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Downtown SLC protest turns violent: National Guard called, Mayor issues curfew

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Hundreds gather downtown Salt Lake City to protest nationwide police brutality. (Photo: Randy Likness/ KUTV)

UPDATE (9 p.m.) – Chief Brown and Mayor Mendenhall give their second public statements about how police will move forward into the night.

One officer was hit in the head with a baseball bat by a demonstrator, Chief Brown said. Six individuals arrests so far. Two others were taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion and six others were treated by firefighters for heat exhaustion.

We will continue with our efforts and we feel like we have a plan and the resource to do what we need to do. We hope we don't have to use force or make arrests. Please volunteer go home and let's sit down another time and place to talk.

UPDATE (7:30 p.m.) – Armed officers are protecting the entrances to City Creek Center. The glass doors are cracked as looters attempted to break into the mall during the civil unrest. There are also reports the Apple Store was targeted before National Guard and other armed forces were deployed to downtown Salt Lake City.

UPDATE (7:15 p.m.) – Man with bow and arrow was attacked by protesters and is believed to be the owner of the second vehicle burned. Witnesses say the man was going to attack the public with the weapon.

UPDATE - (6:20 p.m.) – Another car is on fire as vandalism continues downtown with a second vehicle to be flipped, looted, and ignited. In Mayor Mendenhall's statement, she clarified the curfew starts tonight at 8 p.m. and will last until Monday morning at 6 a.m.

UPDATE - (5:40 p.m.) – An 8 p.m. curfew has been announced for Salt Lake City by Erin Mendenhall.

UPDATE - (5:15 p.m. ) – Gov. Gary Herbert will active the National Guard to help control the situation downtown. He denounced the violence and looting seen in downtown via Twitter.

UPDATE - (5 p.m.) – Officers are lined up on the steps of The Capitol making a wall as more protesters collect in the area.

The government building has been vandalized: "Blue live murder, black live matter."

Police armed with riot gear were seen lined up near the library, close to where the police cop car was burned.

UPDATE - (4:15 p.m.) – Salt Lake City Police Department has asked the public to stay out of the downtown area due to the civil unrest.

UPDATE - (3 p.m.) – At least 50 police vehicles dispatched from across the city were seen racing downtown off the freeway. A police vehicle was flipped in the middle of the street near 400 South and 200 East. Before it caught fire, protesters were seen smashing the car's windows and vandalizing it.

Citizens with rifles were reported to have shown up to the protest. Person to person violence was not reported to be an issue.

UPDATE – (1 p.m.) – Vandals took to the walls of the Salt Lake Police Department station.

"No justice, no peace" and "We can't breathe" and "F*** the police" were seen written on the exterior walls with smashed eggs found against the windows. Protesters also gathered at the capitol.

(KUTV) – Utah against Police Brutality planned a peaceful protest called "Car Caravan For Justice" which assembled in downtown Salt Lake City at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Nearly 2,000 people showed up on foot as they gathered nearly the Salt Lake City Library and Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) station, according to 2News personnel at the protest.

The Facebook page dedicated to the cause describes itself as a "community organization dedicated to ending all forms of police violence in the state of Utah." More that 1,300 people said they would be attending the event with another 1,100 interested.

In compliance with local health recommendations, the protest said they would not interfere with social distancing guidelines. Protesters should stay in their cars as the caravan will go around the SLCPD station and the surrounding areas. It appears those recommendations were scrapped as nearly 1,000 are seen on foot assembling on the two square blocks that contain the library and police station.

Utah against Police Brutality explanation for the protest is detailed on their Facebook as the following:

  • We discourage anyone from participating in this demonstration unless they are in a vehicle.
  • The importance of this call made clear by the continued brutal police killings over the past week, throughout Utah and the US.
  • We demand that killer cops be fired, charged, and jailed for their crimes
  • We demand the body footage of the police killings of Bernardo Palacios in SLC, last weekend
  • We demand justice for George Floyd, killed in Minneapolis on Monday
  • We demand the release of all torture victims in Chicago, and everywhere
  • We demand that police stop filling the jails with non-violent offenders during a global pandemic
  • We demand that incarcerated people at increased risk of Covid-19 be released immediately
  • We demand Community Control Now!

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall tweeted Saturday morning about nationwide police brutality issues. She shared a four page document, addressed to residents, ensuring local police officers' mission is to "preserve life and protect human rights." The letter was cosigned by The Salt Lake City council and SLCPD Chief Mike Brown. Additionally, the documents covers four main topics: Use of force, Training, Accountability, and Community Relationships.