downtown riots on May 30.
The man, who was wearing a tie-dye shirt and a long bandana over his face, threw a large rock at a Salt Lake City police officer from less than 10 feet away.
That rock hit the officer’s hand, broke it and smashed his finger.
“He’s had to undergo surgery. May have to undergo more surgery. He’s out for an indefinite amount of time. Hopefully, he makes a full recovery,” said Greg Wilking, a detective with the Salt Lake City Police Department.
After the man threw the rock, which he had kept in his pocket while approaching the front line of the riot, he backed away into the crowd.
The officer cringed when the rock hit him but stayed on the front line.
“He stood up there with that broken hand for another four hours after that took place,” said Wilking. “He didn’t want to leave the line. He was there backing up his fellow officers and told them he wasn’t leaving.”
It’s one of many incidents from that night Salt Lake City police detectives are looking into.
“We have four terabytes worth of video to go through. So far, our officers have spent over 500 hours reviewing video,” said Wilking. “And we’re just scratching the surface on this investigation.”
That work has resulted in 20 arrest warrants.
Detectives have yet to look through surveillance video of looting from a nearby 7-Eleven store and City Creek Mall.
“We’ll be arresting and identifying more people. That number is ticking up every day,” said Wilking.
Although police have been getting tips from the public to help identify suspects, there were some people on social media saying they won’t help detectives.
Some of the excuses given include video of an officer who was seen pushing an elderly man down during the riot.
“Internal affairs is reviewing that and we’re going through the process,” said Wilking. “We’re still looking at that and having accountability and we do that with any complaint that comes in.”
Wilking feels officers need to be held accountable for their actions. He also believes accountability has to go both ways.
“We don’t want police brutality, but we also don’t want brutality on our police officer,” he said. “I see a lot of unaccountability from people that were there that night to destroy, break and harm people.”
Wilking said that’s why detectives are spending so much time looking through hours upon hours of video for those who broke the law.
“Those individuals that carried out that violence should expect to see us come knocking on their door,” he said. “We’re going to find these individuals.”
At least one of the protesters who helped flip over a police car turned himself in before being caught after seeing a photo of himself as wanted by police.
Wilking said there is leniency for those who admit to what they did.
“The justice system moves a lot better when people do turn themselves in,” said Wilking. “Do the right thing. You did the crime. Man up to it. Call us and tell us who you are and turn yourself in.”