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Salt Lake police seek man accused of assaulting TV photojournalist during Inland Port protest

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Jul 18th, 2019 @ 4:07pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City police are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who allegedly attacked a television news photographer during a protest over the Utah Inland Port Authority.

On July 9, police and protesters clashed when about 100 people entered the Chamber of Commerce Building, 175 E. 400 South, to demonstrate against the Utah Inland Port — a project planned in northwest Salt Lake City to maximize Utah's place in the global import and export economy with a network of trucks, trains and air connections.

Protesters stormed into the lobby and up elevators to the sixth floor, where they chanted and shouted outside the Salt Lake Chamber board rooms, while staff stayed behind closed doors and officers struggled to maintain control.

Some protesters refused orders by police to leave, leading to pushing and shoving and the arrests of eight people — five of whom were taken to jail — for investigation of charges ranging from assault on a police officer to trespassing, riot and resisting arrest.

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Outside, on the grounds of the Salt Lake City-County Building, the protests continued. But as members of the media attempted to film and take pictures, some of the protesters turned on them.

One man attempted to forcefully take a camera from KUTV photojournalist Matthew Michela. Protesters at first tried to block Michela and other journalists from filming by putting their hands in front of their camera lenses.

But cellphone video taken by reporters and others at the scene shows one of the men come up to Michela from behind and attempt to take his camera away. Michela was able to hold on to his camera. Salt Lake City police officers came on scene right after to break up the group.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert denounced the incident, describing the actions of aggressive protesters as "borderline terrorism."

Organizers of the protest have distanced themselves from the man who allegedly attacked the photographer, saying he was not part of their group.

Anyone with information on the man can call police at 801-799-3000.

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