Utah governor declares state of emergency after violent protests erupt over police shooting of man deemed justified

Violent protests erupted yesterday in Utah when it was announced that a police shooting in May of an armed man was justified. Today the governor of Utah is declaring a state of emergency:

THE HILL – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) late Thursday declared a state of emergency in Salt Lake City following tense demonstrations that saw protesters square off against Salt Lake City police.

Protesters flooded the streets after the Salt Lake County district attorney announced that the May police killing of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal was justified.

“In the case of the Salt Lake City Officer Involved Critical Incident that resulted in the death of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal, District Attorney Sim Gill’s findings provide significant evidence of the justifiable actions of Salt Lake City police officers,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall (D) said in a statement after the news was released. “This evidence shows that our officers acted according to their training and the state law regarding use of lethal force.”

She added: “I know that for some, today’s decision does not feel like justice. It has become increasingly apparent in our city and across the nation that there is a difference between what so many feel is morally correct, and what is considered appropriate and justified under the law.”

Palacios was shot on May 23 after a report of someone making “threats with a weapon,” according to a CNN report.

According to the report, police fired 34 shots and Palacios had more than a dozen wounds.

According to the Salt Lake City Police Department, protesters broke windows to the district attorney’s office, prompting the department to deem the demonstration an unlawful gathering.

Police said that the demonstrators then made their way down 500 S., disrupting traffic in the city’s downtown area. Protesters reportedly used pepper spray on officers, and one officer was taken to a local area hospital. The demonstration resulted in the arrest of two protesters, the department said.

This is a shooting I had not heard of before, probably because it wasn’t an example of police brutality. The short story is that officers were chasing a man with a gun. He’d apparently dropped it and was proceeding to pick it up, while ignoring commands from the officer to drop the gun and surrender. Officers thought he was going to shoot them so they shot him. The DA spent an hour yesterday explaining why the officers acted appropriately and why he was not charging the officers.

Nonetheless, protesters gathered out in the streets of Salt Lake City yesterday:

Below is footage from Fox 13 in Utah:

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