SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah state lawmaker is being investigated for his possible involvement in a protest that escalated into vandalism.
According to an affidavit for search warrant filed in Utah’s Third District Court, an e-mail account with the name of State Senator Derek Kitchen donated money to a woman who is alleged to have purchased supplies used to vandalize the city.
This stems from a July 9 protest that took place after the Salt Lake City police officers who shot and killed Bernardo Palacios, a man who was armed, were cleared of any wrongdoing by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
The ‘Justice for Bernardo’ rally escalated when several protestors spread red paint on the street outside the D.A.’s office and vandalized the building. The vandalism caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage.
Several people have already been charged for their accused involvement in the riot.
The affidavit indicated that a Venmo account tied to the e-mail with Sen. Kitchen’s name donated $10 to Madalena McNeil.
Earlier this month, McNeil was arrested and charged with allegedly purchasing more than $1000 worth of paint and supplies used in the protest.
The $10 transaction sent from the Venmo account tied to Kitchen to McNeil’s allegedly included the word “paint” in the notes section.
Sen. Kitchen posted a statement on Twitter that said he loves Salt Lake City and supports progressive activism.
He added, “In this instance I responded to a solicitation on social media for financial support for what I understood would be a peaceful rally for justice. I gave a small contribution to support the cause of justice, but I wasn’t involved in the planning or organization of the event. I did not attend the protest and have only seen press reports of what happened. I will always advocate for the constitutional right to peaceful protest, but I don’t condone violence or vandalism.”
Read the Fraternal Order of Police Statement here