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Man arrested at protest was known to police, affidavit states

SHARE Man arrested at protest was known to police, affidavit states

Demonstrators put signs on the Salt Lake City-County Building on Thursday, July 2, 2020, during the latest protest decrying the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was shot and killed by police in May. The protest was cut short after the police made an arrest.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who was arrested by Salt Lake police for allegedly interfering with a traffic stop while a protest was happening nearby has been confrontational with officers at other protests, according to police.

On Thursday, as protesters were gathered at the Salt Lake City-County Building calling for justice for 22-year-old Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was shot and killed by Salt Lake police in May, officers made a traffic stop on another side of Washington Square.

According to Salt Lake police, the vehicle was pulled over for a minor traffic violation on 500 South near 135 East, and the driver was not associated with the protest. That’s when Emanuel Alan Fetzer Hill, 21, of Salt Lake City, who was part of the protest, walked over and began filming the officers with his cellphone.

“(Hill) has been involved with many protests lately and has been aggressive and verbally abusive with officers in the past. (He) will usually come up and try and instigate a confrontation with officers during these protests. (Hill) is always given a lawful order to move, but refuses to do so. We were familiar with him,” officers wrote in a police affidavit.

Hill demanded the names and badge numbers of the officers who were making the traffic stop, the affidavit states.

“He was cussing at us and telling us we didn’t need three officers on one stop. (He) was told numerous times to get away and to stay on the sidewalk,” according to the affidavit.

Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said filming the officers wasn't the issue, but rather Hill’s refusal to obey police commands to get out of the road, thus interfering with the officers on the traffic stop.

Police eventually let the driver go with a warning. But Hill remained in the street being confrontational, the affidavit states. Just as Hill started to walk away and the incident appeared to be over, Hill “turned back toward us and began to be confrontational again. (He) was informed he was being arrested. (Hill) pulled away and officers had to take him to the ground and restrain him,” according to the affidavit.

Some witnesses claimed four officers were kneeling on Hill. Wilking said some degree of force was used, which was all documented on the officers’ body cameras. He said the level of force used by officers is dependent on how the suspect is acting.

As Hill was being transported to jail, he repeatedly told officers that they would “see his group at the police department soon.”

Hill was arrested for investigation of two counts of interfering with an arresting officer.

In other recent cases, Hill was charged on May 26 in South Salt Lake Justice Court with making a threat of violence at a treatment center. His next scheduled court date for that case is Aug. 11.

On May 15, Hill was arrested by Unified police for investigation of assault on a health care provider at a Midvale treatment center, where he allegedly assaulted “multiple people including hospital staff,” according to a police affidavit.