Salt Lake City Police killed 22-year-old Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal a few days before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. So, Palacios-Carbajal’s name has become part of the rallying cry of Utah protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Lorena Burciaga is a friend of the Palacios-Carbajal family. On Saturday, she stood in the middle of the street outside Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s office. Burciaga addressed a crowd of people holding signs that read “Justice for Bernardo” and “Black Lives Matter.”
“Bernardo was a good kid, with bad things and good things,” Burciaga said. “He had a lot of dreams.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department released body cam footage from the shooting death of Palacios-Carbajal on June 5.
Police responded to a May 23 call about a man making threats with a gun at a motel downtown. Officers fired more than 20 shots at Palacios-Carbajal, killing him as he ran away.
Sofia Alcala, a spokesperson for his family, said they have a number of demands.
They want the release of all unedited video from police body cameras, as well as from traffic cameras and security cameras from businesses in the area. They want the names and pictures of the officers involved in the shooting and any records of misconduct by the officers. They also want the autopsy report released.
Additionally, Alcala said they want the officers fired and charged.
“We want to see them in prison,” Alcala said. “We want to see them held accountable for what they did that night.”
Gill said the Unified Police Department has conducted an independent investigation of the case. Now, it’s up to his office to verify the findings and fill in any blanks. They’ve requested any additional information Salt Lake City police may have, like camera footage or comments from other law enforcement officers who were at the scene.
Gill said it’s an extensive process, but he understands the urgency of the matter.
“We’re not going to take a day longer than we need to, regardless of whatever the outcome may be,” he said.
He said he supports the protesters. But if they want change, Gill said they should lobby lawmakers. He cites the ban on chokeholds the state Legislature recently passed.
“Those statutory changes do impact behavior, they do impact the process and law enforcement will rise to that level,” Gill said. “But only if we are willing to create the laws that are necessary.”
Palacios-Carbajal’s family and their supporters said they’ll be outside the DA’s office protesting every day until the report is released. Gill said it’ll be finished in about two weeks.