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UT – LE – Dueling protesters including armed men face off in Utah

Groups of dueling protesters that included police supporters carrying rifles and flags supporting President Donald Trump faced off outside a suburban Salt Lake City police department Monday night in response to use of force by officers at a demonstration the night before that resulted in the arrest of eight people. The two groups yelled and chanted at each other from across the street, but no violence was reported. About 100 people came to show their support for the officers’ actions, some holding signs that read “Back the Blue” and others who carried large guns and said they were part of a group called Utah Citizens Alarm. Across the street from the Cottonwood Heights police department, a nearly equal amount of protesters held “Black Lives Matter” signs to protest what they say was police brutality at the rally Sunday night. The Sunday protest march was meant to remember a man who was fatally shot by police two years ago. His father was one of the eight people who were arrested. He and his wife blamed police for inciting conflict and ruining a peaceful rally intended to honor the memory of their son and bring attention to police brutality. Officers used pepper spray, stun guns and batons during the arrests made after some protesters refused orders to keep the protest on sidewalks in the suburban neighborhood, said Cottonwood Heights police Lt. Dan Bartlett. He said police were kicked, choked and hit, sending five officers to a hospital with broken ribs, a broken nose and other injuries. Several protesters were wrestled to the ground by police, including one man who was left with a bloodied face, according to images of the events. The ACLU of Utah questioned what motivated police to “escalate a peaceful dance/rally,” and a left-leaning watchdog group known as Better Utah called for an internal investigation of what it characterized as a “gross overreaction” by officers.  [full article]

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