The mural started with George Floyd, the Black man whose slow death was captured on camera as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The video catalyzed a movement against police violence, inspiring marches and mass demonstrations across the U.S. and near-daily protests in Salt Lake City, despite a deadly pandemic.
It also brought together a group of anonymous artists who painted an image of Floyd’s face, in pink and red hues, on the fleet building at the corner of 800 South and 300 West, where Salt Lake City stores official vehicles.
Artists then added Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, fatally shot May 23 by Salt Lake City police, and have continued to memorialize some of the other Utahns killed by police. Their goal is for people to remember these names and to see them as human beings, beyond any interactions they had with police. Here are the people behind those portraits:
Family and friends have described Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, as an artist, someone who cared about his community and was vocal about injustice and police violence. He was beloved by family, especially his young niece and nephew. The 3-year-old nephew tells his mother he can still see Palacios-Carbajal and talks to him.
“So, we know he’s here right now,” said Alysha Perez, Palacios-Carbajal’s sister-in-law. “We know that he feels us. We know that he knows we’re supporting him.”
Killed: May 23, 2020
What happened: Salt Lake City police were called to a hotel near 300 W. 900 South on a report of an armed robbery. They found Palacios-Carbajal there and told him to show his hands. He ran, and police chased him for blocks. They continued yelling at Palacios-Carbajal to “drop it” or show his hands, and he stumbled repeatedly, dropping a gun he was carrying and picking it back up each time. Police fired at him more than 30 times.
His death, two days before Floyd’s, has spurred ongoing protests in Salt Lake City, where protesters marched and painted the street outside the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office red to demand charges for the involved officers. After prosecutors announced Thursday those police would not be charged, protesters came out again, painting the street red and breaking out three windows at the district attorney’s office.
Outcome: Ruled legally justified by Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office
At his funeral, a friend remembered Darrien Hunt as a gentle soul who felt the hurt in the world so acutely that his goal in life was to heal it. Hunt, 22, was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who loved music and enjoyed time outdoors, his friends said.
Killed: Sept. 10, 2014
What happened: Two people called 911 to report a man walking with a sword. Saratoga Springs police found Hunt standing near a convenience store near Redwood Road and State Road 73. Hunt told the officer he needed a ride to Orem. Cpl. Matt Schauerhamer said he’d give him a ride, but said Hunt couldn’t bring the samurai-style sword strapped to his back with him inside the patrol car. Schauerhamer later said that Hunt got violent after that, and didn’t want to give up the sword. Schauerhamer and others at the scene said that Hunt unsheathed the sword and swung it Schauerhamer. Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson fired at Hunt, who ran away. Schauerhamer followed, ultimately shooting Hunt six times in the back, killing him.
Hunt’s mother, Susan, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Saratoga Springs, alleging police killed him, in part, because Hunt was black. It resulted in a $900,000 settlement and a gag order, which Susan Hunt has tried to get thrown out.
Outcome: Ruled justified by the Utah County Attorney’s Office
In his obituary, family described 20-year-old Dillon Taylor as always joking, the type of person whose infectious smile would “literally light up a room” and who could “pick you up on your lowest days.” In the days before his death, when a warrant for his arrest was issued, Taylor expressed a sense of doom about the idea of going back to jail.
Killed: Aug. 11, 2014
What happened: Police were called to a 7-Eleven near 2100 South and State Street in Salt Lake City for a report of a person with a gun and saw Taylor outside. Officers approached Taylor, guns drawn, and Officer Bron Cruz shot Taylor after Taylor did not respond to Cruz’ orders to put his hands up and instead reached into his pants and lifted his shirt. Taylor was not armed and was wearing earbuds when he was shot. Taylor’s family has said he likely was listening to music and could not hear the officer’s orders.
Taylor’s brother and cousin reached an $85,000 settlement with police because they were detained for several hours during and after the shooting. A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Taylor’s family was dismissed in May 2019.
Killed two days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Taylor’s death sparked protests in Salt Lake City.
Bryan Pena Valencia
Bryan Pena Valencia was described as ambitious and charismatic. Those who “were lucky enough to ever cross paths with him” knew his contagious humor, according to a fundraiser for his funeral. He left behind a young son.
Killed: March 21, 2020
What happened: Unified police were called to investigate a report of shots fired near the 6000 block of S. 3200 West. They saw a car and tried to stop it, but the motorist kept driving. The car crashed soon after, and the driver, Bryan Pena Valencia, got out of the car and tried to run away. Details are scant on what happened next, but police followed and later shot and killed him after a confrontation in a vacant home’s backyard.
