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Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal
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Ruling on Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal officer-involved shooting expected

This week, the Salt Lake County District Attorney is expected to announce whether a deadly officer-involved shooting was justified. Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was shot and killed by Salt Lake police in May and body camera footage was released on June 5. (Photo: Steve Griffin, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake County District Attorney is expected to announce this week whether or not a deadly officer-involved shooting that killed Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was justified. 

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal shooting sparks protests

Protesters have been calling for “Justice for Bernardo” for over a month now. It comes after Palacios-Carbajal died after being shot more than 20 times by Salt Lake police in May. Body camera footage was later released on June 5.

Since that date, flyers have been plastered all over the Salt Lake City Police Department Building, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and the Salt Lake City-County Building. A portrait of Palacios-Carbajal was also added next to a mural of George Floyd on the corner of 300 West and 800 South in Salt Lake City. His image sits alongside other portraits of victims killed at the hands of the police. 

Photo credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is planning to announce sometime this week the results of his investigation into whether the shooting was justified. The Deseret News points out if a decision is announced, it would be one of Gill’s fastest reviews of an officer-involved shooting.

Top priority

According to Gill, this case is being made his office’s top priority, due to public sensitivity. However, it should be noted that even if the shooting is determined not to be legally justified, it does not mean criminal charges will automatically be filed.

“If we want different outcomes, or the outcomes that we are getting do not align with the values or the ideals that we want — what our notion of justice is — then we need to change the law to have different outcomes,” Gill told the Deseret News. “But that does not absolve me of my responsibility and duty to apply the law and to try to decipher in a factual way what the truth of this one particular incident happened.”

Gill said his office is tasked with balancing the objective reality of the situation.

“Each incident has very unique facts and our analysis is always very fact-specific because we have a law that is very clear,” he said.