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Palacios family lawsuit against Salt Lake City police dismissed

Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 19:35:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A lawsuit filed by the family of a man shot by Salt Lake City police in 2020 was dismissed Thursday by a federal judge.

The family of Bernardo Palacios filed the civil lawsuit in Sept. 2020, months after he was killed while running away from officers who were responding to the report of an armed robbery.

Judge David Barlow dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the family cannot refile the same claim.

After originally reviewing the shooting, Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill and the Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board ruled the use of deadly force by police was justified.

Police were dispatched to the Utah Village Motel at 2 a.m. on May 23 after receiving a report of a man who had pointed a gun at people. Once they arrived, officers located Palacios, who police say ran, leading a foot pursuit with three officers.

During an investigation, an SLCPD captain said officers gave multiple verbal commands for him to stop, show his hands and to "drop the gun." One officer said over the radio that Palacios had a gun in his pocket and was reaching toward his waistband during the chase. Gill said police body cam video showed Palacios stopping to pick up a gun after dropping it on the floor three times.

Gill said the officers told him they believed Palacios was going to shoot.

"We asked them pointedly, 'Did you see the gun being oriented towards you?'" Gill said during a press briefing in July 2020. "They said, 'Yes, we saw it being pointed towards us, and that’s why we continued to fire to abate the threat.'"

However, the family alleged the officers shot Palacios despite being told by a Salt Lake City police sergeant to "taze him." The lawsuit also claimed the same sergeant told the officers to hold their fire after an initial flurry of gunshots, but they continued to shoot while Palacios was on the ground and "no longer presented a threat of escape."

The shooting of Palacios led to protests throughout Salt Lake City and in front of Gill's office. A state of emergency was declared when people continued to protest after it was deemed to be an unlawful assembly.