Outcome: Under review by Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office
Michael Chad Breinholt
At the time he was killed, Michael Chad Breinholt was taking classes to become a musical therapist, according to his obituary. He loved music and could play many instruments. He had a big heart, a quick wit and could be the life of a party.
“Those who never knew Chad, or only briefly knew him, may only have seen the challenges he faced in life; but those who had the privilege of truly knowing Chad can only speak to the good-natured character of his soul,” his obituary said.
Killed: Aug. 23, 2019
What happened: West Valley City police were booking Breinholt into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence when he, with his hands cuffed behind his back, grabbed an officer’s gun during a struggle with in a small processing area. One of the officers is heard saying, “You are about to die, my friend” just before Breinholt was shot at point-blank range by police.
Outcome: Under review by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office
Family members called Danielle Willard “Dee Dee.” She had a “gorgeous smile” and a passion for photography. She initially moved to Utah from Washington to stay in a rehabilitation center, and her mother, Melissa Kennedy, urged the 21-year-old to stay in the state, thinking she’d be safer here. Despite Willard’s struggles with addiction, her family has said, she was generally happy.
Killed: Nov. 2, 2012
What happened: Two West Valley City officers approached Willard, who was sitting in a parked car. Narcotics detective Shaun Cowley and partner Kevin Salmon later said they suspected Willard had bought drugs. Willard tried to leave the lot, and backed up. Both officers fired on her as she reversed, later saying they feared being hit by the car, but others argued the officers weren’t in danger.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the shooting was unjustified and charged Cowley with manslaughter. After a preliminary hearing, a judge threw out the charge. Cowley was fired for allegedly mishandling evidence in drug cases, but was reinstated with back pay in 2015 after the city did not fight his appeal. Cowley resigned soon after.
Willard’s family received $1.4 million in a settlement with the city in 2015. In the course of reviewing the shooting, investigators discovered systemic problems in the department’s drug unit, leading county and federal prosecutors to dismiss more than 100 drug cases.
Just before his death, 50-year-old Patrick Harmon had “found renewed spirituality” and had reconnected with his son and daughter, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of his family. It added that although he “did not lead a perfect life,” he still “deserved the opportunity to grow with grace.” A friend described him as a nice man who looked “nerdy” and had a “big, belly laugh.” He wanted a job helping people with drug addiction, something he, too, struggled with, she said.
Killed: Aug. 13, 2017
Warning: This video contains graphic content.
What happened: Police stopped Harmon for riding his bike across State Street in Salt Lake City without lights. When asked for his name, Harmon first gave a few fake ones, then said there was likely a felony warrant for his arrest. Harmon put his hands behind his back to be cuffed, then took off running. Police say Harmon then turned and pulled out a knife and threatened to stab Officer Clinton Fox, though none of that can be seen on body camera footage. From the moment Harmon runs to when Fox fires the first of three shots, about 5 seconds pass. A knife was found near Harmon’s body.
The Salt Lake County District’s Attorney’s Office asked the FBI to look into the shooting and to review prosecutors’ conclusion not to charge Fox, a decision that spurred protests. An FBI spokeswoman told The Tribune she couldn’t comment, saying, “Per policy, we can’t confirm or deny the existence of investigations.”
Harmon’s children have sued Salt Lake City in federal court, alleging that their father’s race “was a substantial motivating factor” in the shooting. Attorneys for Salt Lake City and Fox have asked a judge to dismiss it.
At age 3, Cindreia Europe learned to read, her mother, LaToya Mack said. Europe always excelled academically and had a special interest in science and engineering. But looking back, Mack said, it’s clear her daughter was struggling at home. In 2017, Europe left her Georgia home without a word to her mother and, eventually, arrived in Utah. She spent her days reading and writing, tutoring kids and working at a rehabilitation center. At night, she slept in her car.
As far as Mack knows, her daughter didn’t have any substance abuse issues or a criminal history. She was “just making her way.”
Killed: March 5, 2019
What happened: Europe’s car was impounded from the lot where she normally slept. One night, someone called police to report a person was lying down in that lot near 3300 S. 2300 East in Millcreek. A Unified police officer, Megan Franklin, responded and ran over Europe in the parking lot. Disciplinary records show Franklin had a history of poor driving, and Europe’s family have sued UPD and Franklin.
