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Salt Lake City mayor calls for peace after violent protests

Demonstrators in Salt Lake City have been protesting the police-involved killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI
Demonstrators in Salt Lake City have been protesting the police-involved killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo

July 10 (UPI) -- Salt Lake City's mayor called for peace ahead of expected protests Friday night, one day after protests turned violent.

Erin Mendenhall asked for demonstrators to be patient as a newly formed commission gets to work evaluating racial equity in policing and formulates changes to the police department in the wake of police brutality protests.

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"We aren't going to underestimate the potential of protests tonight, and I implore people to stop hurting people and to stop breaking things, because it's not affecting change whatsoever," she told the Deseret News.

Demonstrators gathered outside the offices of Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill on Thursday night to protest the office's findings that two police officers were justified in the May 23 shooting death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.

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Some demonstrators vandalized the building, breaking three windows and spreading gallons of red paint on the walls and steps. Officials said the demonstrators caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

A police officer sustained a leg injury and several protesters were arrested for "unlawful assembly," police Chief Mike Brown said.

Gill said that despite the vandalism, he wants to "encourage robust civic dialogue."

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"The vandalism of a few won't discourage or distract us from continuing our work in the community as we seek improvement, reform, understanding and respect throughout our community," he said.

Mendenhall said she doesn't plan to implement a citywide curfew, though Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

Anti-police and anti-racism brutality protests sprung up across the country -- and the globe -- in late May after the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The movement has spurred some police departments and cities to review law enforcement practices and implement new policies to work toward reducing racial bias.

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Protesters march for social justice

The Surrogate's Court building exterior remains vandalized while Occupy City Hall protests continue outside City Hall in New York City on June 30. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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