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Salt Lake DA: Protesters won’t face curfew charges

Some of the protesters charged with violating Salt Lake City's curfew will not be prosecuted. (Exterior of the SLCO District Attorney's Office. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Some of the protesters charged with violating Salt Lake City’s curfew during protests in late May will not be prosecuted. The news comes after the FBI in Salt Lake City continues to pursue individuals associated with flipping and igniting a police cruiser.

DA can’t justify curfew charges

Around three dozen people were initially arrested for not leaving the Library Square area when protests turned into rioting downtown. Specifically, they were arrested for breaking a curfew set by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Thursday those protesters will not be facing any curfew charges.

“That is a group that has a political message, which is constitutionally protected,” he explains. “And they are free to express that. Let’s focus and target those individuals that violated the law in a direct way, in a confrontational way, which led to injury or damage of property.”

One of the other factors he highlights is that some, if not most of the protesters out late, were not aware that a curfew was in place.

“This is what I think justice is,” explains Gill. “Justice is a measured approach. It’s a balanced approach.”

Free pass? Think again

While these protesters may be escaping prosecution, it’s by no means a “get out of jail free” card to future lawbreakers.

“In no way should this be taken as a license for any future action and in no way should it be taken as a usurpation of the mayor’s authority,” says Gill.

The FBI in Salt Lake City is currently offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of two people who allegedly helped burn a Salt Lake police car during the May 30 protest. A total of nine people have already been charged in state court in connection with the police car incident.