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Lawsuit accuses security guards of racial profiling in 2019 incident in Library Square

Posted at 8:35 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 22:35:48-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - A man has filed a civil rights lawsuit against several people and organizations in Salt Lake because of an incident that happened on April 15, 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that 58-year-old Anthony Nelson, who is African American, was walking through Library Square outside of the SLC City Library when he witnessed two women fighting.

His lawyer, Kathleen McConkie, tells us “security guards were called and [Nelson] still remained outside… And he tried to explain to the security guards what he had seen.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday evening outlines what they say happened next.

“Because he was black and one of the women was also black [the security guards thought] he had somehow been involved,” McConkie told FOX 13.

In a release they detail the event:

“One of the guards told Nelson that because he was black and the suspected perpetrator of the attack was also black, he must be somehow involved with the suspect. When Nelson explained that he had nothing to do with the argument and did not know the women, one of the guards, ________, began striking Nelson in the face with a closed fist. The other guard______, then struck Nelson on the back of his head with his baton. Nelson, who was unarmed, fell to the cement where the guards zip-tied his hands behind his back. Then, in behavior eerily similar to the actions that ended the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis and continue to cause nation-wide protests, one of the guards “kneed” Nelson on his neck causing him to struggle to breathe. The other guard kicked Nelson.” (note names of CBI officers have been removed)

Nelson received an injury to his eye during the incident and said he has suffered from headaches ever since.

“He’s had some neurological problems because of that he was kicked in the head and his eye was damaged and he’s never received his full sight from his eye…” McConkie said, “He lost his job as a result of that because he was hurt.”

Shortly after police arrived, they told the two security guards to release Nelson and offered him medical attention.

But Nelson, according to the lawsuit, refused their help because “… At that point, Nelson did not trust the Police or Fire Department to transport him to the nearest hospital for treatment. Traumatized by the experience of being attacked by individuals in authority whose duty it was to protect citizens.”

“And he has that fear still he has a fear” Lucas Adams, another Attorney for Anthony Nelson told FOX 13. “He still has a fear that if you walked outside someone’s going to hurt him.”

They are seeking monetary damages in this case but also are seeking an apology because as Adams told us “There has been no apology rendered.”

Named in this case are CBI security, the two security guards by name, Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Public Library, Library administration and others.

CBI security that employees the guards did not wish to comment when reached out to by crews of FOX 13.

But for his lawyers, they expressed that racial injustice was their primary reason for relentlessly pursuing this case.

“It’s important that people of Utah realize it’s happening here it’s happening at our home to people we know it’s not just a problem that’s in Minnesota or Chicago.” Adams said, “This is a real issue that we can’t ignore anymore.”