COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Chaos and violence on the streets of Cottonwood Heights as a clash erupted between police and protestors.
Dozens of people came out for a rally against police brutality. It started at Mill Hollow Park around 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and eventually spilled into nearby neighborhoods.
They were specifically protesting the death of 19-year-old Zane James who was shot by an officer in the back as he was running away in 2018. Police said he robbed two stores at gunpoint.
His parents, Tiffany and Aaron James, spoke at the rally.
“So we are seeing all of the things that everyone has been talking about in this small city in Utah, and that’s what we want to talk about,” said Tiffany James. “It’s a culture of police power that’s been growing.”
But once protestors started marching down the street, police told them to move to the sidewalk. Officers said they were blocking traffic and staring down drivers.
The demonstrators said they were within their rights, but police said they were breaking the law.
“We told them if you stay in the street, we will arrest you,” said Lt. Dan Bartlett with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. “It got into a little bit of a melee and they started assaulting some of the cops, so we made some arrests.”
Police used tasers and tear gas on the protestors.
Among the people who were arrested were Zane’s father and brother.
Tiffany James saw it up close.
“This is unbelievable,” she said. “This is not how you respond to the community.”
In total, police said eight people were arrested.
Organizers of the rally were not happy with how it went down.
“We’ve been doing this for two months now. This is our seventh or eighth protest that we’ve done. We’ve never been met with any sort of force like this before,” said organizer Parker Yates.
When KSL asked why protestors have been allowed in the streets in Salt Lake City, this was Cottonwood Heights’ response.
“This isn’t Salt Lake City, this is Cottonwood Heights. We’re not going to take over residential streets and not let people go to their homes.”
Tiffany James said her family plans to hold a press conference Monday to talk about how it all played out.
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