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Salt Lake DA taps independent prosecutor for cases of protesters charged with vandalizing his office

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - Aug. 13, 2020 at 5:14 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has tapped an independent counselor to prosecute cases involving vandalism of the district attorney’s office building that occurred during a protest last month.

Judge Dane Nolan will prosecute the cases, which relate to a July 9 protest in which several people allegedly dumped paint and broke windows at Gill’s office in downtown Salt Lake City, according to a Wednesday statement from Gill’s office.

“As with every case we refer to an outside prosecutor, Judge Nolan will have complete autonomy and authority to prosecute these cases, as he deems appropriate,” the statement reads. “No matter the outcome, we trust Judge Nolan to ensure justice is done.”

Nolan previously served as a judge in the juvenile court system in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court. Nolan also served as an attorney with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Legal Clinic, according to the statement from Gill's office.

Protesters gathered on July 9 in front of Gill’s office, 35 E. 500 South in Salt Lake City, to seek justice for Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was shot and killed by Salt Lake police on May 23. Officers had pursued Palacios-Carbajal in connection with an armed robbery, and he was carrying a gun when they confronted him.

Earlier on July 9, Gill announced that he would not charge the officers who shot and killed Palacios-Carbajal, saying that their actions during the shooting were justified.

Gill was heavily criticized on social media last week after news that his office filed first-degree felony charges against at least seven people in connection with the protest that made international headlines.

The people who were charged could potentially face life in prison if convicted, though Gill has said it is unlikely they will serve jail time.

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