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Both sides respond after protesters, police clash at Cottonwood Heights rally

Posted at 8:20 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 22:22:52-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Tempers continued to flare a day later over the outcome of Sunday night's protest in Cottonwood Heights.

Both sides — protesters and police — are claiming that the other was at fault for escalating the violence.

The protest was originally over the death of Zane James at the hands of Cottonwood Heights Police two years ago.

FOX 13 spoke with both police and the James family on Monday, who both pointed to the other as at fault.

“They wanted a confrontation with law enforcement. Unfortunately, it happened here in Cottonwood Heights. It’s not what we wanted," CHPD Lt. Dan Bartlett said.

"We have no problem with your guys' protest. We are happy to let you go through, just please let the cars go through," he said, directing his comments toward demonstrators. “I didn’t tell them to go away. I didn’t tell them they couldn’t be here. I didn’t tell them it was an unlawful assembly. I just simply said, ‘Please let the cars go by, step to the side.'”

The James family, their attorney Robert Sykes and protesters fired back, saying it was officers who were to blame.

“When we show up as a peaceful demonstration with music playing in the back of our car and pin wheels and squirt guns and there is a wall of helmets… it's pretty intimidating,” Aaron James said.

Aaron James is the father of Zane, and he was arrested himself during the protest.

“CHPD does not need to give me permission to drive down to the place where my son was shot,” he said, which was met with thunderous applause for everyone watching the interview.

To hear more of what both sides had to say, watch the video above.