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Man shot during Provo police brutality protest last year now wants to be mayor

Ken Dudley, left, declared his candidacy for mayor of Provo this week. Dudley was shot during a police brutality protest in Provo on June 29, 2020.

Ken Dudley, left, declared his candidacy for mayor of Provo this week. Dudley was shot during a police brutality protest in Provo on June 29, 2020. (Courtesy of Ken Dudley)


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PROVO — A man who was shot during a police brutality protest in Provo last year has now decided to run for mayor of the city.

Ken Dudley announced his candidacy for Provo mayor on Monday. He joins a field of candidates that includes incumbent Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, as well as four other candidates: Dalton Beebe, Caleb Reeve, Neil Mitchell and M. David Gedo Sanchez, according to the city's elections website.

Dudley was shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in Provo on June 29, 2020. During the incident, police said an SUV was trying to turn at the intersection of Center Street and University Avenue when the driver encountered a group of protesters blocking traffic.

The group of people surrounded the vehicle, and a protester went up to the driver's side and shot one round through the window, police said. As the SUV drove away, the protester fired another round at the car, which went through the back passenger window.

Jesse Taggart, of Salt Lake City, and Samantha Darling, of Ogden, were later arrested in connection with the shooting, police said.

Dudley said in a statement announcing his candidacy that he "inched forward" while the group surrounded his car, but protesters claimed the man in the SUV tried to ram them. Videos taken during the protest showed the SUV pushing through the crowd, with at least one person falling to the ground.

Police later said they were investigating a report of a protester who was struck by a vehicle. Dudley was not charged in connection with that report, according to court records.

In an August court hearing, prosecutor David Sturgill said Dudley only sped up after the first shot struck him. But Taggert's attorney, Shane Johnson, argued that Dudley's behavior could fit criminal charges.

Dudley said the bullet went through his right arm just below the elbow. Shrapnel from the bullet went into his eyelid and eye, as well as his abdomen. He drove himself to a hospital after the shooting and had emergency surgery to repair the damage.

Dudley said no elected officials from Provo, Utah County or the state, other than Provo police investigators contacted him after he was injured to see how he was doing.

"One would think, since they represent all Provo residents, that they would at least call to express concern for one of their constituents. But no elected official or representative has even asked," Dudley's wife, Vickie, said in the statement.

The lack of contact from elected officials "disheartened" Dudley, prompting him to run for mayor, he said.

Dudley describes himself as a conservative who believes in small government. He grew up in Heber City but has lived in Provo for the last 17 years and works as a software engineer. He and his wife have five children and six grandchildren.

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