SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – City leaders have issued statements in regards to the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office ruling in the use of deadly force against Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal in May.
Salt Lake City Council said they recognize that under our legal system it is the District Attorney’s job to make difficult determinations regarding the use of deadly force by police officers.
“The legal standard for determining whether deadly force is justified or not is set by State law and based on Federal precedents. Neither the Council nor the District Attorney sets that standard. However, the Salt Lake City Council believes that we deserve better,” their statement reads.”The death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal is a tragedy for our City. We grieve for Palacios-Carbajal’s family and friends.
The council statement continued with saying they do not accept these systems as they are.
“We commit to doing our part to improve our City systems while advocating for changes outside our purview at the State or Federal level that will root out racism, dismantle systemic injustice, and lead the State of Utah in promoting equity and justice for all residents.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said in cases like these, he relies on the diligent efforts of the District Attorney’s office, the recommendations from the Civilian Review Board, and the results of the Internal Affairs investigation.
“I trust the transparency and accountability afforded to the community through this investigative process we have in place to address Officer-Involved Critical Incidents, said Chief Brown. “I trust our extensive training. But, more importantly, I trust our officers. I trust them to operate within the bounds of the laws and according to their use of force training. I trust that they can make the appropriate split-second, life or death decisions – weighing all factors and public safety – with the brevity required of them.”
I love the women and men of the Police Department, and I support them. They are asked to do an impossible job, and often receive little thanks for it. They are exceptional examples of unsung heroes and consummate professionals.”
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall released the following statement:
“I want to first offer my sincere condolences to the family of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal. No matter the circumstances, the loss you have experienced is tragic. It’s something no parent or sibling should experience, and I am sorry.
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. This evidence shows that our officers acted according to their training and the state law regarding use of lethal force. They acted quickly and methodically in a very difficult situation to stop what they perceived as a deadly threat, which is exactly what we ask of them and what we expect them to do to protect our city, every day.
Nonetheless, I know that with the announcement by the District Attorney, the family and friends of Mr. Palacios Carbajal are still grieving the loss of their son, brother, and friend. 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.
Mr. Gill has done his job according to the system we elected him to work within, and he has determined that the officers involved did their jobs according to the system we hired and trained them to work within. This gives me great confidence that as we work to reform for greater justice and a more equitable city, our police department will continue to follow their training and the law as those standards evolve.
The evidence in this case now moves to the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board and Internal Affairs to make recommendations to Chief Brown on whether the officers acted in accordance with city policy. I have requested both bodies to expedite their reviews so the Chief can quickly make his decision, and I anticipate a conclusion of each process by the middle of next week. I also ask for the public’s patience with these processes that require time and thoughtfulness in order to render due process, which these officers are entitled to under the law.
Finally, I ask this of all of us: my fellow elected officials, city employees, public safety officers, Salt Lake City residents — open your hearts to one another right now. We can all be more understanding of where others sit in this moment. Our ability to look beyond our own experiences and empathize goes hand in hand with our capacity for change. I look forward to continuing this work with every one of you as we work for systemic reforms in our city.”