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Police car destroyed in Salt Lake City as protest turns violent
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UPDATE: SLC Mayor issues curfew, Gov. Herbert activates National Guard after protests turn violent

Photo credit: Kevin LaRue, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued an 8 p.m. curfew for the city Saturday, after violent protests broke out in response to the death of George Floyd. This curfew will remain in effect until Monday 6 a.m.

The curfew will prohibit residents from gathering in public areas with some exceptions: 

 

SLCPD Chief Mike Brown said the police department will enforce this curfew and will extend it if necessary, he said during an emergency press conference Saturday. 

“I’m pleading with you to clear the city,” Brown said. 

This comes less than an hour after Gov. Gary Herbert has activated the National Guard in response to riots and protests in downtown Salt Lake City. 

What started as a peaceful protest turned violent earlier Saturday afternoon, resulting in protesters breaking Library Square Trax station windows and looting a nearby 7-Eleven. 

Police responded in riot gear with reports of tear gas being unleashed toward crowds near the SLCPD headquarters. 

 

Earlier updates: 

A police car has been destroyed and multiple buildings spray-painted with graffiti as protests became chaotic Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

Protesters gathered today in downtown Salt Lake City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer was seen on video kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis.

Police car destroyed

The protest has escalated from peaceful chanting to property damage. A police car has been completely destroyed and there is broken glass all over 400 South and 200 East in Salt Lake City. 

KSL reporter Paul Nelson was on the scene and captured it in a Livestream to Facebook.

Nelson shared photos of the burning police cruiser on Twitter. Reporters on the scene did not observe any attempt to put out the flames. Nelson also witnessed damage to a Utah Transit Authority Trax station near 400 S. 200 E.

KSL’s Kelli Pierce also shared live video from the scene.

Vandalism and other damage

Witnesses reported damage to the state capitol building and grounds as well, and protest activity meant UTA temporarily stopped servicing the immediate area. 

Someone spray painted other vehicles and buildings in the area as well. Some of those vehicles could be seen on their sides. 

By late Saturday afternoon, Salt Lake City police asked residents to stay away from the downtown area because of “civil unrest.” 

Moving to the Capitol 

Protesters eventually moved from the area around Library Square toward the state capitol, where Utah Highway Patrol troopers formed a line, apparently to prevent the crowd from breaking into the building. 


Late Saturday, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement condemning the death of George Floyd in Minnesota while also asking for Utah residents to exercise their free speech rights peacefully. 

We are in close contact with our department of public safety and receiving regular updates. Our hearts break for the family of George Floyd and for his unnecessary death. We are grateful for the swift actions taken by the state of Minnesota to hold those responsible for his death accountable. We can not, however, condone violence, defacement of public buildings, and destruction of property. We call upon the good people of Utah to engage civilly and to act peaceably as they seek to exercise their First Amendment rights.

This is a developing story and will be updated.