Protesters rally against police brutality outside Capitol — and then take to the streets

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Protesters march the streets of downtown Salt Lake City as they congregate at 800 South, 300 West by the mural of George Floyd and other people killed in Utah by police as they rally against police brutality on Friday, June 26, 2020.

At first, about 100 people gathered at the Capitol on Friday evening as part of ongoing demonstrations against police brutality in Salt Lake City.

But by night fall, the crowd had grown by a few hundred more, even after marching the nearly 3 miles from the Capitol grounds to the memorial for 22-year-old Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal near 300 West and 900 South. Palacios-Carbajal was killed by Salt Lake City police as he ran from them on May 23.

Friday was the most recent in a series of ongoing protests in Salt Lake City, where people have been gathering to demonstrate against racism and brutality in policing nearly everyday since May 29.

Before they took to the streets Friday, protesters gathered near the road on the south side of the Capitol, holding signs that said, “Racism is the pandemic” and “No justice, no peace.” That was about 6 p.m.

Some stuck signs onto the stone facade near the steps leading to the Capitol grounds — and then removed them before beginning their march about two hours later.

And by sunset — just before 10 p.m. — they were still out in force, chanting and dancing to music at Palacios-Carbajal’s memorial.

Some organizations that had been demonstrating to demand information and accountability in Palacios-Carbajal’s death stayed home Friday evening to rest and prepare for Saturday’s all-day planned demonstrations, but that didn’t stop others from gathering.

Also on Friday, six state legislators, who identify as racial or ethnic minorities, sent a letter to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, calling for him “to be forthcoming and timely with information” about the Palacios-Carbajal case, which they called alarming and said raises questions.

“Protesters have peacefully gathered regularly over the last several weeks calling for answers,” the letter reads. “We join their calls but do so without prejudgment or bias. Rather, we do so in the name of providing closure so that we may take collective, concrete steps to prevent future replays of this all-too-familiar pattern.”

Gill has said he plans to finish and release his review within the next few weeks.

Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City; Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay; Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City; Rep. Karen Kwan, D-Murray; Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City; and Rep. Mark A. Wheatley, D-Murray, signed the letter.