Utah Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Violent Demonstrations

July 10, 2020 Updated: July 10, 2020

The governor of Utah declared a state of emergency following ongoing protests around Salt Lake City.

Gov. Gary Herbert cited “civil unrest” for the declaration late on Thursday, according to his order.

The order stipulated that recent demonstrations “have become violent,” and rioters have injured people and destroyed both private and public property.

It means that the governor’s office can now use “all available resources of the state government” to deal with the state of emergency, according to the order. The Utah State Capitol building will now be closed to anyone other than officials.

Protesters flooded the streets of the capital city following a ruling that police-involved killing Bernardo Palacios Carbajal in May was justified.

The mayor of Salt Lake City said the killing of Carbajal was justified under state law.

“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,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, a Democrat, said in a statement about the move. “This evidence shows that our officers acted according to their training and the state law regarding use of lethal force.”

She added: “I know that for some, today’s decision does not feel like justice. It has become increasingly apparent in our city and across the nation that there is a difference between what so many feel is morally correct, and what is considered appropriate and justified under the law.”

Palacios was shot after officers responded to a report of a person making “threats with a weapon” on May 23, KSL reported. Palacios died after being shot between 13 and 15 times, the station reported.

The Salt Lake City Police Department wrote that protesters broke windows at the district attorney’s office, which prompted police to declare their demonstration unlawful.

“Be aware that we don’t know where else they may march. Please avoid the downtown area tonight. 500 S is currently closed between State and Main,” the department wrote on Thursday evening. “Due to the protesters breaking windows at the District Attorney’s building, SLCPD will announce the demonstration is an unlawful gathering. Police will now disburse the group,” it added.

Herbert’s order will stay in effect until Monday at 11:59 p.m. local time.