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Cops ESCAPE charges for shooting dead fleeing man, 22

Two Salt Lake City cops will not be disciplined or charged for fatally shooting a 22-year-old man in the back 34 times as he ran away because his killing ‘was justified’, authorities said Thursday.

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was gunned down by officers Neil Iversen and Kevin Fortuna outside Utah Village Motel in the early hours of May 23 after they responded to reports of a suspect ‘making threats with a weapon’.  

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Thursday the cops’ actions were ‘reasonable’ and ‘justified’ when they fired 34 rounds at the young man and that no criminal charges will be brought against them.  

Palacios-Carbajal’s killing sparked protests in the area with local residents and family members holding rallies demanding justice – calls which were amplified further after the Memorial day ‘murder’ of George Floyd by cops in Minneapolis. 

Palacios-Carbajal sustained '13 to 15 wounds' as a hail of bullets rained down on him when cops fired 34 rounds

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, (pictured) was gunned down by officers Neil Iversen and Kevin Fortuna outside Utah Village Motel in the early hours of May 23 after they responded to reports of a suspect ‘making threats with a weapon’

Gill announced the outcome of the investigation into the 22-year-old’s death in a press conference Thursday, where he said Iversen and Fortuna saw Palacios-Carbajal was armed and feared he would shoot them.  

The officers fired six to eight rounds initially, then saw Palacios-Carbajal try to raise his gun and so they fired at him again, Gill said.

The cops fired 34 rounds at Palacios-Carbajal in total, with the victim sustaining ’13 to 15 wounds’ as a hail of bullets rained down on him.

Gill added it was not possible to determine exactly how many bullets struck the young man.  

Footage shown at the conference revealed a gun resting on Palacios-Carbajal’s waist as he lay dead on the ground. 

Gill said under Utah law the use of deadly force by the cops was legally justified. 

The law states officers can use deadly force if ‘the suspect has committed a felony offense involving the infliction or threatened infliction of death or serious bodily injury,’ to ‘prevent the escape’ of a suspect or if ‘the suspect poses a threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to others,’ he said.    

‘In this case, it is justified under the statute,’ Gill said.  

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a press conference Thursday (pictured) the cops' actions were 'reasonable' and 'justified' when they fired 34 rounds at the young man and that no criminal charges will be brought against them

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a press conference Thursday (pictured) the cops’ actions were ‘reasonable’ and ‘justified’ when they fired 34 rounds at the young man and that no criminal charges will be brought against them

Palacios-Carbajal was killed just after 2 a.m. on May 23 when Salt Lake police were called out to reports of a suspect making ‘threats with a weapon’ and holding a gun to a victim’s head, police said back in June. 

Bodycam footage released by police in June showed the two cops arriving on the scene outside the Utah Village Motel and spotting a man – Palacios-Carbajal – immediately run from them across the parking lot.  

The cops went in pursuit of him on foot with their guns drawn, as one officer says over police radio that he is armed.   

‘He’s got a gun in his pocket. He’s reaching in his right…’ the cop is heard saying. 

Bodycam footage released by police in June showed the two cops arriving on the scene outside the Utah Village Motel and spotting a man - Palacios-Carbajal - immediately run from them across the parking lot

Bodycam footage released by police in June showed the two cops arriving on the scene outside the Utah Village Motel and spotting a man – Palacios-Carbajal – immediately run from them across the parking lot

The cops went in pursuit of him on foot with their guns drawn, as one officer says over police radio that the suspect is armed

The cops went in pursuit of him on foot with their guns drawn, as one officer says over police radio that the suspect is armed 

Palacios-Carbajal stumbles and falls before he gets up and falls again. One officer shouts to taser him but moments later a hail of gunfire rings out

Palacios-Carbajal stumbles and falls before he gets up and falls again. One officer shouts to taser him but moments later a hail of gunfire rings out

The chase continues into an alley and the cops are heard shouting ‘stop,’ ‘show me your hands’ or ‘drop it’ a total of 17 times. 

When they reach the parking lot of Granary Storage Palacios-Carbajal stumbles and falls before he gets up and falls again.  

One officer shouts to taser him but moments later a hail of gunfire rings out.  

Palacios-Carbajal’s family called for the officers to be charged over his killing, pointing out that he was running away when they shot him and that bodycam footage does not show him pointing a weapon during the chase.   

Protesters have been gathering almost daily demanding justice over his killing and flyers reading ‘Justice for Bernardo’ have been displayed all over the district attorney’s office.  

Several local officials also blasted the killing after viewing the bodycam footage.  

Peaceful protesters during a march on June 27 in Salt Lake City decrying the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. Palacios-Carbajal's family called for the officers to be charged over his killing, pointing out that he was running away when they shot him

Peaceful protesters during a march on June 27 in Salt Lake City decrying the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. Palacios-Carbajal’s family called for the officers to be charged over his killing, pointing out that he was running away when they shot him

Protesters have been gathering almost daily demanding justice over his killing and flyers reading 'Justice for Bernardo' have been displayed all over the district attorney's office

Protesters have been gathering almost daily demanding justice over his killing and flyers reading ‘Justice for Bernardo’ have been displayed all over the district attorney’s office

Lucy Carbajal, the 22-year-old's mother, is seen crying at a protest held for her son in June

Lucy Carbajal, the 22-year-old’s mother, is seen crying at a protest held for her son in June 

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall previously called the footage ‘genuinely disturbing and upsetting’ while Councilwoman Amy Fowler said she believed Palacios-Carbajal was ‘unlawfully killed’ by the officers. 

But Gill said the cops had fired at him after seeing him drop and pick up a gun several times.  

He added that the gun recovered from the dead man was fully loaded and a round was in the chamber.

However, although Gill ruled the killing was legally justified, he is calling for police use of force laws to be changed and vowed to put forward police reforms.

A staggering 92 percent of police shootings in Utah since 2010 have been ruled to be legally justified, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis.

This comes as calls are mounting for police reforms nationwide in the wake of Floyd’s death and as shocking footage has shown multiple instances of police brutality and racism during arrests.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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