Outcome: Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said it couldn’t file charges in the case
Bobby Ray Duckworth
Bobby Ray Duckworth, 26, had a big family and his relatives all loved him very much, his obituary said. He loved them back; family was important to him, it said.
Duckworth also loved the outdoors, especially fishing, camping and riding four-wheelers. He hunted when he was younger, but preferred to just search for antler sheds as he got older.
“Bobby left us much too soon with his many dreams and aspirations never to be told or realized,” it says.
Killed: Sept. 10, 2019
What happened: Someone called police to report a suicidal man near railroad tracks in Wellington. An officer, identified only as Safley, found Duckworth in a field near a fishing pond and the tracks. Duckworth had two knives. Safley tried talking to Duckworth, asking him to drop the knives, body camera footage showed. He said at one point, “I’m not going to shoot you, if that’s what you want. That’s the last thing we want to do, brother. We want to help you.”
About a minute after that, Duckworth began walking toward Safley, climbing through brush with one of the knives in his hand. Safley told him to drop the knife, adding that he will shoot him, but doesn’t want to. Duckworth kept walking, and Safley fatally shot him. About 30 seconds passed from the time Duckworth started walking toward the officer to when Safley shoots him.
Outcome: Ruled justified by the Carbon County Attorney’s Office
Zane James, 19, was on his way to a professional hockey career when he got yet another concussion and doctors told him he shouldn’t play any more, due to the risk of even more severe head trauma, his family said. The teenager was forced to reevaluate his life path at the time when he was being given opioids to treat pain. He became addicted — a revelation that deeply disturbed him, his family has said — and later switched to heroin. James tried to beat the illness multiple times.
Shot: May 29, 2018, and died three days later in a hospital.
What happened: Police were searching for someone who had robbed a store in Sandy with an Airsoft gun. Cottonwood Heights officer Casey Davies, who was off duty, heard a radio dispatch about the robbery, and Davies and another officer decided to pursue James, who fit the suspect’s description and also was riding a motorcycle. James also matched the description of the suspect in another armed robbery from earlier that day.
James crashed his motorcycle turning onto a residential street and slid with it until it stopped. He got up to run, and was “limping seriously,” according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of his parents. Davies shot James in the back after James didn’t show his hands. He ended up paralyzed from the neck down and died three days later in a hospital.
On the day he was killed, Allen Nelson was four days out of jail. Family said the 44-year-old was generally happy and had no known health problems. After his release, he talked about turning his life around.
Killed: June 9, 2012
What happened: Nelson died in police custody after he was pulled over near his uncle’s apartment complex. Police have said someone called them reporting a disturbance. A neighbor said there wasn’t anything happening at the complex when Nelson was pulled over on his bike, and suspected police stopped him because they thought he had stolen it.
Police said they handcuffed Nelson and planned to take him to jail on suspicion of creating a disturbance, but Nelson became agitated and struggled, so they forced him to the ground. The officers noticed Nelson was struggling to breathe and sat Nelson upright, but he stopped breathing when the ambulance arrived and died at the scene.
Outcome: Since Allen’s death wasn’t considered an officer-involved critical incident, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office didn’t investigate the officers’ conduct. Utah law was later changed and the incident would now be reviewed.
Marvin Oliveros described his brother, Cody Belgard, as a “teddy bear,” not quick to anger. The 30-year-old was quiet, a musician who used the name See Smoke, and used rhymes and raps to express himself.
Belgard knew life was precious, a family member said, and never missed the chance to give a loved one a hug.
Killed: Nov. 9, 2018
What happened: Salt Lake City police came into contact with Belgard because they’d been tracking the car he was driving — but looking for someone else. They confronted Belgard and his girlfriend in a parking lot. Belgard allegedly backed a vehicle into a police car and drove away from officers instead of getting out of the car.
Police used a GPS locator on the car to track Belgard to near 800 N. Sir Philip Dr. Officers ordered Belgard to drop to the ground. The grainy video footage appears to show Belgard turning away from police, and Gill said the officers saw him reaching into his clothing and surmised that he was grabbing for a gun. Belgard didn’t have a gun. Family believes what police thought was a firearm was a cellphone.
Belgard’s death prompted demonstrations in Salt Lake City as family and friends demanded accountability in his death. Protesters at one point occupied Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office for tour hours, demanding a meeting.
Outcome: Ruled justified by Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.