SALT LAKE CITY — A couple hundred people marched across downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday night in the latest protest decrying the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was shot and killed by police in May.
Protesters, who began gathering at the foot of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office around 6 p.m., called for justice and urged Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall to fire the officers responsible for Palacios’ death.
Family members and supporters have been rallying nightly outside Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s office for the past week calling for answers about the shooting. Before dispersing around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night, organizer Sofia Alcala told protesters the fight is far from over and urged them to reconvene Thursday in the same place at 6 p.m.
“Bernardo was a son, a baby brother, an uncle, a friend and a loved member of our community,” Alcala said. “If it could happen to Bernardo, this could happen to your son, to your brother, to your uncle. This happened to our community. We are out here because this happened right in our backyard.”
Palacios, 22, was shot by Salt Lake police officers who fired at least 20 shots and were responding to reports of an armed robbery on May 23. Body camera footage released following the shooting shows Palacios running from officers and appearing to ignore orders to stop and drop a gun.
At one point Palacios stumbled and fell, got back up and kept moving. Moments later, a barrage of gunshots is heard in the footage as the officers shoot him in the back.
It does not appear in the videos that Palacios pointed a gun at police, nor did he fire any shots. However, police say a gun that Palacios was believed to be carrying was recovered from the scene.
Two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by Unified police. Gill’s office is also currently reviewing the officers’ use of force.
Family members and other supporters are calling for justice, saying the shooting was not justified.
Protesters chanted “Brown is beautiful,” “What do we want? Murder charges,” and “No good cops in a racist system, no one’s safe in a racist system,” as they marched down 400 South to the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building.
The streets were free of any vehicles as police had shut them down to make way for the protesters. TRAX lines running through the area were also temporarily halted due to the protests.
As they have on previous nights, protesters plastered posters saying “Justice for Bernardo” and “Black Lives Matter” to the windows of Gill’s office and the public safety building, interspersing them between images of Palacios.
Organizers urged the crowd to look after one another and to stick together. While clustered outside the public safety building, some protesters heaved the metal barricades obstructing much of the building’s entrance to make room.
Protesters circled back to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, wrapping up for the evening a little before 9 p.m with promises to return Thursday.