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SLC business owners prepare for possible demonstrations

Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 19:37:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Prior to the verdict being announced in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial, local business owners prepared for possible unrest.

READ: Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

The owner of the Green Pig Pub in downtown Salt Lake City said she hopes things stay peaceful as protests are expected Tuesday night.

“The public has the right to do this, we just ask don’t tear up your town, don’t tear up your city to do this. Be proud, protest peacefully,” Bridget Gordon said.

Last May, some protesters turned violent and caused damage to property. During that time, Gordon said they closed their doors. Now, she is prepared for whatever could come.

“If we have to, we will board up our windows and close for that duration,” she said.

READ: SLC Black community leaders 'on edge' for Chauvin verdict

Protesting is a protected constitutional right, Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill said.

“We get to have different views, we get to voice different views. We get to be very passionate about the views that we hold,” he said.

While protests are legal, individuals who commit crimes are held accountable, Gill said.

“We look to law enforcement when they bring us the individual cases when somebody assaults someone. For example, you’ll recall out of last year's protest, there was bow and arrow guy who drove his car there, pulled out his bow and arrow, flashed his weapons and aimed it at people. That is a violation,” he said.

READ: Utah man sentenced for drawing bow-and-arrow on downtown SLC protesters

The executive chef for Stone Ground Kitchen in Salt Lake City said they are closely watching what the next few days could bring.

“We will do what’s best for our staff in terms of safety,” Justin Shifflett said.

READ: Gov. Cox, Utah NAACP call for peace upon Chauvin verdict announcement

Looking back to last May, Shifflett said he had a lot of conversations with his family last year as the protests went on.

“They were mostly concerned about my safety -- asking, 'Do you have to go to work? Do you have to go downtown?'” Shifflett said.