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Several people taken into police custody during Cottonwood Heights protest

Posted at 7:22 PM, Aug 02, 2020

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — A protest in Cottonwood Heights on Sunday resulted in skirmishes with police and several people being taken into custody.

Cottonwood Heights Police told FOX 13 they took nine people into custody and impounded three vehicles.

Specific charges were not given, but police say there were several fights between protesters and officers, in which a number of officers were hit, leading to police use of pepper spray and tasers.

Cottonwood Heights Police told FOX 13 they knew about the protest and were there to ensure the protesters were not blocking the street or impeding traffic for area residents. Police said they instantly started to tell protesters to move to the sidewalks prior to the escalation.

The protest was a "March for Justice" focused largely around Zane James, who was shot and killed by a CHPD officer in 2018. Police said James had been fleeing from police through Cottonwood Heights on a motorcycle after allegedly committing two armed robberies. He was shot by an officer who said he was reaching into his pockets and clothing as he fled. Police say they found a pellet gun in his pocket after he was shot.

Sunday's rally began at Mill Hollow Park, and protesters then marched into a residential neighborhood where the clashes with police eventually occurred near 6710 South and 2680 East.

“We’re trying to use our police as a multi-purpose tool and they’re trying to use themselves as military enforcers, and the two just don’t mix,” said Zane’s mother, Tiffany James.

Zane’s father, Aaron James, said the group had intended to walk past the spot where their son was killed, then the protest escalated and Zane’s father was taken into custody.

After tensions settled, the group returned to the park. Police said they would allow them to demonstrate peacefully as long as they stay on sidewalks and do not block streets, adding that they would need to clear out from the park if still there at the the park's curfew, which is 10 p.m.

The protesters cleared out around 7:30 p.m.