Utah demonstrators will not face curfew violation charges

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Peaceful protesters stop during a march Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City, in the latest protest decrying the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal who was shot and killed by police in May. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Protesters arrested for not leaving when police tried to forcibly end a massive rally in Utah’s capital will not face criminal charges.

The Salt Lake County district attorney’s office announced the decision applies to more than 40 people who were jailed May 30, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The demonstrators were detained by police and booked on misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse after violating an 8 p.m. curfew issued for the demonstration against police brutality.

District Attorney Sim Gill said Thursday the counts will be declined “as a matter of fairness” because people have the right to protest.

Police agencies sending similar cases to Gill for review would do better to “devote your resources to more serious charges,” he said.

The May 30 protest was one of the earliest and largest in Salt Lake City in response to the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground. His death prompted protests across the U.S. and around the world against police brutality and racial injustice.

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