Salt Lake City

Mayor's Office

Erin Mendenhall | (801) 535-7704

Mayor Mendenhall’s Statement on Today’s District Attorney Decision

Para leer el comunicado de prensa en español, oprima aquí.

I want to first offer my sincere condolences to the family of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal. No matter the circumstances, the loss you have experienced is tragic. It’s something no parent or sibling should experience, and I am sorry. 

In the case of the Salt Lake City Officer Involved Critical Incident that resulted in the death of Bernardo Palacios Carbajal, District Attorney Sim Gill’s findings provide significant evidence of the justifiable actions of Salt Lake City police officers. This evidence shows that our officers acted according to their training and the state law regarding use of lethal force. They acted quickly and methodically in a very difficult situation to stop what they perceived as a deadly threat, which is exactly what we ask of them and what we expect them to do to protect our city, every day.

Nonetheless, I know that with the announcement by the District Attorney, the family and friends of Mr. Palacios Carbajal are still grieving the loss of their son, brother, and friend. I know that for some, today’s decision does not feel like justice. It has become increasingly apparent in our city and across the nation that there is a difference between what so many feel is morally correct, and what is considered appropriate and justified under the law. 

Mr. Gill has done his job according to the system we elected him to work within, and he has determined that the officers involved did their jobs according to the system we hired and trained them to work within. This gives me great confidence that as we work to reform for greater justice and a more equitable city, our police department will continue to follow their training and the law as those standards evolve. 

The evidence in this case now moves to the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board and Internal Affairs to make recommendations to Chief Brown on whether the officers acted in accordance with city policy. I have requested both bodies to expedite their reviews so the Chief can quickly make his decision, and I anticipate a conclusion of each process by the middle of next week. I also ask for the public’s patience with these processes that require time and thoughtfulness in order to render due process, which these officers are entitled to under the law. 

Finally, I ask this of all of us: my fellow elected officials, city employees, public safety officers, Salt Lake City residents — open your hearts to one another right now. We can all be more understanding of where others sit in this moment. Our ability to look beyond our own experiences and empathize goes hand in hand with our capacity for change. I look forward to continuing this work with every one of you as we work for systemic reforms in our city. 


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