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SLC activist speaks out after tense arrest streamed live on Facebook

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 22:36:30-05

SALT LAKE CITY — An Indigenous activist is speaking out after his arrest by Salt Lake City Police was streamed live on Facebook Thursday.

Carl Moore said he was trying to help those experiencing homelessness who were being forced to move, but police said he was trespassing on private property.

WATCH: Activist arrested while live-streaming SLC homeless encampment cleanup

Moore is a founding member of Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support (PANDOS), as well as a co-founder of SLC Air Protectors.

On Friday afternoon, he walked up and down 300 West near 800 South, chanting and smudging to bless the murals with faces of those who have been killed by police, most of them in Utah. It's a space that many in the community hold sacred.

In that same space, people experiencing homelessness take shelter in tents.

Moore is passionate about caring for them.

READ: SLC man sets up homeless camp in his front yard

"I just want to elevate them and recognize them as human beings and as my relatives," he said. "Then I have a responsibility to take care of them as best I can."

With that in mind, Moore showed up to a lot near North Temple on Thursday, where the Salt Lake County Health Department was carrying out a planned abatement on a homeless encampment.

The encampment was located on private property, with "No Trespassing" signs posted.

WATCH: ‘Camp Last Hope’ being shut down; city offers resources, time for homeless to move

Moore documented the cleanup on Facebook Live.
"This is the issue," Moore said at one point during the hour-long video. "People don't have anywhere to go."

He had shown up with a couple of other people, bringing a truck and trailer to load people's belongings.

"My goal was to get as much of people's material belongings out as possible," he said.

His other goal, Moore said, was to document what was happening.

In the Facebook Live video, Moore and another woman approach the Salt Lake County Health Department. They ask about the cleanup. They're told group is on private property, and Moore is asked to leave.

Eventually, police are summoned over.

"Here they are. Here they are," Moore says. He counts 12 officers walking toward him.

One police officer tells Moore that he needs to go outside the yellow line because he is trespassing on private property and he needs to leave, or they'll place him under arrest.

"Anything else?" Moore asks. The officer replies, "No."

"Cool," Moore says. He begins to walk away.

Officers tell him to walk a different way, and that "we're not playing this game today."

"We're not playing a game?" Moore asks.

Moore walks, and officers follow him, engaging in a back-and-forth.

An officer pushes Moore along at one point. Moore sticks his arm out behind him, and another officer tries to grab it.

"Why are you f***ing pushing me like that?!" Moore asks. "F*** it. Don't f***ing push me like that!" He continues walking.

At that moment, an officer grabs Moore by the shoulders.

READ: Vaccinating nation’s homeless for COVID-19 presents unique set of challenges

"Watch this! Watch this! Watch this!" Moore calls out to the live stream. Two officers take him down, and the cell phone drops to the ground.

Moore said he was just about to reach his truck when this happened.

"They threw me down," he said. "Before they said I was arrested, before they threw me down -- they tried to grab me. I was walking to my truck."

Salt Lake City Police Detective Michael Ruff said officers were at the cleanup to assist the Salt Lake County Health Department, and that officers were directed by the health department to an individual who was interfering with the ability to do the cleanup.

Officers were asked to intervene, he said.

"They asked this individual to leave several times. [The individual] continued to stay on the property, or walk around property -- didn't just leave," Det. Ruff said. "And so ultimately, officers just made that decision."

As far as the force used to arrest Moore, Ruff couldn't speak to this specific situation but said if officers feel it gets to a point where they need to take action such as an arrest, they will do that.

"The officers on scene obviously have to make the judgment calls, and with information that they have," he said.

Because officers used force to take Moore into custody, Det. Ruff said the arrest will be reviewed by a sergeant and a lieutenant, as part of their use-of-force protocol.

He said the Civilian Review Board has the option review the use-of-force as well.

Moore was arrested and booked into jail on charges of Criminal Trespass, Interfering with a Public Servant, Interfering with an Arresting Officer, and Assault Against a Police Officer.

One day later, Moore was back out in the community, doing the work he's passionate about. He said those who were forced to move during the abatement Thursday relocated elsewhere.

He was able to return many of their belongings to them.

To him, the arrest only exemplifies his message -- especially for those experiencing homelessness.

"I want people to focus on the way that the police, the Salt Lake City Police Department and the county health department, treat human beings," he said. "We've put titles on all sorts of people. We use titles so that we can conceptualize them in different ways. But they're human beings at the core."