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SLCPD releases bodycam footage of May 23 officer-involved shooting

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 03:46:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday, Salt Lake City Police released body camera footage from the officers involved in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Bernardo Palacios.

At about 2 a.m. on May 23, SLCPD officers were dispatched to the Utah Village Motel at 271 W. 900 South on a report that a man had pointed a gun at an individual and made threats. When officers arrived, they located Palacios, who they said was the suspect. Police say he ran, leading to a foot pursuit with three officers.

SLCPD Capt. Richard Lewis, in Friday's walk-through of the incident and bodycam footage, 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. He is seen in the video stumbling multiple times and drops an item on the ground before picking it back up and continuing to run. Police said it was a gun.

After Palacios again picked up the gun and attempted to flee, two officers fired their weapons multiple times, striking and killing him.

Police say they recovered a gun near Palacios' body. Officers rendered medical aid until emergency medical services arrived.

The two officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave as the Unified Police and Salt Lake County District Attorney's office conduct their investigation. There will also be an internal investigation by SLCPD internal affairs and civilian review board.

Watch the full bodycam video from three officers involved in the video player above or in the police press conference below:

Freddy and Karina Palacios, his brother and sister, spoke with FOX 13 after seeing the footage. Watch their full statement here:

Family of Bernardo Palacios speaks on police bodycam footage

SLC Police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Erin Mendenhall later made statements on the incident in a press conference.

"I believe with all my heart, the Salt Lake City Police Department has the best officers in the country. I trust our training. I trust in the investigative process we have in place to investigate officer-involved critical incidents," Brown said. "Most importantly, I trust our officers. I love the women and men in the Salt Lake City Police Department, and I stand behind them."

Mendenhall expressed sympathy to Palacios' family, saying no one should have to go through what they are going through and that nothing can make up for their loss.

"What I saw and heard in the video is genuinely disturbing and upsetting," she said.

She then expressed the importance of due process and did not state any further opinion on the incident that she said could possibly result in an unfair or biased investigation.

"I urge expediency in this process so that everyone can get the answers that they deserve in a timely manner," she said. "Transparency and accountability is being demanded of police departments across this nation, and I will always demand it of ours as well."

State Reps. Sandra Hollins and Angela Romero and State Sen. Luz Escamilla released a statement:

“We are saddened by the tragic death of Bernardo Palacios who was killed on May 23rd in Salt Lake City. We want to express our condolences to Bernardo’s family and friends.

"The footage released today by the Salt Lake City Police Department is disturbing, and a thorough investigation is neeed. We call upon the SLCPD to expedite its review process so that we can better understand the events that led to this death.

"We urge calm while encouraging people to continue using their voices to advocate for the changes that we all want.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise funds for Palacios' funeral and burial expenses.

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