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Salt Lake City erupts, demands justice for George Floyd, Bernardo Palacios

By staff |
June 1, 2020
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Protesters on top of a overturned police car in Salt Lake City.
Protesters on top of a overturned police car in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City, UT - Thousands of people gathered May 30 for the National Day of Protest to demand justice for George Floyd, as well as for Bernardo Palacios, who was brutally killed by SLCPD in Salt Lake a week before.

Hundreds of cars protesting with the car caravan choked the downtown area for hours beginning at 11 a.m., while many more marched throughout the city, from the police headquarters to the state capitol. The police were not able to respond because the car caravan protesters had blocked police from leaving the station. The demands made were for justice in the face of continued racist police killings, as well as community control of the police.

People continued to march after the car caravan through the city for over nine hours, from the police station to the state capitol building and throughout the city. They chanted in the streets and from their cars, occupying intersections.

Demonstrators were met with cops from 13 nearby cities as well as the National Guard. They used rubber bullets, shields and batons on protesters. 41 protesters were arrested. Organizers were on the ground providing medical assistance and treating those wounded by riot cops’ rubber bullets. No city EMT or medic had been dispatched. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a night and day curfew for all of Salt Lake City from 8 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Monday.

The mayor issued a statement to demonstrators saying, “This is not what justice looks like.” Utah Against Police Brutality responded in a statement released to the media that said, “This is what happens when elected officials, police departments, and ‘leaders’ ignore the constant call for justice in the U.S. This is what happens when the people get tired of waiting for Salt Lake and Utah to do something about racist cops and police violence. This is what happens when they refuse to listen, refuse to reform, refuse to hold officers accountable, and refuse to do what has been asked of them over and over again. This is what happens when police target Black and brown people and communities for years with no consequence.”

Carly Haldeman of UAPB stated, "Justice looks like cops in jail, justice looks like an end to institutional racism, mass incarceration, and extrajudicial killings. We need community control of the police to hold police officers accountable for their violent actions like assault, murder, torture and racial profiling.”