CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Court considers whether police were justified in Palacios shooting

Jan 18, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:26 pm

A federal appeals court is considering whether officers violated Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal's const...

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal's mother Lucy Carbajal, left, sister Karina Palacios, brother Freddie Palacios and nephew Aiden Palacios pose for a photo in Lucy Carbajal’s home in Salt Lake City on June 24, 2021. Two Salt Lake police officers shot and killed an armed Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, on May 23, 2020. His family filed a lawsuit alleging that he didn’t pose a threat to Salt Lake police before they shot and killed him. (Annie Barker/Deseret News)

(Annie Barker/Deseret News)

DENVER — A federal appeals court is considering whether officers violated Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal’s constitutional rights when he was shot and killed in Salt Lake City in 2020.

U.S. District Judge David Barlow ruled on March 2, 2022, that Salt Lake police officers Neil Iversen and Kevin Fortuna, along with Chief Mike Brown, did not violate Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal’s civil rights in a fatal police shooting that prompted multiple protests.

The Palacios family appealed that ruling on March 31 and maintains that he was not a threat to police.

An attorney representing Palacios-Carbajal’s family and an attorney representing Salt Lake police officers presented arguments to judges on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday in Denver. A panel of judges with the 10th Circuit will issue a written decision determining whether the case will remain dismissed or be sent back to the District of Utah.

Background

About 2:10 a.m. on May 23, 2020, Salt Lake police officers responded to the area of 271 West 900 South on a report of a man threatening others with a gun. The first arriving officers spotted a man in the parking lot — later determined to be Palacios — who immediately ran from them.

After a short chase where Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal reportedly dropped and picked up his gun multiple times, police fired at him ultimately killing him. Iversen and Fortuna both said they saw Palacios, 22, point a gun at them while he was on the ground.

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Court considers whether police were justified in Palacios shooting