Salt Lake DA, community respond to protest, vandalism

Jul 10, 2020, 3:09 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2021, 10:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill responded to the protest outside his office Friday, calling the vandalism to the building “an assault on every one of us.”

Protesters have been calling for justice in the shooting death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal for weeks. On Thursday, Gill announced the officers who fired their weapons would not face charges, arguing their actions were justified because Palacios-Carbajal had a gun.

“What we are called to do is to find the uncomfortable truth. And we recognize that it will not be pleasing to everyone. But we will not shy away from our moral and ethical duty,” Gill said.

The protest started peacefully. Officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department allowed demonstrators to use red paint to push their message, but quickly stepped in when one or more people began shattering windows at the DA’s office building.

Police Dispersing Protesters At SL DA's Office

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“I will not let the actions of a few take away from those other peaceful protesters who have an incredible and important message to share with our community,” Gill said. “This building represents all of us as a community. This is us. And an assault on this building is an assault on every one of us.”

Friday morning brought with it several people from the community, prepared to clean up the red handprints, signs and other messages covering the entrance of the building.

“Everybody wants to be heard,” said Jared Twilley, who lives in Herriman.

Twilley saw the protest on the news the night before.

“I had no intentions to come here and then a thought came to me as I was going to the gym this morning to see what I can do to help,” he said.

Twilley said he didn’t come to take sides.

“I’m for the police. I’m for the people,” he said. “I don’t want someone to mistreat my children. But I also don’t want my children to believe that civil disobedience is going to correct something. But at one point is your voice not being heard. I understand that.”

And the scraping, peeling and washing happening at the building speak volumes about the desire of many to restore civility.

“Justice, fairness and equality and truth are not just words to me,” said Gill, speaking of the words that stretch across the building, high above the messages left behind from the protesters.

“We want changes. I understand that,” he said. “But I want those changes to be long-term, sustainable and systemic.”

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Salt Lake DA, community respond to protest, vandalism