COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4 News) – The family of a man shot and killed by police two years ago is speaking out after what was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned violent.
Family members planned a march against police violence to coincide with what would have been his Zane James’ 22nd birthday. The protest was to start at Mill Hollow Park and continue down the street to the place where James was shot in 2018.
The attorney for the family, Robert Sykes, said as the protesters walked peacefully to the shooting location, the “police blocked their path and provoked an unnecessary physical confrontation.”
Police said there were several fights and officers were hit and sprayed with pepper spray when protesters refused to stay on the sidewalk.
At least eight people were taken into police custody and a Cottonwood Heights City council member said an officer punched her in the throat during the incident.
The James family returned to Mill Hollow Park Monday afternoon to give their account of what happened.
In a prepared statement, Cottonwood Heights mayor Mayor Mike Peterson said the city supports the First Amendment but feels strongly that local laws and ordinances must be adhered to.
“The situation at Mill Hollow is regrettable. We never want to see things escalate as the one did Sunday evening. We will investigate this situation, both the protest event which elicited neighbors’ concerns and the response of our police force,” said Peterson.