SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As Salt Lake County and surrounding areas prepare for a possible second night of protests in the wake of the Bernaro Palacios-Carbajal ruling, ABC4 is taking a look back at the catalyst that has sparked these demonstrations.
It was on May 23, 2020, when the 22-year-old was involved in an officer-involved shooting with Salt Lake City Police.
It was at a storage facility at 900 South 300 West. Police were responding to reports of someone threatening people with a gun. Once police arrived on scene, investigators say Palacios-Carbajal took off running.
His life would come to an end shortly after when responding officers shot him more than 30 times. He died at the scene from his injuries.
The body camera footage of responding officers was released on June 5th.
“Drop it, drop it, drop it,” an officer can be heard yelling at Palacios-Carbajal who is seen in the video running from officers. “He’s got something in his pocket. Something in his pocket,” an officer is heard saying.
The aftermath of his death would lead to thousands taking to the streets to protest.
“We can’t let this happen anymore,” said Sophia Alcalá, an organizer of some of the Justice for Bernardo Protests. “We can’t let them kill our community and get away with it anymore,” Alcalá told ABC4 news during an interview at a June 21st protest at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.
On Thursday nearly two months after the shooting, the Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill would rule it justified by law.
The ruling sparked more anger from protesters leading to the district attorney’s office being defaced later that evening. Those actions would lead to Governor Gary Herbert declaring a state of emergency due to civil unrest.
On Friday, Gill spoke out. “As we always have we encourage robust, civic, dialogue,” he said outside the office. “We celebrate free speech, and honor the right to dissent without fear, reprisal or retribution. Mutually respectful disagreement enriches every discussion. Last night wasn’t that.”
Gill went on to urge the community not to react violently and setback the progress and dialogue that’s been made in recent weeks.