Candle Light Vigil Held in the Rain for Victim of Police Brutality Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal

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Ivana Martinez

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal's mom, Lucy Carbajal, mourns her son at his vigil on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Ivana Martinez | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ivana Martinez and Natalie Colby

On May 23, Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was shot over 20 times in the back and killed by Salt Lake City Police. On June 5, the body cam footage of the murder was released, and on June 6 a crowd gathered outside the Utah State Capitol for a candlelight vigil for Palacios-Carbajal. 

The vigil was held by the Rosepark Brown Berets, where Palacios-Carbajal was a member of the community, and his family. 

“When we heard that he had been shot and murdered, just like the millions of Brown and Black brothers and sisters before us, we knew that we had to step up and take action,” the Brown Berets said. “We grieve for the family because he was supposed to be here, he is needed here and he was taken from us.”

The Brown Berets said they are not scared of the police — they demand community control now and to abolish the police. 

Organizers placed photos of Palacios-Carbajal in sheet covers and handed out flowers to remember him. The photos showed a young man with smiles on his face, posing with young children and in candid moments. 

They also placed framed photos, several buckets of flowers, LED candles and a wreath with his name on it in front of the capitol to stay overnight. 

Attendees of the vigil stood in pouring rain to hear speakers and stand in remembrance of Palacios-Carbajal.

Xochiacatl Lopez and Nanui Lopez burned sage around the protestors and the vigil. Sage is meant to drive out evil and ward off bad luck. 

A close family friend, Lorena Burciaga, spoke at the vigil about Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal and about her personal experience knowing him. 

“Bernardo was like a son to me. And he grew up with my son. He was in my house for years and I saw him grow up. He was a part of my family and I’m here to demand justice for his murder at the hand of the police,” Burciaga said. 

She said once they saw the video that was released yesterday, they wanted to see all the body camera footage. 

“The video came out yesterday but it’s not complete, it’s missing the rest of the police footage. We want them to show us all the videos of the policemen, to show everything from the first moment they called to the moment that they lifted the body,” Burciaga said, “we want to see everything. That is what we are demanding. We are demanding that they fire the policemen who murdered [Bernado] for abuse of power.” 

Palacios-Carbajal’s  mom was present with her family for the vigil and was standing underneath a red tent carrying a poster of her son.

“I miss him a lot. I want justice for my son. I want to see the faces of men who did this. I want to ask them why they chose to take his life in that way,” Lucy Carbajal said sobbing. “He is missing from me.” 

Protesters then marched to the street corner of 300 West and 900 South, where Palacios-Carbajal was killed, chanting “Justice for Bernardo.” 

Hailee Hernadez, a student at Westminster College who works in homeless services, said it was her sixth night out in a row protesting. She said that she continues to show up because she sees injustices and racism everyday and all around her as a Latino woman. 

“I see it at work with the homeless population… I see it with my friends that are black and with other people of color. I see it everyday, it’s all around us,” she said. “This being my sixth night out here, I’m tired, but I’m tired of racism. It’s out of hand and it’s unacceptable.” 

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