SALT LAKE CITY — Body camera footage released by the Salt Lake City Police Department Friday shows Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, shot in the back as he ran away from officers. In the footage, at least 20 shots can be heard to be fired from officers at Palacios-Carbajal.
Two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation from Unified Police.
SLCPD had responded to a report of someone making “threats with a weapon” May 28, according to Salt Lake Police. Capt. Richard Lewis. Officers arrived on-scene near the Utah Village Motel, 271 W. 900 South, where officers spotted Palacios running, as indicated in the video footage.
After a short-lived police chase — where Palacios stumbled and fell twice — gunshots were fired and he fell to the ground. On the video officers are heard yelling, “Show your hands!” after Palacios fell to the ground.
Now, Palacios’ family members are calling for justice and arguing that the shooting was not justified. The family met with police officers and saw the footage before it was released to the public. They say it strengthens their argument.
“We want to get justice for him because he could still be alive. He could still be here. What they did, it wasn’t right. After watching the videos, it wasn’t right,” said Karina Palacios, a sister of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, to KSL.com.
To the family of Bernardo Palacios, justice may mean criminal charges for the officers.
“He was running the whole time. He was never confrontational. They could have tased him. They could have easily tased him,” said Freddie Palacios, a brother.
Salt Lake City police and mayor respond
SLCPD Chief Mike Brown said during a press conference Friday he stands behind his police department.
“I trust our training, I trust in the investigative process that we have in place to investigate officer-involved incidents. Most importantly, I trust our officers.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall called the footage “genuinely disturbing and upsetting,” and apologized to Palacios’ family for what they’re going through.
“No one should go through what you’re experiencing right now and no words can make up for the loss that you have experienced,” Mendenhall said.
Mendenhall confirmed that, since seeing the footage, an investigation is underway. At the press conference, she called for expediency and transparency from the police department.
Other state representatives and government leaders responded to the released footage, with Reps. Angela Romero and Sandra Hollins along with State Sen. Luz Escamilla releasing a statement — calling the situation “disturbing.”
“We want to express our condolences to Bernardo’s family and friends,” they wrote in a collective statement. “The footage released today by the Salt Lake City Police Department is disturbing, and a thorough investigation is needed. We call upon the SLCPD to expedite its review process so that we can better understand the events that led to this death.”
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