Utah governor declares state of emergency during protests over ruling that fatal police shooting was justified

The governor of Utah has declared a state of emergency in response to protests in Salt Lake City.

The protests began hours after the Salt Lake County District Attorney announced that the fatal police shooting of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal in May was justified.

Protesters gathered outside the district attorney’s office and caused damage to the building Thursday evening, police said.

Police said earlier that a group of protesters were marching on 500 S., disrupting traffic in the downtown area.

The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a tweet, “Due to the protesters breaking windows at the District Attorney’s building, SLCPD will announce the demonstration is an unlawful gathering…”

Police said that protesters had used pepper spray on their officers. At least one officer was injured and taken to a hospital.

At least two protesters were arrested, police said.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman Brooke Scheffler tells CNN the state of emergency “will remain in effect until July 13, at 11:59 p.m.”

Palacios was shot after officers responded to a report of someone making “threats with a weapon” on May 23, according to CNN affiliate KSL. Police fired 34 shots and Palacios had 13 to 15 wounds, the affiliate reported.

Salt Lake County Sam Gill said in a statement, “After conducting an Officer Involved Critical Incident (OICI) review, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the May 23, 2020 use of deadly force by the SLCPD Officers does not warrant criminal charges…”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall acknowledged that some may feel that the decision means justice was not served.

“In the case of the Salt Lake City Officer Involved Critical Incident that resulted in the death of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal, District Attorney Sim Gill’s findings provide significant evidence of the justifiable actions of Salt Lake City police officers,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “This evidence shows that our officers acted according to their training and the state law regarding use of lethal force. They acted quickly and methodically in a very difficult situation to stop what they perceived as a deadly threat, which is exactly what we ask of them and what we expect them to do to protect our city, every day.”

*story by CNN