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Utah protesters mess up traffic, vow to fight police violence

Civil rights • About 200 gather in support of Ferguson, Mo., and Utah victims of police shootings.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down the westbound lane of 400 South, blocking traffic, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Before taking to the streets for an impromptu march, more than 200 protesters gathered Saturday afternoon in downtown Salt Lake City, threw their arms in the air and chanted, "Hands up. Don't shoot. Hands up. Don't shoot."

That chorus, of course, mirrors that of demonstrators in Ferguson, Mo., after the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an African-American shot dead by officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

A Missouri grand jury determined last week not to indict Wilson, whose resignation from the Ferguson force was announced Saturday.

Brown's death framed the Salt Lake City protest, which focused mostly on the recent shooting deaths of Darrien Hunt, 22, Dillon Taylor, 20, by police officers in Utah. In both cases the shootings were ruled justified.

After about 90 minutes of speeches outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, the crowd marched about three blocks down State Street in a demonstration not authorized by Salt Lake City authorities to the Matheson Courthouse at 450 S. State.

Marchers temporarily snarled traffic as they filed into auto lanes.

From the courthouse, the crowd headed east to the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building on 300 East.

With police directing traffic, the protesters made their way back to the federal building. No arrests were reported.

Before the march, a half-dozen speakers called for an end to police brutality, particularly against people of color.

At one point the crowd chanted, "Black lives matter. Black lives matter."

The protest was organized by a grass-roots organization called Utah Against Police Brutality.

Activist Gregory Lucero emboldened the crowd to stand up to authority.

"We have to recognize it's right to rebel against oppression," he said. "It's right to rebel against these killer cops."

He then led the demonstrators in a repetitious shout: "Dare to struggle. Dare to win. Never silent. Never again."

The crowd was well-behaved but passionate and packed placards with slogans such as, "No justice. No peace. No racist police."

Among the protesters was Salt Lake City resident Craig Plouin, who said police need better training.

"I'm concerned with the level of brutality that is going on and what that suggests about our society," he said. "It's going on right here in Salt Lake City and around the country."

Among the speakers was Marlee Kanosh, a Paiute Indian whose brother, Corey Kanosh, was shot to death by Millard County deputies in 2012.

Other speakers included Cindy Moss, the aunt of Darrien Hunt; and Gina Thayne, the aunt of Dillon Taylor.

Taylor was shot Aug. 11 by a Salt Lake City police officer outside a 7-Eleven store near 2100 South and State after a caller had alerted police to a man with a gun. Taylor had a hand in his pants. The officer in question said he believed Taylor had a gun and shot him. Taylor, it turned out, was not armed.

Hunt, who was biracial, was shot Sept 10 while running away from two Saratoga Springs police officers. Hunt was carrying a ceremonial sword. Officers testified they feared he might run into a store and hurt someone with the sword.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson told the crowd that police should be held accountable when they use deadly force. He also highlighted the West Valley City shooting death of Danielle Willard, 21, in November 2012. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill filed a felony count against former Detective Shaun Cowley in the Willard shooting. But a 3rd District judge dismissed the charge in October.

"The solutions are clear. Police officer training and policies must emphasize de-escalation," Anderson said. "Every community must put in place an independent police review board. The police cannot police themselves but the community can."

csmart@sltrib.com

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters gather in front of the Federal Building as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Gina Thayne, aunt of Dillon Taylor, speaks as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters gather in front of the Federal Building as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street, with police providing traffic control, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters hold their hands over their heads in front of the Matheson Courthouse as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters gather in front of the Matheson Courthouse as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters gather in front of the Matheson Courthouse as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters hold their hands over their heads in front of the Salt Lake City public safety building as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march, blocking traffic on State Street as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march, blocking traffic as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march, blocking traffic as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march, blocking traffic on 400 South as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Darrien Hunt's aunt, Cindy Moss, speaks about his shooting by police as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters hold their hands over their heads on front of the Matheson Courthouse as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down 200 South, halting traffic, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street, halting traffic, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune A protester approaches a police officer with a sign reading, "jail all killer cops" as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Protesters march down State Street, halting traffic, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Ernestine Kanosh holds a sign calling for justice in the Corey Kanosh case, as approximately 350 people turned out for a rally to protest police brutality in Salt Lake City, Saturday November 29, 2014.