Man who drew bow and arrow on Salt Lake City protesters pleads guilty

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brandon McCormick shouts at protesters after he was beaten up for allegedly brandishing a bow and arrow, after driving his car into the crowd, Saturday, May 30, 2020.

The man who drew a bow and arrow on Salt Lake City protesters in May pleaded guilty Monday to two charges in connection to the confrontation.

Brandon McCormick, 58, admitted to possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and aggravated assault. Both are third-degree felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

He is expected to be sentenced Nov. 2.

Hundreds of people gathered near Salt Lake City Hall and the downtown library May 30 to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and against racism and police violence. McCormick was also there, and at one point parked his car in front of the library — on a corner where many demonstrators had gathered.

In a video posted online, McCormick responded to a stranger who asked him if he calls himself an American by saying: “Yes, I’m American. All lives matter.”

A bystander named Reggie Wilson testified at McCormick’s preliminary hearing that he told McCormick to leave because he was “aggravating the situation.”

But Wilson said McCormick wouldn’t leave — and instead he pulled a compound bow from his vehicle after two protesters hit him. He continued to threaten the crowd, Wilson testified, yelling racial slurs and threatening to fire arrows at them.

“I felt that he was a threat,” Wilson recalled. “I thought he was a threat from the minute I started hearing his voice. Just his actions. He was very threatening.”

Wilson said he honked his horn to get the attention of police — and McCormick was pulled from the melee by officers as the crowd responded by attacking him and flipping his car. McCormick’s vehicle was also burned.

McCormick was not arrested that day, but prosecutors later charged him with four crimes. Two charges, a second count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and a misdemeanor charge of using a dangerous weapon in a fight, were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

McCormick has been sentenced to prison seven times, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The first was in 1989, when he was convicted of first-degree burglary in San Bernardino County and was sentenced to six years. He was paroled in April 1992 but returned to prison twice that year for parole violations.

The next 22 years brought a cycle of bouncing in and out of California prisons on parole violations along with a mix of new convictions.

McCormick was last in a California prison in 2014. In all, he served 18½ years in penitentiaries.

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