Gov. declares state of emergency as protesters block traffic, paint street

Jul 9, 2020, 7:18 PM | Updated: 9:46 pm
slc protesters...
Red paint, which protesters said represented the blood on DA Sim Gill's hands, seen on 500 South from the 20th floor of the Grand America hotel. Photo: Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency Thursday night after protests escalated in downtown Salt Lake City and police tried to get protesters to disperse. 

Protesters paint the street

The protests began peacefully. Protesters blocked traffic and painted the street and parts of the district attorney’s office building red Thursday night after Salt Lake County DA ruled the shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was justified. 

At one point, protesters used their bodies and umbrellas to try to block reporters from filming what they were doing. 

Protesters gathered on 500 South outside the DA’s office, hours after  prosecutor Sim Gill announced he would not charge the officers involved in the police shooting that killed Palacios-Carbajal. It also came shortly after family members of Palacios-Carbajal said they planned to file a civil lawsuit.

Efforts to disperse the crowds

Salt Lake City Police announced they would “disburse [sic] the group” after some protesters broke windows.

Shortly after the department sent out a tweet to that effect, reporters witnessed a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter circling the area. They could hear its loudspeaker announcing “Unlawful assembly. Leave the area.” 

The governor’s emergency declaration closes the state capitol and grounds to anyone other than state workers and officials. It also allows the state to assist local Salt Lake City authorities. 

Related coverage: 

This story will be updated. 

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Gov. declares state of emergency as protesters block traffic, paint street