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West Valley City protest on Wednesday night turns unruly

Protesters walk around after their demonstration at the West Valley City Police Department was disrupted by counterprotesters on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. ©Scott G Winterton/Deseret News 2020

WEST VALLEY CITY, UT  —  What started out as a peaceful protest of West Valley City police involvement in the death of Damien Evans became unruly Wednesday night after a confrontation between two groups of protesters.  Lt. Steve Burke says it started around 6 p.m. when words were exchanged.

“It appears that there were some words exchanged. At some point, somebody had sprayed multiple people with some sort of aerosol,” Lt. Burke said.  

Burke said it is possible that the aerosol was pepper spray, but there were no significant injuries.  One person was treated for a minor wrist injury, and no one has been charged.  

Before any charges are pursued, Burke said, investigators say they want a full, accurate and complete investigation.

“Obviously we want to make sure and do it right, so we’re going to be meticulous about our investigation,” according to Burke.

Police say there were about 50 people gathered at the West Valley City police headquarters.  Damien Evans was shot by West Valley City police on August 28th.  Burke believes one of the groups gathered on Wednesday night was related to Black Lives Matter. 

Burke says officers stood down until things got tense.  He says it is possible that assault charges could be forthcoming, but not before a thorough investigation is complete.