Provo, Utah is not your average place for violent demonstrations, particularly not against police. But on Monday night, a crowd gathered near the police department at around 6:30 p.m. to protest police brutality. By about 8:40 p.m. things turned ugly.
A man, a 60 year old resident who had nothing to do with the protest, attempted to drive through the demonstrators and was shot by one of them.
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A statement by Provo Police reads in part:
“Provo City Police were made aware of a planned Police Rally and a Counter protest scheduled for last night. Both events coincided without incident until 8:38 pm when a call was received regarding possible gun shots and a hit and run. Shortly thereafter, we received another call regarding a shooting victim at Utah Valley Hospital.
Numerous citizens and protestors provided video footage. A white SUV was driving south on University Avenue before pulling into the right turn lane in an attempt to turn onto Center Street. Several protestors began crowding around the vehicle. A male protestor ran to the SUV on the passenger side, pointed a handgun at driver and shot one round through the window.
The driver, who was struck by the bullet, hit the gas trying to leave the situation. The same protestor ran after the vehicle and shot a second round that went through the rear passenger window. The video then shows that the protestor conceals the firearm and continues to protest. This same protestor later approached another vehicle at 500 North and University Avenue striking and breaking the window with the handgun.”
The driver is listed in stable condition at Utah Valley Hospital, according to KSL. Provo police solicited cell phone videos from the public and the one from KSL, which appears to show a man holding a gun and pointing it at the white Ford Excursion SUV as it tried to push through the protesters.
“On Monday, a group calling itself Back to Blue planned to drive around the Provo Police Department and honk their horns to show support for law enforcement.
Another group planned a counterprotest at the same time and place. On Facebook, their event page was originally titled End Police Brutality but was later changed to Marching for Racial Equality. The Facebook pages list the event’s hosts as the groups Insurgence, Solidarity for Justice, Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement and the Salt Lake Antifascist Coalition.” KSL
Upon receiving the videos, on Tuesday the police arrested Jesse Taggart, 33, from Salt Lake City, for Attempted Aggravated Murder, Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury, Rioting, Threatening Use of a Weapon in a Fight or Quarrel, Criminal Mischief, and Firing a Weapon Near a Highway. According to a joint statement by the Mayor and Police.
Also arrested was Samantha Darling, 27, from Ogden City for Obstruction of Justice and Rioting.
Protesters complained about several vehicles attempting to drive through them as they blocked the street. If their intent was to ‘peacefully’ protest, they wouldn’t have blocked the street so that drivers couldn’t get through in the first place.
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